Skip to main content

More than religious practice

Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live! Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper, just as you have claimed. Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice. Perhaps even yet the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will have mercy on the remnant of his people. (Amos 5:14-15 NLT)
Love good and hate evil - two seemingly "easy" things, right? Yet, do you realize what conflict these two commands actually bring into our lives? The desire to do good is there, but the actual ability to "do" good is based upon more than a desire to do it. We must act upon desire - which means we act even when the desire is kind of masked by our other feelings of desiring to actually make someone else hurt as much as we might be hurting right now. Running from evil is easy when we recognize it - but we all know there are times when we don't realize a particular course of action as "evil" in nature. It is possible for people to "cover over" their evil intent and desire simply by doing some good stuff now and again, isn't it? We must become proficient "readers" of character - this is the only way we can keep ourselves from running toward evil and turning from what is good to what may actually be quite destructive in the end, isn't it?  We aren't fooling God - only others - whenever when we try to mask over some intent which isn't quite as it should be.
We can become quite complacent - almost as though we just expect God to bless our lives - simply because we call ourselves Christian. We have seen this in our own nations, friends. Many report they are "Christian" on census forms each time it is administered, yet they live as they want, not really following after the principles Christ modeled. It is a truly foolish thing to think we can drift into a place of complacency or compromise and still expect God to bless us again and again. At some point, he will allow the things we have been turned toward to have their way with us. We rarely see the decline in our subtle compromises until God allows us to do as we so evidently please. Then, all "hell" breaks loose in our lives and we find ourselves crying out to God for mercy and grace.
It isn't religious practice that makes us righteous - in right-standing with God. It is relationship sought after with passionate pursuit that brings us into a place of solid footing and grounded in goodness. We may think it is find to "dabble" in the things declared by God to be evil or "off-limits" for a believer. Yet, when we do, we find ourselves moving toward a deep pit, not the elevated places of grace and goodness. God doesn't just want justice for our lives, he wants us to pursue it with all our heart. Justice isn't something for the weak of heart because it means we often have to take a stand against evil and injustice - first in our own lives, then in the lives of those we walk this earth alongside. When we stop to consider what "justice" demanded as a payment for the penalty of our sin, the cost was astronomical because it was the life of Jesus. The cost we pay for justice in our own lives is obedience. Obedience is what helps us flee from evil and move consistently toward what is just and right in this world. We may not immediately recognize evil, but the more we are turned toward what is good and right, the less likely we will be to embrace what will bring us harm. Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce