Clear The Air March 2003
Light & Fluffy
Omelets. Marshmallows. Quilt batting, perhaps. These are a few things that should be light and fluffy. God, on the other hand, should not be thought of, or presented in, this way. I don't mean to imply even for a second that God is always somber and heavy-handed. But neither is He always laughter and warm-fuzzies.
It is sometimes very easy for us to forget that God is holy and just. I fear that on any given Sunday morning, a person would be more likely to hear a lovely sermon about being a good person or about how God wants nothing more than to bless His children with more worldly riches than we can imagine, so sow your seed and get ready to get rich! But why is this feel-good gospel so predominant in our churches? Where has the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ gone? Perhaps more importantly, what is the truth of the gospel? Repent! For the kingdom of God is at hand!
Wait a minute! That doesn't sound very light and fluffy to me. And what's with this repent business? Repent from what? I'm a Christian now. Isn't it time for the repenting to stop and the blessing to flow? Well, yes and no.
Just as our relationship with the Lord begins with a personal decision, so too is the remainder of our relationship filled with decisions - and their consequences, both good and bad. God will never force us to further our relationship with Him, or to be obedient to Him. But His Word is filled with promises - conditional promises - that can be ours if we make the right choices.
One verse in particular has been popping up in my life lately. I think that it is due, in part, to the times in which we're living. The verse is II Chronicles 7:14 - “If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” In looking at this verse I find it very interesting that the majority of Christians tend to see it this way, “If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, then I will hear from heaven and heal their land.” Isn't it just like we humans to skip the pivotal condition that God has set before us - “turn from their wicked ways.”
It's a little uncomfortable to think that God is talking about us when He says that His people, who are called by His name, must turn from their wicked ways. Isn't it enough to be identified with Christ in name only? Can't we go to church on Sunday morning and live the way we want to for the rest of the week as long as we ask God to forgive us from our indiscretions? Apparently not.
When we take the name of Christ, when we identify ourselves with Him, when we accept the incomprehensible act that He completed on the cross on our behalf, we have just begun our relationship with God through Christ. We must then be willing to let God search our hearts, our minds, and our lives in order to cleanse ourselves from everything that continues to separate us from God and keeps us from being conformed in the image of His Son. It's not easy, and it certainly isn't always pleasant, but it's worth more than all the riches this world can offer.
In this time of great uncertainty in the world, now more than ever we need to humbly come before God, seeking Him for who He is and not for what He can do for us. We need to wait on Him and allow Him to guide every step we take. If we keep our eyes focused on Him and His great love for us, nothing can steal the peace He will give to us. Just as Peter walked on the water at the Lord's command, our focus must remain on the Lord or we will begin to sink in life's worries. The Lord Himself said that in this world we would have tribulation and trials, but that He has overcome the world. Our only way to make it through these days of uncertainty is by holding the hand of the One who hung the stars in space and knows each one by name. It's the safest place in the universe to be.
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