Coming Clean Pt. 3

Coming Clean Pt. 3

What does it mean to walk in holiness and not be Pharisaical in the process? It must be possible because The Lord has commanded it of us. There is an interesting passage in Luke 11:34-36. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.

There are two parts of this which stand out to me. First, “See to it.” This is a clear directive about something we are to do, an action we are responsible for. It is not sufficient to pray that God do it. “See to it!” means it is something which demands our attention. Clearly His objective is that we should each be full of light. Light carriers, light bearers, light shiners. But getting there is something we must tend to.

Second, we usually read “If your whole body is full of light, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.” But wait. There is that little phrase between commas which is usually not noticed: “and no part of it dark.”

This means that part of our being can have light within, but there may be places still in darkness, where the light does not shine. It is as if I invite you into my great room, even the guest bedroom and bath – just don’t go down the hall to the laundry. There may be dragons and beasties in there. Yet that is the very place where Jesus wants us to “see to it.” Jesus wants access with His light to the whole house.

We have to have healthy eyes in order to “See to it,” for when they are unhealthy our whole body will be full of darkness. To have healthy eyes means being willing and able to recognize that which defiles us and keeps us unclean. Perhaps this is why the Lord says “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness, and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Rev.3:18 In every part of this verse reliance on the Holy Spirit is essential; to become like gold, and to receive a robe of righteousness, and finally to see ourselves clearly are all a part of his work in us. We are never self-made men in the kingdom. At the same time, our desire, cooperation and obedience are necessary to see any change come about in us.

Coming Clean Pt.2

Coming Clean Pt.2

One of the directives or topics in Scripture that is often overlooked, or skipped as not relevant is holiness. Over time, and with misuse it has become almost tainted. “Holier than thou!” is a pejorative phrase no one wants to hear. It reeks of superiority and pride. The Holiness Movement, which began as an earnest attempt to apply the principles of the Word, soon devolved into outward actions to keep up appearances. In that, it became identified with the Pharisees of old. One could be make-up free, with hair in a bun, but still have unresolved anger and bitterness within. Broken relationships? Well, surely the Lord would understand since they hurt me so! Go apologize to someone on the other side of the church? What? They should be coming over here to me! As Jesus remarked, one could wash the outside of the dish, but it still be filled with all kinds of uncleanness.

We do not fully grasp how much the bitterness and unforgiveness we harbor contaminate our whole being and keep us from true holiness. Rancor and the eventual hatred to which it leads are serious soul defilers, making us unclean like the lepers of old.

We like to proclaim that the work of Jesus on the cross has taken care of all our sin. That is a real feel-good statement. What we choose to ignore often is that our current defilements do two things: they interrupt our fellowship with Father, and the uncleanness darkens a part of our being so that His light does not shine there.

Coming Clean

Coming Clean

Children bouncing up and down on a teeter totter picture well the differing expressions of those who live the Christian life.

On the upside of the teeter totter are those who proclaim the “Come to Jesus and get saved so you can go to heaven” belief. To them, a ticket to eternal heavenly bliss is all that matters. In the meanwhile, let’s just live the way we used to, partying it up and following the self-centered desires of our hearts. We are “In,” so it doesn’t matter if we wear our neckline low and hemline high. Everyone else is forgetting those prudish, Victorian beliefs of staying apart until marriage. What nonsense! What difference does it make if we sleep with someone first? Really, now. How old-fashioned!

On the downside of that teeter totter are the persons who believe that being a Christian means religiously following the established regulations and moral code, of doing “right,” whatever their particular congregation espouses as right behavior. Nothing is as insufferable as the uptight, prudish Christian with his long nose in everyone’s business, while telling us of all the laws and rules we must now follow. His family is “perfect,” his children well behaved. He knows the ways things should be done in the church, the home, the nation.

Yet, he knows nothing of the freedom of spirit, the joy of full acceptance. “This is the way; walk ye in it,” is his byword. He may have at one time known and experienced the love of God, but following the rule book grew into a serious pursuit until it became all he knows. The proper outward actions became synonymous with the central truth of the faith – and was sufficient for life.

In between the rather joy-less rule follower and the hedonist on the other end of the balancing board are the ones sitting in the middle: persons who proclaim “Freedom! We have been forgiven of all our sin guilt so now we are free. Therefore, relax.” They try to avoid both extremes as they begin to learn more through Bible Study and church attendance. They will enjoy the ball games, an occasional glass of wine and take in a concert on occasion even if it means wearing ear plugs. They clean up their act a bit. The swearing goes and those who have lived together find their way to the altar. They begin to pick up some of the rules, seeing them in a new light, but reject some others which do not fit their interpretation of Freedom!

None of the three can understand why his witness has been unsuccessful. He certainly can see why the other two groups do not represent the faith well, but his own inability puzzles him. Something is wrong here, yes.

Part 1