Friday, March 22, 2013

The Prodigal Son Is Redeemed

If you're a regular reader, I'm sure you've noticed that my blog has taken on a new theme.  I feel like I am entering into a new area of my walk with God, and I will be explaining where the new title, King In Me, has come from.  Let's go!

"Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate."  Luke 15:18-24

This will forever be one of my favorite stories in scripture.  If you noticed in the title, the word "redeemed" is in past tense.  I'm emphasizing that because of this idea,  "It has happened, it is done, it is finished.  He is back home with his father, He's not lost anymore, He is found." 

So work with me through this idea.  So in this text, we know that the prodigal son leaves his father's home with his inheritance and blows it on wild living.  So after wasting all his money, a severe famine hits the country he's in and he gets a job working for a farmer who sent him in the field to feed the pigs.  He then begins to long for the pigs food.  But then he has a response.  His response was, "How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!" (Luke 15:17) So the selected text picks up there, where he tells himself that he is going to go back home and beg for his father to treat him as a hired servant. (vs 19)

So the prodigal son has a response to his current condition and heads back to where he knows where better is offered.  So as you read, when he gets back home, the father runs outs, filled with compassion, embraces him and kisses him.  The son rehearses his unworthiness, and the father ignores him and invites him into his home again, hooks him up with the best robe, a ring, shoes, and the fattened calf, and they party! 

Not the response he was expecting I'm sure. 

But here's the point.  The son has two options.  He can choose to continue to find his identity in what he feels like he deserves, which he felt like he deserved to be a hired servant.  Or, he could choose to find his identity in who his father chose to call him.  And what name was that? 


The first option, if the son finds his identity in what he feels like he deserves, which again was the hired servant, what would that call him to?  He will live where? In some shack or shabby living quarters outside of the warm home he was just invited into.  He would probably eat the scraps from the day, and potentially even the pigs food again.  He would have to find enjoyment with fellowship with the hired servants--- again, outside and away from his father.  With the illustration, he wouldn't be desiring what the father has for him. 

But with the second option, if the son chooses to find his identity in what the father chose to call him, which is son, he continues to wear the robe, the ring, the shoes, and the fattened calf.  He continues to enjoy the best.  But better than just the stuff, he gets to enjoy his father again, who invited him back into fellowship with him!  The same son who I'm sure disgraced his father's name for his actions, saw past the shame and guilt and received the son back into the home, invited him into love and safety and warmth again.  People!  This is the Gospel!!! 

So this new area of my walk I'm in, I'm choosing to find my identity in what God is choosing to call me, Son.  Believers?  Do you realize who we belong to?


And he is choosing to call us children of His.  He is inviting us into fellowship with Him, even after we have disgraced His name with our lives and have not brought Him any glory with our rebellious and sinful actions, but yet when we called, when we returned home, tails tucked between our legs, shameful and full of guilt, He has received us and has invited us BACK HOME WITH HIM!  Come inside and be with Me!  And look, I'm giving you the robe, the ring, the shoes, and the fattened calf!!  The best I have offer you is available to you----ME! I'M AVAILABLE FOR YOU!

If you are not fired up right now......whoo!!!  But let's keep going.   


And what I'm saying by the title "King In Me", I'm saying that sin is beneath me now.  My sinful nature is beneath me, not because I've worked myself and become holier than thou, but because Holier than me became the payment for my sin and  has imputed His righteousness into me and so that now I am seen as holy and blameless before my Father.  Yes! YES! I'm rejoicing and walking and living now in the understanding and the knowledge that a living King is living inside of me which places me as royalty compared to the quality of stuff sin offers me.  I no longer desire such peasantry desires. My GOD HAS REDEEMED ME.  I AM A NEW CREATURE!  I'M A KING INSTANTLY, THE MINUTE I FULLY BELIEVED AND HE BREATHED NEW LIVE INTO THIS DEAD MAN!

And believers, this is your calling as well. 

And unbelievers, this is what is available for you.  You have no idea how much the Father ferociously loves you and wants for you to know Him.  He's waiting for you to respond to your current condition as the son did and COME BACK HOME TO HIM!

