Monday, January 19, 2009

100 Percent

This is an account of my efforts to put into action what I learn while reading the Bible, an account of my journey to become closer to God.

I’ve read through Numbers and am now a few pages into Deuteronomy. I have to say I’m glad to be beyond Leviticus and Numbers; they were laborious reads and filled with laws, death and destruction, yet both books are quite essential to the overall message.

What is the message? Let’s see – the Israelites were promised a land of their own overflowing with milk and honey. They were set free from Egyptian oppression, provided for during their excursion through the desert toward Canaan, forgiveness was extended to them a number of times, and then when they were on the brink of entering their land, they balked! Their faith was weak and they turned away from God’s plan.

In my view at least, Leviticus and Numbers serve to tell us that you must have strong, steadfast faith in God in order to realize his blessings and rewards. You cannot be lukewarm about God or on the fence (as I’ve been for years) in your commitment to Him and yet expect that you will enter the Kingdom of Heaven (I think Canaan represents Heaven; those of little faith and who didn’t believe died in the desert without ever setting foot in the Promised Land).

Let me make it simple: God wants your 100% commitment, not your 99% commitment. Yes, He is gracious and merciful, but you must give all of yourself to him in order to be with Him. Anything less than 100% fidelity is unfaithful, isn’t it? In other words, simpler still, you can’t be married to God and cheat with the Devil at the same.

This has been a painful reckoning for me because I have played that game with myself where I separated my mind from my conduct. I told myself if I believed I was covered no matter what acts I committed, be it cursing, indulgence, lust and most other forms of debauchery. I didn’t understand until I began this Faith Journey how insulting to God my old delusion really might have been. How can I, anyone, be a believer and not be motivated to live according to God’s desires? To not be motivated is to not believe with your whole heart, I now think.

Yes, we all fail to live up to God’s expectations but that is not the same as turning away from Him. The former we will always do because we have fallen from perfection since our expulsion from The Garden of Eden, but the latter is a willful act to separate ourselves from Him. The former can be forgiven; the latter cannot.

If you could see me now you would be watching me shake my head in disbelief. Sometimes I can’t believe I’m writing this stuff! If any of my old acquaintances and even some of my family are reading this they are probably, with abundant sarcasm, saying “Preach to me Brother!” That would be the very reason I would have kept my faith a secret in the past and instead acted like a pagan along with them. I was willing to trade my life for a little fun.

I understand now I am called to be different from the people around me who do not have a relationship with God; how could I otherwise be a faithful representative of God? I also believe I cannot be different by moving away from them. If I did, how could I inspire them to find what I have found?

In Matthew 7:8 we read: “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

I’m so glad I finally knocked. I hope my new joy will stir the curiosity in others around me so that I might tell them of the rewards of Living the Word.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog, and please pray for me and my family. Now go out and hug somebody!

1 comment:

Ginny said...

Reading the Bible is unlike reading anything else. The Word is life giving and life changing. Just keep shaking your head and reading and writing and LIVING!