You know, the Old Testament is a wonderful place to learn about God. And, in watching how others behave, I learn a lot about my own patterns of behavior. It can hurt so good if you know what I mean.
This past Sunday morning while I was reading and studying in 1 Samuel (Jen Wilkin), I came across the words of 1 Samuel 6:20.
“Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God?”
I stopped right there and started processing with the Lord. You see, the people I was reading about were God’s people the Israelites and they were convinced God was with them and for them. Yet, their hearts were far from the Lord. It appears they tried to use God to get what they wanted without being devoted to God. It took a major defeat in their lives for them to realize the Lord was not with them in their battles and lives because He was not first in their hearts. As a result, they entered into a “familiar cycle of disobedience, affliction, repentance, and rescue. Ouch.
How many times have I run ahead of God only to realize later that I had run off and left God? I was doing things my way and according to my timeline which means I wasn’t doing things His way or in His time. Double Ouch. Am I just talking to myself here or is anyone else identifying?
Later in the morning as I stood at church to sing and worship, you know what else I realized? Sometimes I rush into the presence of God. I “stand before the Lord, this holy God” yet my heart is far from Him. I go rushing into His presence without dealing with my stuff. What stuff? My sin.
My obedience, my behavior, my choices, words, how I live my life—all of it, is the measure of my deep respect and honor of this Holy God. Yes, thank you, Jesus, that because of You, I can confidently and boldly come before God’s holy throne—but where is my heart? Is it far from God?
I stopped singing because my #selftalk turned into questions that I needed to answer before the Lord. At that moment, I wanted to stop and stand in reverence and awe of a holy God who would allow me to approach Him with bold confidence. There I stood remembering that I am not my own. I have been bought with a price and that price was the precious blood of Jesus. God purchased me for His very own possession. I bowed my heart and with sadness acknowledged my lack of awe and respect and pondered in my heart His holiness and His requirement that I be holy. And, miracle of miracles, that He’s given me everything I need to be holy. I can be like Him in my behavior. I can imitate this Holy God. Wow.
“Reverence the Lord and serve Him in truth with all of your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24
As I continued to process with the Lord, I asked myself “Do you really understand what it means to be holy’?” Yes, I answered myself 😊 by reminding myself that being holy means I’m set apart. I am to be different in my thinking and behavior from the thinking and behavior of the world…that, as a beloved child of God, I am to imitate Him. I had to acknowledge that my behavior says a lot about where my heart is in relationship to God.
Then, I began preaching a mini-sermon to my soul by reminding myself how God in His Word tells me it’s possible to imitate Him. Here's the 3-point mini-sermon 😊
Know Him relationally and His character experientially through knowing His Word (experientially; not head knowledge).
Jesus says God’s Word is truth. God’s says His Word is alive and active and pierces and judges my thoughts and heart. Well, true that because this is exactly what is happening to me as I open my heart to God through the study of His Word.
Study God’s Word regularly and consistently.
My heart is prone to wander, wander so if I’m not in God’s Word regularly, His Word by His Spirit cannot accomplish its work in my heart. And there I go rushing into the presence of God with a heart far from God. I don't know how to imitate a holy God if I don’t spend time getting to know Him and learning more and more about Him and His ways. I sure don’t learn about God from the world…only from being in God’s Word for myself.
Call and rely upon the Holy Spirit of God to teach, guide, and lead me as I regularly and consistently study God’s Word.
At that moment the Holy Spirit brought to remembrance what I had studied in the book John about what Jesus said to His disciples that is the world, those who do not believe in Jesus, do not and cannot have the Holy Spirit of God within them. The fact that I could even have this conversation with myself is a gift of God. Right? Oh, what a treasure we have been given.
Oh Lord, forgive me for my lack of reverence which grieves and quenches the work and power of Your Spirit in and through me.
“Obedience rooted in faith is the thing that pleases God, and it’s the conduit through which His power flows.” Matt Chandler
Hey Y'all, did I forget to tell myself anything?