Law of Love:All or Nothing Living – November 18

praying man on beautiful sky backgroundIn his book “Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God”, Francis Chan examines “Lukewarm” living”. “Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin.” The 3rd chapter of Revelation reveals God’s admonition to the Church at Laodicea. He addresses their half-hearted service and devotion and how it is repugnant to Him, even going as far as to say he will spit or “vomit” them out. He describes them as “neither hot nor cold” and wishing they were either. Their devotion to God placed them centered on nothing, simply going through the motions. Their church is filled with contentment in doing what is necessary, not what is required, serving Christ completely. Chan summarizes God’s thoughts about Laodicea as well as any church that is simply a “country club with a cross on it, “Lukewarm living and claiming Christ’s name simultaneously is utterly disgusting to God.”

Leviticus 18:1-10 and Leviticus 19:1-18 define what is holy and acceptable living to God. The first passage seems to be self-evident when they are told not to engage in relations with their daughters, wive’s family, wives of their sons, etc. The second points us in familiar directions in regards to our day to day living. Most of us can recognize the 10 Commandments, but this passage puts more definition to them. Why does God feel like He needs to go into more detail for what we think should be obvious? Perhaps it’s because God knows we will look for loopholes or to interpret His instructions for our own benefit, whether it does or not. The Israelites had lived in another culture for hundreds of years. Even before their ancestors were in bondage, a rule for living was not defined outside of a few, namely Jacob and his immediate family. And even they had their own issues morally.

Our society is/was not as “holy” as we like to think it is/was either. Scientists, politically connected families, and royal families as recent as the last few hundred years have engaged in the behavior that chapter 18 forbids. President’s we memorialize, authors we teach in English class, scientists that we celebrate have all engaged in this sinful behavior with full support because it was considered socially acceptable. Our attempts to legitimize sin evolves depending upon the attitudes of the society around it, often by those who are engaged in their own sin they try to redefine.

Almost from the beginning of our relationship with God, we often either choose to question every boundary set or accept them completely without question. Either one can end in us falling short as we can become legalistic and miss the Spirit of what is being commanded or we fall into “lukewarm” living as we look for “what if”s to qualify “how good is good”. Our God-given ability to reason what God is commanding is what leads to true holy living. We are able to look beyond the page and understand and internalize how God’s command is more than just a pious directive, but also how the command is providing for our highest good, both personally and socially.

Holiness is a calling. It is God’s call to His people. But often we equate holiness as perfection and perfection as “doing everything correctly”. 18th Century preacher and theologian, John Wesley, examined holiness and perfection and his conclusion was that we are to be perfected by God through grace, not our daily works. We are called to live lives of moral righteousness, not perform our daily activities without error.

Wesley’s most famous sermon addressed the “Almost Christian”. Referencing the story of Paul addressing Agrippa in an attempt to convert him to Christianity, Agrippa claims that he “almost persuade me to be a Christian”. The remainder of Wesley’s sermon is devoted to examining that the “almost Christian’ is one who does everything they should, saying the right things, doing the right things, and living socially upright lives.

What the “Almost Christian” lack is the Spirit that consumes them to do it because they are “saved by grace” instead of just looking the part. When we try to find the short cut, or seek God half-heartedly, we miss out on the abundant life Christ promises. Christ calls us to extreme living because living for only what is convenient or gets us by often will lead us down a path to pain and a life that is neither “more full” nor making a difference. If we strive for “perfection”, being perfected by the Holy Spirit in love and grace, we not only will attain it, but our lives will reflect the perfection that is in a God who sent His only Son to save us, and the Son who set an example for how holy living can be achieved. I pray this day, you might see your faith as it is and strive to allow God to perfect you in His Grace. I pray He reveals the areas that plague you and shows you that you can also trust Him to bless you with a life you only believed was possible on the other side of the grave. Live live with all you are in Christ, to receive all that God promises, so that nothing is impossible for you.

Do I strive to be great at things that don’t matter or what matters to God?

Do I strive to give God all of me or just enough to look better than my neighbor?

Do I believe that God is satisfied with whatever I give Him, or that He wants all of me?

 

Just one king and just one crown
Could rule and reign here till the darkness has bowed down
So hear your people as we pray
And humbly seek your face, we seek your face

Whatever you want
Whatever you ask
Our lives are yours
We gladly lay them in your hands
Set revival free
In our surrendering
Come start a fire and let it burn
We’re crying out till heaven fills the earth oh oh oh

Just one love and just one hope
Could unify this great divide and make us whole
A royal priesthood for your fame
A people called by your great name, by your great name

Whatever you want
Whatever you ask
Our lives are yours
We gladly lay them in your hands
Set revival free
In our surrendering
Come start a fire and let it burn
We’re crying out till heaven fills the earth oh oh oh

Here as one we’re unified
To see your glory in our lives
For your kingdom, for your name
Holy spirit have your way

Here as one we’re unified
To see your glory in our lives
For your kingdom, for your name
Holy spirit have your way
Holy spirit have your way

Whatever you want
Whatever you ask
Our lives are yours
We gladly lay them in your hands
Set revival free
In our surrendering
Come start a fire and let it burn
We’re crying out till heaven fills the earth oh oh oh

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