Many would-be followers of Christ try to live while holding onto polar extremes: they want to be ‘hip’ and ‘godly’ at the same time. It’s the proverbial oil and water thing. We cannot love the purity of Christ and the baubles of this transient world at the same time.
The Bible says it like this: “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” (1 John 2:15-17, NLT)
Jesus was more blunt: “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see.” (Revelation 3:15-18, NLT)
A Christian disciple’s separation from worldly systems and values involves everything about us; where we play, what we eat, how we think about our money, marriage – the very meaning of life! Being a Christian is not just about believing the right thing about Jesus Christ and having a ‘get out of Hell free’ card in our wallet. It isn’t just about going to a church where we take Communion, promise God we’ll do better this week, and go back out to live as we please. A Christian is also a disciple, a word that shares the root concept with discipline. There are decisions to be made about following Him which are evident in the choices we make about life on Monday morning and Friday night as much as Sunday morning. If we won’t follow His lead, we cannot claim to participate in His life, which is the essence of being right with God.
There is a lie that goes back to the early days of the faith that says: “As long I as I believe the right things and know what is right and wrong, it doesn’t matter what I do, because after all, this world is just temporary.” The heresy goes by the name of Gnosticism. That word comes from a Greek word that means “Knowledge.” Gnostics think that salvation comes by enlightenment, by gaining esoteric insights into spiritual matters. Christian Gnostics (they are not really Christian) live with a huge gap between their belief system and daily life. They falsely comfort themselves that they can claim to love God while serving Self because they are enlightened.
When we love the Lord, it will cause us to be ‘holy,’ that means distinct from the culture that surrounds us because we belong exclusively to God. Holiness, much mocked by the worldly wise, is sometimes confused with shallow piety, a thin veneer of rigid rules that covers a heart full of sin. That’s not holy. That is Pharisaic legalism. Real holiness is beautiful because it is whole, pure, and reverent. Being holy doesn’t mean we have to be Amish, but it means will be separate from worldly things. Here’s a word from the Word for your meditation today. May the wisdom of the Spirit lead you to a life that honors Him in every way.
“Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands? Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God’s holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives.
God himself put it this way: “I’ll live in them, move into them; I’ll be their God and they’ll be my people. So leave the corruption and compromise; leave it for good,” says God. “Don’t link up with those who will pollute you. I want you all for myself.
I’ll be a Father to you; you’ll be sons and daughters to me.” The Word of the Master, God. With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1, The Message)
Disciple, are you holy? That’s not just for pastors and old ladies! Without holiness, there is no real knowing God. What in this world could compare to the assurance of the Father’s love?
A pure heart, that’s what I long for,
A heart that follows hard after Thee;
A pure heart, that’s what I long for,
A heart that follows hard after Thee.
A heart that hides Your Word
So that sin will not come in,
A heart that’s undivided
But one You rule and reign;
A heart that beats compassion,
That pleases You, my Lord,
A sweet aroma of worship
That rises to Your throne.
A Pure Heart
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