“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were putt and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.'” -Mark 12:41-44
Can you picture the scene described above? Most Nicolaitan faith communities would esteem someone who popped substantial funds into the collection plate, but Jesus commends the motive of the heart (see 2 Corinthians 9:7).
We realize that the word “orthodox” is weighted with powerful emotions in many areas of Christendom. The word itself refers to sound religious doctrine. There’s nothing wrong with a desire to uphold truth.
However, orthodoxy has devolved into a mentality that is only concerned with being right. For these people, right doctrine is valued regardless of the condition of the heart. As a result, orthodoxy focuses inordinately on right rules, right creed, right behavior.
A certain degree of orthodoxy is necessary in order to apply Scriptural commands and principles to your life. But, as with many of the Pharisees, people get caught up with knowing about their religion, and judge others based on preconceived standards of “correct behavior.”
To truly follow Jesus, we need to focus on the biblical importance of “orthopraxy.” Orthopraxy maybe defined as the way our love for Jesus is expressed in the enactment of our lives.
Orthopraxy causes us to regard life and people more and more from the perspective of The Father’s loving kindness and moves us to act in accordance with His love.
Keep in mind that the Hebrew language emphasizes the verb or action, while English emphasizes the noun or subject. Because of this difference, English lends itself more to the “what” of orthodoxy than to “why” of orthopraxy.
Compare Two Hebrew Farmers
The Torah testifies to God’s concern for the poor and for the strangers who own no property. That loving kindness prompted Him to present precise instructions for those who were blessed with crops.
When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gat the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God (Leviticus 23:22).
Suppose you were living in 200 BC and you met a Torah Observant farmer, who viewed his life from an orthodoxy perspective. You notice his harvested fields and see that he didn’t go back a second time to glean them. You ask him why he didn’t, and he replies, “Because God commands me not to.”
Then you go a little further down the road and meet an orthopractic farmer who hasn’t gleaned his fields either. In answer to your question he gladly responds, “My Father loves the poor and the unfortunate. Out of love for Him and for them I don’t go back over my fields.”
Can you see the difference? Same behavior yet an entirely different motive. And motive is everything with our Father, because it answers the “why” of an action according to His heart.
Two examples from James clarify this distinction:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (1:27).
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do (2:15-18).
Is James emphasizing orthodoxy or orthopraxy?
If you’ve grown in the character of The Messiah, you’re motivated to love and care for others as He would. For the very reasons He did what He did!
“And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him. (John 8:29)”
Why would one ‘want to’ observe Torah?
Because God said so? That’s orthodoxy. Living according to His Word from the outside in? (Can you say religion? Denominationalism? Dogma? Man-made Doctrine? Take your 3-D Glasses off to see more clearly.
Or because you Love The Messiah? “If you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15).”
Our Father said: “And you shall keep My commandments, and do them: I am the LORD (Lev. 22:31).”
The Son said: “If you love me, then obey my commandments (John 14:15).
The Son said: ‘I and The Father are One’ (John 10:30).
The Disciple whom Jesus loved said: ‘And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.’ (1 John 1:3)
Because you Have-to? No! Because you ‘Want-to’!
Need more Orthopractic Motivation?
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15 8-11
It has been said, ‘One can tell the ‘God’ you believe in, by the commandments you keep, and the ones you don’t.’
Inspiration and 99% of this article goes to Mike & Sue Dowgiewicz, send him an email of encouragement, a 3 tour of duty VietNam Vet and battle-tested Soldier in The Creator’s Army along with his wife Sue. Contact him at Mikedowg@aol.com or visit their site www.Restorationministries.org.