I’ve been reading through 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus as of late. I find that reading God’s Word has a direct correlation with the sincerity and earnestness of my prayers and maintaining that vital connection that we need to have with our God. I need that connection, that oneness that I sense inwardly with my Creator. I need the leading of God’s Holy Spirit within me, opening His Word, that brings thoughts, awareness and understanding to my mind. I need to be in God’s Word to experience His love, it is the food that my spirit feeds on.
I am infrequently reminded of my earthly nature and the conflict between my earthly nature and my reborn spiritual nature. Oh, you might not notice but it’s there, the subtle thought, the quick unthinking response, that lingering look when there should not be any lingering. I’ve learned to move my eyes, I’ve learned to cast out trains of thought that I need not go into again, mostly by a quick prayer asking God to help me focus on Him rather than past memories or what is before my eyes. And He is true to His word, He does keep me aligned on Him. But I need to ask, I need to be mindful of what I am doing and I need to know to whom I can turn to.
The Apostle Paul talks about this continual conflict between our earthly nature and our spiritual reborn nature in Romans extensively. I don’t know about you but I look for and sometimes see the earthly side of the Apostle Paul surface from time to time. Paul was human, just like the rest of us, in spite of his personal revelation from Jesus, in spite of miracles that God performed through Paul, in spite of Paul’s understanding and experience seeing God’s power and spiritual gifts in action. Paul’s letters to Timothy are particularly gripping, Paul’s despair at being abandoned, Paul’s need for human companionship, to name but a couple. Of course Paul’s spiritual side leaves mine in the dust, but I can identify in part, comprehend in part and stand in awe of his extraordinary faith and witness that he left us. And Paul knew that his time on this earth was coming to an end, he knew his time was short and he was ready.
I hear so many words being spoken these days, both by myself at times and other Christians, that ought not to be said. Cutting words, defensive words, unloving words. Words that God would not have us utter. God’s desire, according to His Word, is that we, the Church, the body of Christ, be one in Him and that we love one another (Luke 10:27). That’s above our country of origin, that’s above our defense of our political preference, that’s above of everything. He is our focus. He is our unifier, He is our source. When we take our eyes off of Him, when we place our wisdom in our own ways and means, when we lower our standards to earthly endeavors, we error. Israel, God’s chosen people took their eyes off of God and we, the body of Christ, are doing the very same thing.
God sets a high standard and we fall short, everyday. God’s standard is high because God doesn’t think like we do, His motives are uncompromising, His standard is holiness, that which all of us, in varying degrees, if we are truly following Him, are moving into. We are being made holy (Hebrews 10:14). It is a slow and sometimes painful process. But, and this is the amazing part, the process is covered in God’s love. He accepts us here, now, as we are, imperfect as we are, because we believe in His Son, who is the personification of Himself, the Father. And Jesus not only showed us of the Father, He, Jesus, also is the ultimate expression of God’s forgiving love (John 3:16), which Jesus demonstrated, by willingly allowing His life to be extinguished or taken as the Father desired, so that God could demonstrate that death is not the end, but only the beginning, via the resurrection.
I admit that this is a hard concept to grasp but the fact of the matter is that it is true. It is more true than all of what we see, it is the purpose behind all of God’s creation. What is even harder to grasp is the love that God extends to us, can be experienced here now, while we are in the process of being made holy, while we are yet imperfect, because our perfection will NEVER be via our own efforts, nor can it be, while we are in these earthly bodies. Our perfection has already been achieved by our faith in God’s visible standard, His only begotten Son.
This love that God extends to us, that we can experience now and know in our hearts, is but a taste of what yet is to come (1 John 4:19). God is preparing us to be in His presence, to share in His being, to worship and be with Him. The fact that I can see this, understand it in part, experience it in part, boggles my mind. And if His love and forgiveness, which frequently melts my heart, here now, can be known even in part, that which awaits us within His presence, cannot be described (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Am I ready? In Christ I am.
Am I being made holy? I am.
Are you ready?
Are you being made holy?
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!