Holy Grateful

Exodus 13:7-8 Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters. And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, ‘This is done because of what the LORD did for me when I came up from Egypt.’

Holiness.  Consecration.  Beautiful words that are too rarely spoken of.   Perhaps they seem too old fashioned.  Out of date.   But this is what our verses paint a picture of.  Leaven represents sin, and part of the celebration of Passover was the removal of leaven from the home.  As the Passover tradition was passed down to the younger generation, the removal of leaven was explained – “it’s because of what the Lord did for me.”

I have known people who lived a holy life because they are extremely disciplined and orderly people and such a lifestyle appeals to them.  I have known others who lived a holy life because they were afraid that God would reject them if they didn’t.  But the motivation that we are pointed to is something totally different.  Gratitude.   Holiness is the proper response from the heart grateful for God’s deliverance.

Such a heart, when tempted with sin, prefers that their flesh forego the desired pleasure rather than participate in anything that would hurt the heart of God.  This person remembers regularly the various Egypts they have been brought out of by the strong hand of the Lord.  Nothing matters except living to please Him.  They live a life wholly grateful.  And holy grateful.

From riches to rags

Ezekiel 16:8-15 “When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the Lord GOD. “Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil. I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk. I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty. Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you,” says the Lord GOD. “But you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it.”

This passage was written to Israel as their idolatry had finally brought judgment upon them and they were carried off to Babylonian captivity. The Lord reminded them that HE was the one who made a mighty nation out of one man and bestowed it with glory and beauty. Israel was as helpless as a newborn baby, abandoned and left for dead, but the Lord loved them and gave them such prominence among the nations of the world. Wouldn’t you think they would be grateful to God? Faithful to God? They weren’t. Their history is littered with their backslidings as they forgot God and chased after the gods of the nations around them.

I wish I could say that we are different. Sadly, we are not. The financial prosperity that God has blessed us with, we squander on our own desires. The gifts He has given us for the purpose of serving Him and building His kingdom we have used to serve ourselves and expand our own influence and importance. We too, forget.

Think for a moment about the relationship between a father and child. That father provides all that the child needs. Food and clothing certainly, but what father would be content to clothe his child in rags. He wants to give her beautiful princess dresses so she feels pretty. Imagine he sends her off to school in her pretty sparkly clothes and she comes home in tattered shorts and a stained T-shirt. He would be shocked by her appearance and ask what happened to her beautiful clothes. She traded her beautiful dress to a friend because she liked the shorts and T-shirt better. Imagine the father’s sorrow. He wanted to make her beautiful but she traded it for filth.

Beloved, God has made us beautiful in Christ. Don’t trade that beauty for the pollutions that inevitably follow our ventures into idolatry with this world.

It just isn’t worth it.

Vessel of Honor

2 Timothy 2:20-21 “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.”

If the way we live our lives and the things we choose to abstain from affect our usefulness in advancing the kingdom, WHY would we allow anything in our lives that hinders us from being that vessel of honor?

Time is short. Live ready to be useful to your King.

This Present Evil World

Galatians 1:3-4 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of our God and Father.

Our mighty Lord Jesus has saved us who have called upon His name from the penalty and power of sin, opened our eyes and turned us from darkness to light. Because of Him, we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. But although we are not of the world, we are still in the world… this present evil world.

It is a world system that is in view in this verse, with its thoughts, opinions, and values which continually press us and attempt to mold us into its image. The world is not content with merely being corrupt. It insists upon actively exerting its corrupting influence upon our lives. Not all at one time, mind you. Little by little, numbing us by increasingly graphic scenes of violence and immorality on the news and in entertainment, the distracting nature of current events, and an endless variety of cares of this world. All of it numbing us and pulling us away from that which is truly important.

The will of God is that we would be free of that influence, however if we continue to immerse ourselves in it, then we will undoubtedly be affected by it. How can we be sensitive to the Spirit of God when our souls have been polluted (and oftentimes entertained) by the corruption of this world?

This verse has been a strong reminder to me today. Maybe it will be helpful to someone else.