So King In Me.  My new identity.  The logo is not my own design, it is from a Christian Rap album called W.L.A.K., which is an acronym for We Live As Kings.  And a song from their album is entitled King In Me.  And it's one of my favorite songs on the CD.  But these four men are rapping right in line with my new identity, WE LIVE AS KINGS. 

I WILL LIVE AS A KING.  Realizing my identity is in Him because He has chosen to call me son.  Never forgetting that I deserve Hell for my sin, that I deserve to be the hired servant eating the pigs food, but choosing to find my identity in what God has chosen to call me. 

I am a son of a holy God. 

Do you know who you belong to?  I mean, do you really know who you belong to? 

Think about that. And what is your choice? 

Please, please choose His name for you.  Choose His grace for you.  Choose His life for you.

There's a King ready to live in you too.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

To Whom Shall We Go?

Imagine this with me.  

You and I are amongst the crowd that is following Jesus.  He has just fed the 5000 with the five loaves and two fishes.  Our bellies are full.  And we feel confident that this local guy that calls himself Jesus is going to be our next king.  Jesus runs off and the disciples go towards the lake to head towards Capernaum.  Then we realize that Jesus was with them and we didn't see him get into the boat with them? What the heck?  Then you and I jump into a boat and cross the lake heading towards Capernaum in search of Jesus again.  Just in case he's in the mood to feed us again.  (Amen?  Always down for free food!)  We find Jesus, and we exclaim! "Jesus? What up!? When did you get here?"  (lets be nice to him, just in case he's in the mood to feed us again.)  But of course, he reads our minds and says this.  

“Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." (Jn 6:26-27)

"How did he know what we were thinking?" I nudge you and ask.  "What must we do to do the works God require?"(Jn 6:28) We ask him, trying to cover our intentions.  

Jesus answers, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."  (Jn 6:29)  

"Oh okay.  That sounds easy enough.  What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you?  What will you do?  Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written:  'He gave them bread from heaven to eat."  We say back.  I'm sure he'll be impressed with our Bible knowledge.  

Jesus responds, "Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread of heaven.  For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." (Jn 6:32-33)

"Ahh. I like that kind of bread.  Sir, always give us this bread." We say back with genuine desire.  

Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.  But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.  All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.  For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.  For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

Whoa now.  Did he just say 'I am the bread that came down from heaven?'  "Um, yo, my man.  Are you not Jesus?  The son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?  How can you say, I came down from heaven?"(Jon 6:41-42)

And then we listen as Jesus goes into this long rant about how he is the living bread of life, and that you have to eat from him, the living bread of life, in order to gain eternal life.  His flesh is the bread.  So silly sounding, and then he busts out with this dialogue about us drinking his blood so we can remain in Him!?  Uhhh....come again Jesus?  What are you talking about?  

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.  Yet there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him.  He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”  From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 

Interesting twist to the story.  So what's going here?  The crowd had their own agenda of who they wanted Jesus to be for them.  But when Jesus flexed His authority and His glory, they didn't like that.  "You're Mary and Joseph's oldest son.  Which makes you a nobody." 

So remember the history up until this event, they were just in love with Jesus.  Jesus was feeding them, working miracles, walking on water and being fun and awesome, and he's so cool and so magical we want him to be our king so he can fix all of our problems forever!  But Jesus had another agenda.  And His agenda was this: these miracles and signs I'm working are for you to know ME.  But do you see?  They missed this.  And I think, sometimes, we miss it too. 
Doesn't it get frustrating sometimes?  I mean, we've been serving at church and leading small groups and sacrificing school work for Jesus time and discipling youth and tweeting bible verses and sometimes, we expect Jesus to be up to date on our plans.  And when things don't go our way?  When we are praying for something and investing in something and it doesn't go our way, what do we do?  We raise our fists up at Jesus and say "How dare you not honor my plans?  I've been a good girl/boy and I don't ask for much and you could have given me this!  Why is this happening to me?  Why are you not making this into good for those who love Him, dang it I've proven I love you haven't I?  Well this ain't good right now! I can't have that?!  That's hard for me to accept right now! If this is your good, then..........."   

And then Jesus asks us the same question he asked that day.    "You do not want to leave too, do you? Jesus asked the Twelve.  

