Esteemed - by whom?
“Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.’” - Luke 16:14-15
Is there anything worse than “an abomination in the sight of God”? In the immediate context, Jesus is addressing the love of money. But is it just the love of money that is an abomination? Could it be possible that there are other things loved by men which are detestable to God?
We can infer Jesus is not including the things of His kingdom. This narrows the list a bit, but, my guess, the list includes more than money. A. W. Tozer said:
“Man's moral fall has clouded his vision, confused his thinking and rendered him subject to delusion. One evidence of this is his all but incurable proneness to confuse values and put size before quality in his appraisal of things. The Christian faith reverses this order, but even Christians tend to judge things by the old Adamic rule. How big? How much? and How many? are the questions oftenest asked by religious persons when trying to evaluate Christian things.”
If I listed all the things highly esteemed by men you would get weary of reading them and I would get writer's cramp. However, I encourage each of us to go through the exercise; to personally and prayerfully consider what is highly esteemed by the world, especially by those we listen to and admire in business. We must ask ourselves these hard questions:
• Of all the things listed, which do I highly esteem?
• Which are of this world?
As you seek to take every thought captive, consider this: our subconscious is the playground of our minds. It would do well to allow the Lord to be the lead investigator.
Maybe use Psalm 139 as your starting point:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
This should lead us to 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Living in the world, but not being of the world, is extremely hard and, some might say, impossible. Without Christ, we can do nothing; yet, through Him, we can do all things. We are not sufficient for these things; our sufficiency is from God.
Not sufficient, but responsible.
May God give you grace to ask the difficult questions and mercy for the impossible responses.