Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Holiness and Love

I am currently reading a book called Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. It is a pretty good read so far. He plants in our mind a challenging and thought provoking way of looking at God's holiness and how we can pursue it in our own lives. Apparently I never have really thought about God's holiness before but it really has struck me as important in my life now.
So to start my journey on learning about God's holiness was to look up the verses that Bridges had used in his book. The first one was Leviticus 11:44

  "For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

Now whats cool about having a study Bible is the notes at the bottom and they led me to Leviticus chapters 17-26. They called them the holy chapters. So if I wanted to learn more about God's holiness and what He expected I had to read these chapters. I will confess I was scared. I have not been a fan of this particular book of the Bible. It is just scary. But if my God changed this heart of mine from thinking the Bible was an emotionally dead book to reading and understanding it on a whole other level, then I know I could read these chapters in Leviticus. I have been and wow He has showed me alot.
For starters, God HATES when we allow other things in our lives other than Him such as I read in Leviticus 20:1-8
"Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Again, you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘Whoever of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who gives any of his descendants to Molech, he shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones. I will set My face against that man, and will cut him off from his people, because he has given some of his descendants to Molech, to defile My sanctuary and profane My holy name. And if the people of the land should in any way hide their eyes from the man, when he gives some of his descendants to Molech, and they do not kill him, then I will set My face against that man and against his family; and I will cut him off from his people, and all who prostitute themselves with him to commit harlotry with Molech.
‘And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. And you shall keep My statutes, and perform them: I am the Lord who sanctifies you."

 God compares us to prostitutes when we put other things more importantly before Him! Ok I dont know about you but people who give themselves away to just anyone makes me sad and I will confess, even disgusted. But I do it. I put other things before God and I am a prostitute. No wonder James calls us adulterers and adulteresses in James 4:4  when we choose the world or things of the world before God. 

"Adulterers and[a] adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  

But at the end of the chapter God gives Isreal 2 promises that we too can remember,
24 But I have said to you, “You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has separated you from the peoples... 26 And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine."

You shall inherit the land and I will give it to you to possess is the first promise. I think it is awesome how God gives this land to them even if they still have to go and fight for it. Even then God comes alongside them and fights for them. For us, I know God has not given us land to possess but we do have our new life we have inherited from God who is our Father in Heaven. We have to live life being conquerors through Him battling the sin so we can have a life with peace and joy.
The second promise is that they were separated from the peoples which made them His. They were the Jewish nation with a chosen land given to them by a God who was ultimately and supremely holy. He gave them a life set apart from others that glorified Him. We too are the same way, We are chosen by God to be people set apart from this world. We need to be different living by His standards and grace. As He said we need to be holy as He is holy.
It really got me thinking, God is very serious about our sin. He does not tolerate it at all. He cant be around it. I mean He is serious when He says that if we have sin in our lives that He cannot hear us. I mean if you read onto the next chapter, He also gives Aaron and his sons strict guidelines to even go into His presence. They were even more special then Isreal with entirely different rules. It should be the same with us. How is our heart when we approach God? Do we have sin in our lives? Did we think something mean to someone else the day before or mistreated a total stranger at work? Anything that is not of God puts up this barrier between us and God where we should not approach Him until we confess our sins. Something I recently have started was reading Psalm 139: 23-24
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

It is pretty amazing what He brings to mind when I sincerely approach Him as the holy God He is.

 Now what is even more cool on how God has been working in my life is how one of my pastors at my church have been talking about the attributes of God and mentioned God's holiness but also His love. Ever since I have been focusing on God's holiness, I have this fear that I am going to go legalistic or focus too much on the sin aspect and become graceless. I also think that I have not fully been aware of God's love for me. I think I have this human like love stuck in my head and think that God does the same thing. But He doesnt. My thoughts are how can one balance out His love and holiness and live a life conscious of both? I believe God is showing me things. So I am excited. But if there is anyone who would comment about finding that balance that would be cool. I am curious to see what He will show me.

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