Reader, this question brings me to my knees every single time I get in these moods.  Because, believers, we will be faced with this situation one day.  Perhaps some of you have already wrestled with this one already.  There will be a day where everything you've ever hoped in will seem to fail you, and it seems like it's Jesus's fault because He didn't tell you to stop doing it when you first started, and you was praying and He never said hey this might end badly, He never said anything! But it went badly!  And then we are faced with this dilemma----

I didn't get what I wanted from Jesus, but is Jesus more than what I wanted? 

If you're slow to answer that question in the heat of the moment, don't feel too bad.  And in that question he asked the twelve disciples, I tasted this sense of Him asking, "Why am I not enough for you?  Was your agenda not to just know Me?"  But let's think about it.  Why is Jesus not enough in these moments?  I mean, what you were hoping in or believing for was of good intentions right?  You wasn't being evil about it.  Why couldn't he just do that for you?  And when we are faced with this reality of a question, and the fact that it will come a day when we are faced with this, our faith begins to stretch because for the first time in awhile we actually have to have faith in JUST THE ONE THING THAT REMAINS----

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (Jn 6:60-68)


The one thing that remains is Jesus's unfailing love that lasts forever!  The one thing that remains is Jesus, becoming sin for us, absorbing the wrath of God on a cross, just so that we could take on His righteousness and be seen as holy and blameless before God, and to bring glory to Him by our coming into salvation and believing in the Son of God as the risen King!  The one thing that remains is that Jesus is the only thing that matters when it comes to our joy and happiness.  The one thing that remains is that Jesus is the giver of life, the giver of peace!  The one thing that remains, His love NEVER FAILS, IT NEVER GIVES UP, AND IT NEVER RUNS OUT.  

So my friends.  His love never fails.  Let's stay on His agenda, which was to do the will of His Father by dying for us and bringing us back into relationship with God and breathing new life into us.  To whom shall we go when it gets hard?  Back to death?  No one really wants that.  Especially when we have Jesus, who is the only thing offering the way to eternal life.




Wednesday, March 6, 2013

He's Cute, Sweet, and Loves Jesus

Hello readers.  Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin.

I love my female Christian friends.  I'm so glad that they are so transparent with me.  They tell me things, then I go home and ponder about the insanity of their claims, and then blog about them.  ; ) (If you're reading, I love you).

Now before we get started, I need to be sure we're all approaching this in the same way.  This blog was birthed from a frustration of the expectations that women have about "men of God".  But I'm sympathetic, because I am also understanding that the men in our culture NEED to man up.  And I also understand that the ladies are lethal with their words of disrespect by screaming "man up" whenever they don't get their way from a guy, so this blog is honestly for the men.  And, I'm using you as a launching pad.  So to avoid any of you creating newer expectations, I'll just unpack some scripture and allow God to deal with you on how He chooses.  K? 

Now we must first address the relationship between God and Man and say that it needs to be that we fear God and love God.  Now you're going to have to do a little work with this concept if you were not raised with a loving authority figure as a father, but this is crucial to anything I discuss in this blog.  If a man or woman does not fear God AND love God, then none of these things matter anyway.  Even if we make gun control laws, if people don't fear the government, people will still get murdered with weapons.  So the hope is not for men to see more "laws" for them to go by, but the hope is for men to see that God loves them and have designed them with a certain influence that models His image, and when we obey His design of things it's an act of worship of our love for our Creator.  So if we do not fear God AND love God, then all of this will just be received as another law hanging over our heads, more standards and expectations for us to drop the ball on---men, do not read it that way.  Read it instead as a way to enjoy God even more as you worship Him with your life. Let's get to work. 

So Ephesians 5 is a very popular chapter when dealing with marriage.  But let's read it just in the context of relationship to man and woman.  The text talks about husbands and wives, and since husbands are men and wives are women, let's just read it with that general knowledge.  Ephesians 5:21 begins---And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  So here we are, Paul is reminding us to submit to each other because we fear God and love God. If you're having a hard time with the word fear, biblically it can be looked at as holding a reverence to a just God and responding to His authority over all His creation. Got it?  Let's keep going.

 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her  to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.  How has Christ loved the church?  I love Christian women throw out that the guy must "Love Jesus"so that will mean that he will know how to love them; but I may begin to ask them how they define that?  He raises his hands in worship?  He's at church?  He goes to every Passion Conference?  He's in seminary?  Is it simply just that?  There's a lot of Bible to be read and a lot of transformation has to happen to fully grasp how a person should model loving as Christ loves the church.  But let's focus on a big one, and that is Jesus came to serve the church.  He lead by serving.  And He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, which is a beautiful depiction of the Gospel.  He submitted to His God given purpose---men we need to be knowing what our purpose is so that we can servingly lead. 

