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Monday, September 3, 2007

Living in Holiness

The past couple of devotions on Living in Holiness have been about dwelling in the presence of the Lord. We looked at what the Psalms have to say about dwelling in His sanctuary.

Let me just say that I love being in His sanctuary! There is no other place on earth that I would rather be! Just to be there and pray and worship and be challenged to live this life to the fullest for Jesus is absolutely the best part of my week and my life!

I am also learning that while His sanctuary is a physical place, it is also a state of the heart. I can be in His sanctuary while in my car with the praise music blaring or on a walk with His creation all around me. It is becoming more apparent to me that it is about my submission and His filling no matter where I might be.

But, I do love the physical place of the sanctuary of His church. Just to be with other believers who love and worship our Heavenly Father is a gift that no other venue on earth offers. No work place, no shopping center, no friends home, no restaurant can give the sense of security, peace and refuge that His church can give. It is an amazing place to meet Him face to face and to sense His presence like no other.

Today in Sunday School Chad was teaching on the Pharisees and their legalistic interpretation of the Law. He did such a good job of explaining that Jesus taught His followers that while the law did say certain things, HE came to explain what they really meant. He came to shed light on the fact that our obedience to the law is really a state of the heart. Jesus came to tell us that while the Pharisees did interpret the law to the best of their human standards they were still legalistic and the law, the way they interpreted it, was impossible to fulfill.

I find it interesting that during my quiet time this past week there was a small commentary on the Pharisees. The comment that was made was that the Pharisees really did try! They were men of God. They were men that loved God and while many of them may have been hypocrites they still tried to understand and interpret the Bible to the best of their ability. They were very well read and knew the Old Testament better than most of their day. Many of them felt that they had the right to judge the actions and hearts of others. They were, however, men. Men that were schooled in the scriptures, but also men in need of a Savior. Their own interpretations were so strict that even they could not live up to them, and yet their judgment of others was the very thing that Jesus addressed as He spoke to them.

We are much like those Pharisees. We are men, trying to do our best to praise and love and worship our Father. Many of us are trying to know His Word and be obedient to His commands. We do love Him. But despite our attempts to be all that He calls us to be, we desperately need a Savior. NO Pharisee had it all together. No one could make it into heaven without the shed blood of Jesus. No good works, no worship experience, no church building, no perfect living could save them, and none of it can save us!

Living in Holiness is a pursuit. Not one of us will ever arrive. The scriptures make it clear that while we LOVE our Jesus and while we are seeking to please Him in every way we must be careful about our judgmental hearts.

YOUR TURN: Look in your Bible at Matthew 7:1-5 and read this familiar passage.

Jesus has just been teaching the Pharisees what He really meant with the different commands that they have been living by. Matthew 5-6 are chapters where Jesus speaks to their interpretation of the Law and HIS interpretation of the Law. He follows those chapters with the charge to "not judge others, or you too will be judged."

I do not want to be misunderstood. I do think that it is VERY important that we are in His sanctuary, that we read His Word and that we follow His commands. It is also essential that we share our faith and that we are in a Bible believing church and a church that falls under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I just believe that we must be very careful within those parameters that we do not judge the faith and worship of others.

Not too long ago I was on a team that went to visit a family that had visited our church. They were precious people and were very kind. When asked if they were planning to join the church their response was that they didn't really understand our worship. They didn't see how we could stand in such an awesome church with such awesome preaching and music and not have more emotion.

I later asked some other members about their thoughts about this view of lack of emotion, and they said that no one can see how they are worshipping in their hearts. Some feel such emotion that they can hardly contain it, and yet that worship is between them and their Father.

I share this to say that each of us are different. Each of us encourage and love on others in different ways. We pray differently. We sing differently. We are individuals, each with a different story of how we came to Christ. While each of us can certainly grow in our walk with Jesus we need to be careful about judging others and their walk. Jesus sees each heart as it comes before Him. He is the one that convicts and changes each one of us as we yield to His authority.

Lord, thank you for your church. Thank you for meeting us there each week as we long to worship and surrender to You. Father, help us to be mindful of our brothers and sisters and the fact that you created each of us differently. Holy Spirit, please work in us, change us, and teach us to walk with You. Forgive us when we judge others and help us to keep our eyes on You. Help us to be an encouragement to those who do not know you, and give us the hearts to see them as children that You love! Lord, You are so faithful to love us even when we fall. Help us to love others the way that you would have us to! Amen!

1 comments:

Nicki said...

YaY!! I LOVE IT!! Looks great! And you are right this will help you stay more organized and it will be easier for us to keep up with it!! Awesome!! =)