“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. For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:44-45)
“…but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:15-16)
There is much warring among Christians today over any number of social issues. I’ve seen it up close and personal, and have been involved, and at times sadly, been the cause of some of these wars. I am weary from them. Do not get me wrong, I clearly recall Paul’s admonition to the Galatian church:
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9)
If America is to be restored it will come through revival. And if revival is to come, that will come through repentance. Therein lies our nation’s problem, in and out of the church. As our pastor preached this Sunday, we have become a nation of where shame is the greater offense than sin. Pulpits across America preach a grace without guilt when there can be no grace without first experiencing guilt. And finally, America wants restoration without repentance. Again, that is putting the cart before the horse.
Ah but Bro Dave, it’s not good to make people feel ashamed for their sin or walk around with guilt and sorrow. We want them to experience forgiveness and grace. I too want the latter but you must have the former. For I know of no Bible verse that teaches repentance without sorrow. Perhaps you can find it in the NTFV (New Touchy-Feely Version) Bible, but my Bible says:
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23)
Fathers, during the next planting season I want you to get a pack of seeds, corn, whatever, and gather your family and find the hardest, dried up piece of land and pour those seeds onto that cracked, concrete dirt, say a prayer calling on God’s mighty hand to bring you an abundant crop, and then proudly announce to the family that bounty is going to come.
Some days I can get so anxious. I too often try to project myself into the future, both near and far, and it only adds stress to my life. That is a rare occurrence for me…stress that is. I live about a 95% stress-free life. Now don’t confuse that with not having stressors in my life. If you’re breathing you have stressors. But as I’ve taught my children, don’t ever stress about a situation. If you have control over it, don’t worry about it. If you don’t have control over it, don’t worry about it. In other words, if you can do something about it, do it! If you can’t, well then put feet to your faith and watch God work it all out. Simple principle that is not always easy to live out.
As the fourth anniversary of Eddie’s death approaches and the final arrangements for the banquet come up, I’m sure I’ll at least be anxious if not stressed. Part of that is knowing that a meltdown is just around the corner but that too is a part of God’s grace. He allows me to grieve over Eddie privately so that I don’t do so at the banquet. I know there are no guarantees but the banquet is about celebrating Eddie’s life and glorifying God, not watching me have a breakdown.
I just read a verse in Proverbs again for the first time:
Yes, but how was your heart changed? How was mine? How is mine? I promise you my brother 12 years ago you would have wanted nothing to do with me or even believed I was saved for that matter.
How bad is your sin? No, no, not to God! We already know how bad our sin is before God. How bad is your sin to YOU?! Do you have categories of sin? Do you rank your sin from bad to worse? Do you compare your sins to other, consciously or subconsciously? Have you come to some sort of settlement with your sin after “extensive negotiations” with your conscience?
Did you know that it is only natural and normal to do so? That’s what makes it so wicked.
Could you imagine if your secret sin(s) were exposed to the public in the way Bill Clinton, Ted Haggard, or any other public figure? What would your reaction be if you knew that someone “had the goods on you” and was going “to expose you for the fraud you are”? Would you openly repent or deny the allegations?
I ask these questions to in no way justify these actions, but to get us to look at how hastily we judge others for their sins. And I say judge because we compare our sins to theirs and believe are to not be nearly as bad. No doubt God does the same thing, right? Whenever I do this, the Holy Spirit reminds me of a story Jesus once told:
Last week we looked at past devotionals on revival. This week I feel led to look closely at the consequences of sin.