He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.  

Men, we are responsible for the spiritual growth of our families, especially our wives.  We are to encourage our wives to deepen her relationship with Jesus and assisting her in walking out her calling and purpose while serving her during her sanctification process, just as Jesus does for us.  You see that right?  To make her holy and present her to himself as a glorious church (bride). Let's keep going.

In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.
No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.
Men, we should love our wives such as our own bodies.  In a literal sense,  if you're putting junk into your own body, you're probably going to be putting junk into her as well.  I'll say it this way, a lot of us are more concerned about what we put into our bodies than we are what we are putting into the women in our lives.  Some of us will be nutrition Nazi's and spend more time in research and study to know how to protect our hearts from heart attacks and to pursue healthy living, but we won't put the same attention into being careful with how we speak, what we say, how we treat, how we respect, how we honor the women in our lives.  And women, I'm not saying if a guy is buff he understands how to properly treat you.  Do not do that.  However, the Bible tells men to be careful how you feed and care for your wife--spiritually and emotionally.  Yes, you are responsible for that as well.  The ESV says nourish and cherish her.  Are you filling her with life?  Are you feeding her peace and security?  Are you cherishing her with daily exercise of reassurance and affirmation?  Are you caring for her needs?  Good questions right? 

But do not miss this next part.

If you're a woman right now, do not walk away from this blog thinking, "I'M GOING TO GET EVERY MAN TO READ EPHESIANS 5 SO THEY CAN MAN UP."   I can respect your intentions, just know that's the wrong way to approach it.  I said that to say this....there's a lot more work that needs to be done before Ephesians 5 can be walked out.  Remember what I said earlier? 

Men have to respond to the Gospel first.  A lot of us do not even fear God AND love Him.  We have committed to being good Christian men, but that is for the most part based on our own strength and disciplines, or probably how you were raised.  You're the cute and sweet guy, that loves Jesus because you're at church.  And I get it.  We're men, that's probably our biggest hang up.  "I don't need God to do all the work for me, He can coach me and I'll take it from there."

Men, that is the biggest pitfall men we deal with.  And we have believed and operated in this pitfall since the beginning of time.  "I don't want to ask for directions, I know what I'm doing.  And if I'm really stranded, God just get me back to the right road, I'll figure it out from there"---we would never let someone jump in the car and drive us and our family to our destination.  Sir, this is how we are to lead....we have to submit.  WE have to deny this idea that we can do anything without God.  That we can figure out the course of our lives without Him.  You must hear this.  This is how God has chosen to invite us into relationship with Him.  You want these things done well and pleasing to Him, then out of our intimacy with Him and the flourishing of our relationship with Him--- will birth this response to Ephesians 5.  We must love God and fear God.  And if a guy loves God and fears God, ALL is open to transformation.  If He loves God and fears God then he is willing to submit to the authority of scripture, and all he will need is discipleship to see this verse acted out within the context of a family and accountability by other fellow believers---he'll be ready to roll.  And guess what ladies???? 

You can't figure this one out from one date or because his hands are raised in worship.  So before you give your heart to the next, "cute, sweet, and loves Jesus" guy you meet----figure out if he fears God and loves God. Hmm..I never stopped to consider this.....   

Do you even fear God AND love God?

If you can't answer that---that may need to be addressed first.   

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Legacy

Hello readers.  Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin.

I used to be afraid of the idea of having my own legacy.  I remember hearing people talking about wanting to leave a legacy, and me judging them thinking they were being prideful and not acknowledging God's own glory and legacy. I have seen the light.  First of all.. 

God's legacy can never be outshine or outdone. 

Let's get that straight.  However, there is a battle that could be happening in the hearts of man that they are ignoring God's legacy, but that does not mean it doesn't exist.  Because there will be a day when every knee will have to bow to Him and His legacy---so our ignorance will not be an excuse on that day.

But anyways, I feel like I am entering into a new season of my life.  The false humility I've carried for years is beginning to shift into confident and fulfilled identity.  I must share this story with you so you get what I'm trying to say.

