Jul 31, 2011

Undivided

Oh, we study the Bible. But, in fact, we don’t often study it "desperately," as we might study text books when we are trying to become a doctor, or an engineer, or a scientist. 

When it comes to preparing for our vocation, we typically seek a comprehensive, coherent, and accurate body of knowledge. But when it comes to our faith, we are too often content with simplistic clich├ęs and a second hand, cobbled together theology. And all of that is usually aimed more at getting through the day than a thorough understanding of God and His agenda.

So, in the absence of substantial information, more and more of us are just making god up. We ad-lib god. We fashion a god that is who we need him to be, rather than who God really is.

And we always make him a "good" god. That is, we create a god who behaves the way we need him to behave. For example, typically, we like for him to keep a comfortable distance until we need help. Then we want him to becomes our divine "leg man" busily rearranging life’s circumstances to serve our selfish interests.

If we need encouragement, he becomes our "pick me up" so we can get on with our personal agenda. If we boo boo, even if it’s a big time boo boo, our self made god usually just excuses us by one means or another, and leaves us mostly unbothered and unchanged.

So, in short, designer gods, the gods we fashion in our minds, don’t put much pressure on us. As a result, these little "divine figments" necessarily play down the importance of significant investment and personal struggle. 

Rather they wink when we cut moral corners and take ethical shortcuts and choose the easy, but wrong, way. And why wouldn’t they. It is really our druthers, after all, that shaped and defined these small and well behaved gods in the first place. So, understandably, these manufactured gods are not going to put much emphasis on holiness of heart.

But when it comes to the real God - don’t count on it. Holiness matters to Him - immensely. It is an indispensable and immutable part of His own most basic identity. And He absolutely insists on making it a part of ours.

Holiness, in God and man, is no more complicated than this. It is integrity of heart. In other words it is an undivided heart, a heart that has a single primary devotion to goodness. 

In God, that singularity perfectly permeates His entire being and His every action. He is completely, always, and without any contradiction, entirely and singularly devoted to true goodness.

That same imperative also comes to vibrant life in all who truly live in the passions of Christ. And though we may struggle with absolute perfection in our own pursuit of goodness - we absolutely do not struggle with our devotion to it. In fact, the whole thrust of the redemptive operation is to restore that singularity of purpose in man’s heart - to give us integrity of intent.

To see the true God accurately, is to understand Him to be a Holy God, a God perfectly devoted to "rightness," and a God who cares whether or not His people are so dedicated. And while Satan and even our own warped views may sometimes attempt to discredit the idea of holiness in God and man, yet, that is not really possible. 

If God lives, He lives with but a single primary devotion: true goodness. And if we live in Christ, that same lovely, and purifying, and elevating devotion comes to life in us through his divine nature which moves us.

The Adversary would have us to believe that holiness is an unattainable attribute for humanity. But, in fact, it is the very fabric of our existence if we have been literally baptized into the vitality of Christ. 
And, while we may be, on occasion, imperfect in awareness, or perspective, or understanding, or even actions; yet, ultimately we are undivided in our devotion to all that God shows us to be good. 

We make mistakes in life; but these three must not be among them: We must never fashion our own convenient little god. He will fail our soul in the end. 

We must never fail to understand the true God to be a holy God who requires the same in His people. And, we must not fail our own capacity, in Christ, to be a holy people, having but a single primary devotion in an undivided heart.

Some day, from the high vantage point of the after life, when we review the troubles of these troubled times, mankind’s primary problem will be easily obvious. From that vantage point, we will clearly see that the spiritual struggles of these days do not, in fact, stem from any lack of capacity or ability. Rather, they flow directly from a lack of resolve - the always unavoidable dividend of shallow or multiplied devotions. Nevertheless, the first requisite of God’s Heaven stands. Heaven still requires an undivided heart - singularly devoted to goodness.

"... The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might." Deuteronomy. 6:4-5

"Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." 2 Cor. 7:1

"... if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness." Eph. 4:21-24


"Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 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.'' 1Peter 1:13-16

"Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord." Heb. 12:14