Remember the story of The Prodigal Son?  The younger son goes off to a far off land with his inheritance.  He blows it and a famine hits the country he's in at the time.  He finds work feeding pigs, and there he finds himself starving and desiring even to eat the pigs food.  But he comes to his senses and remembers that at his father's house the hired servants has food to spare and he's starving to death.  So he prepares a speech of denouncing his role as a son in his father's house and plans on begging his father to have mercy on him by granting him a lesser role as a servant.  The son makes his way back home.  The father meets him in the driveway and warmly welcomes him back home.  He then orders the servants to give the prodigal son a robe to wear, a ring for his finger, sandals for his feet, and the fattened calf to eat as they celebrate the return of the son.

So this son has a few options.  He can receive and respond to this love, grace, and mercy by fully embracing it in all it's fullness.  Or he can allow the condemnation of his past to push him into decreasing the fellowship he can have with his father now that he's back home. For example, he could go along with his plan of asking to be a hired servant and work in the fields and living in the servants home.  

And I feel like I've been living there.

I've been extremely grateful to be in the kingdom and in the presence of God again and back at home, but knowing I didn't deserve all He was offering me I stayed outside with the hired servants where I felt like I really deserved to be.  Not enjoying the fullness of God's presence and relationship by being in the house where the sons live, but instead hanging out with the hired servants, who are closer to being back where the son was before he came home.

If you're still finding your identity in how undeserving you are, you'll continue to pursue what you feel like you deserve.  

I'll say it this way.  Stop settling for sin--it's beneath you.

So this legacy of mine is beginning with me stepping back into the house where my Father has already invited me to be.  I'm busting out the bean bag chairs and blankets and sitting right at my Father's feet so I can enjoy His fullness.  I'm finding my identity in this....I belong to God.  I am my Father's son, made in His image and designed to reflect His glory with my life.  My legacy is a reflection of Him, not of anything I have earned, but fully Him.

And I love how God has been transforming my heart to respond to Him in this.  I'm beginning to realize that EVERY DECISION MATTERS.  No one ends up anywhere without taking many steps.  So with my family being filled with obesity and health issues, God's been transforming my heart to realize that EVERY WORKOUT matters, EVERY MEAL matters.  Every thing we invest in matters.  And not to put pressure on you, but it's true.  So as I'm looking at this big picture legacy for myself, and realizing that decisions I make now will begin a path for my children and many more.  The first major one is submitting to God deeply enough to where I desire a healthy marriage and to have a healthy home for my wife and children--fully submitting to my wife in reverence to Christ and leading her by serving her, and loving her how I love my own body by paying attention to what I say to her, how I treat her, how I love her, how I address her.  (Ephesians 5). And also being considerate of her, treating her with respect as the weaker partner BUT also knowing that she is a heir to the same family I've been adopted in to.  (1 Peter 3:7).  She's just as adored by God as I am, and I should treat her that way.

And furthering this legacy is a concern, as which I desire to pour into the next generation by submitting to God's authority with how to raise my children, in hopes of serving them by displaying to them a vibrant relationship with the Father and hoping it encourages them to do the same.

And I'm begging God to grant me with the grace to plant the church He's called me to plant one day.  The thought of doing God's work now and up until then is such a huge honor.  The idea of exemplifying the Gospel to people and doing life and sharing in the ups and downs with other people is exciting for me.  Creating a place that receives the broken and the weary---the hurting and the lost.  I'm so honored that He chosen me to do such a task.  The thought of being able to stand before God one day and He's weighing my sins and clearing them with the blood of Jesus, it'll be awesome to stand there and look at the rewards of faces that I have influenced.  And God looks at me and says, "Son, it was my pleasure to welcome you back home when you finally came back.  And look at all the ones you brought along with you.  Well done."

And with that I'm going to say, that this idea of "my legacy", is not even considered my owns.  I'm choosing to share in Christ's.  He is the Legacy.  I'm only joining in a sub legacy, the one He's been working for and through man throughout generations. I'm now living as a King.  The Prodigal Son has been redeemed, past tense.  Now his work is beginning.  The war has begun.  The Gospel shall be proclaimed in all areas I walk.  The son is suited up, confident that His security is in His father, and He's ready to get the other sons who have been away from home too long back in the bean bag chairs at their Father's feet.

"Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!" 2 Corinthians 5:11-20 "  

This is THE LEGACY.  

Friday, March 1, 2013


As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy. 1 Peter 14-16

Hello readers.  Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin.  

This verse sheds some light on this new revelation I've been having about how tense the Gospel is---And I'm starting to love it.  For the ones who understand the Gospel, you may have not even realized that there is tension.  Here's what I know about us.  

When we are forced to live up to a certain standard, we are resistant.  And I don't know why we respond to correction with resistance, but we do.  And the weight of this text above, God is telling us to be holy because He is holy.  


God and His sense of humor.  Be holy like Him.  And especially since throughout the Bible, it's clear that we are unable to live up to God's law.  And throughout the Bible, we see time and time again faithful and well respected men of God who seem to be deeply in tune with God is falling short and God is just simply going to say, "Hey kid.  Be holy like me."  

But imagine this.  Let's look at the reality.  Have you ever been around someone that you hold to a high standard?  Like let's say your favorite celebrity walks into the room you're in right now.  And innately, you feel this tension to impress them. Maybe if you're prideful it's the other way around, but all of us have someone that we hold to a high esteem, to a high standard, and the thought of that person walking into the room makes us want to be sure we're on our best behaviors.  

We don't ever want to admit this.  But to keep it simple, if your parents walked into the room with you right now, you will more than likely talk and act a little differently than you would if they wasn't in the room.  Or if your favorite pastor walked into the room, you'd be extra careful to be sure you're life giving and serving with a smile.  Or if your favorite actor came into the room as you're acting, you would want them to see your best performance.  Or if your significant other is present when you're doing anything, you're going to want to impress them. 

So why is that?  

When we are pressed up against someone or something that we set apart from us, it forces us to consider conformity.  It demands us to. If you're in a nice restaurant,  you're not going to just kick your shoes off and eat with a plastic spork you just so happen to have in your purse.  The set apartness of that restaurant will force you to consider conforming to how the environment expects for you to act.  

Here's my point.

The Gospel invites this kind of response to God---Even though many of us don't.  I'm starting to think that people have an innate understanding of how holy God is and how set apart He is.  Is it not interesting how when we sin we run from God?  To me, that is an accurate response for something such as sin.  Now I'm not saying that's a CORRECT response, but it is accurate one.  Meaning that since God is so set apart and so holy and we are so much of an offense to His very nature with our sinful nature, we should respond with hiding and shame.  But the Gospel invites you into fellowship with Him.  The Gospel tells us that we are able to enter the throne of grace boldly because we know that God doesn't see our sin because of the precious blood of Jesus covers us and is our righteousness and so therefore we are seen as holy and blameless before Him.  Not that we are holy and blameless on our own accord and because of our own actions, but because Jesus, God Himself in the flesh, became the sacrifice to pay the debt of our sins.

So how are we to be holy like God is holy?

We must respond to the Gospel.  We must respond to the fact that we are invited into fellowship with Him.  And from that response, we press up against God's holiness and how set apart He is, and then we are forced to consider conforming to Him.  So your starting point is here.  The Gospel.

Your starting point is here. That you are accepted and loved because of what Jesus did.  So that gets you in fellowship with God.  That gets you in the door.  Now as we press up against His holiness, it's going to force us to consider conforming to Him.  This is why relationship is so vital.  It's the catalyst of how we pursue holiness.  We don't pursue holiness to be accepted by God, that's already been done with Jesus.  But we pursue holiness to be like Him and to know Him.  And we become more like Him the more we get to KNOW HIM.

You cannot miss that.  The Gospel of Jesus invites you into fellowship with God, and from that fellowship and from being in relationship with Him we are forced to consider conforming to his holiness.  So you're not going to hate sin as much as God hates it if you're not near Him.  You're not going to value His character if you're not close to Him.  So get near Him.  Respond to the Gospel and get near Him.  There is where you'll find your pursuit of holiness with be truly freeing and life enriching.

The starting point is God.  You have to know where you are before you can get where you want to go.  We must realize our condition as sinners, imperfect in every way.  And that it'll take being near a holy God to even know and understand what holiness is---and responding to the fact that the Gospel invites you into knowing Him.