Friday, February 26, 2010

Holiness, Holey-ness

"The majority of us may be one step ahead of the world when it comes to purity, spiritual disciplines, knowledge of the scripture, and understanding the problems. But what if being one step ahead of the world is ten thousand steps behind where God desires to take us?"
-Eric and Leslie Ludy

Each time I reread those words something deep inside me groans and longs for more of the Lord! I don't want to stay where I am, I don't want to merely be "a step ahead," I want to be traversing on a path that brings me many steps closer and near my God!

I want holiness, I long for purity, I desire to be like Christ in everything. I want all that I am to be all that He has for me, because of all that He has done.

But I find a deep struggle in me. I can't quite figure it out, but it troubles me so. There is the battle of striving for holiness and throwing aside the ways of the selfish sinful man... and then seeing myself next to others.

What do I mean? When Holy Spirit lays a conviction on my life, I must follow it. When God reveals to me a way to live, I must live it. When Christ redeems me from selfish indulgences, I must run from it. But in the midst of all this changing, cultivating, and molding... I fall into the wickedness of comparing. But it doesn't start out as comparing... it starts out as I am utterly shocked and repulsed by any unholiness or even simply worldliness that is borderline impure. I cannot stand it. I hate it. I hate the things that are vulgar and vile in light of Christ's glory. I simply despise it and want to weep at the mere shame of it... to be in close vicinity of it wears down on my soul.

I want to run from it! But what happens when it is prevalent in my brothers and sisters in Christ?! Am I to rebuke and correct?-which might then makes me look holier than thou, or do I stop associating with them, or do I simply ignore it?

If I rebuke or correct, there is the problem of legalism, looking at the plank in my own eye, or being judgmental, and even someone assuming I'm trying to look better.

If I stop hanging around them, this makes questions arise and may make things uncomfortable, esp if I run into them everyyywhere.

If I ignore it I'm failing to live in holiness by being in the midst of unholiness and not caring, I am then unholy for not keeping the sacred things sacred.

I must be led of the Holy Spirit. Obviously the latter should never apply. But to know when to speak out, speak up, and be bold, or be gentle, whatever the situation calls for.

So I see it, I sense it, I am oppressed by it. Here I am running the race leaving behind the world, when I see others caught up in the world. A deep anguish settles in on me, I am longing for holiness, and in my brothers and sisters I see holey-ness. They have the same inheritance as me, the same grace, same blood shed, the same call to holiness, yet they carve a hole deep in them... the world is creating a vacuum sucking the very life out of them, covering promises of the Lord... they could have holiness and have sweeter intimacy with our dear Savior, yet they choose holey-ness, emptiness, and worldliness, instead of holiness and godliness.

Oh I want to weep! Why? How can you be a child of God, redeemed, yet living in the fallen world partaking in its pleasures?!

So I struggle. I am no better than they are. I am a broken and needy person... one who is only of any worth or value because Christ has saved me! But I long to live in holiness, I strive for it, I take out and forsake the passing pleasures of the world to dive into the deep, rich, and glorious pleasure of knowing God and making Him known!!

Oh that I would stay as far away from the pharasaic attitude and lie thinking I am better because of what I do!-it is not because of what I do that makes God love me, no!!!!-rather it is because of God's love that makes me do what I do!

And so I pray, Oh God! Dearest One of my being, keep me humble, or MAKE me humble! For what else can I pray? I hate all things impure and ungodly. I must hate what God hates. For His very Spirit is dwelling in me, and that which revolts Him, must revolt me... because He has given me not only His Spirit, but a completely radically new nature, His goodness, His holiness!! And when I start to think I'm pretty good for walking in holiness, I fall into unholiness! It is but by a humble and meek heart I can even keep on this path.

And when I am not humble, when I start to think too highly of myself, or anything... I pray for the Lord to humble me, even if it is by a means of humiliation... because I would rather that than live in pride... to be utterly humiliated terrifies me! I don't want to be torn down, but I pray for it because I long for God more than I do my own self worth. And I know He will fulfill my prayer when it needs to be... so I carefully and prayerfully examine my life and heart, asking the Lord to keep me in His ways! For that is the best way.

So what starts out as absolute brokenness seeing the unholiness people walk in, can easily turn to comparing. I can start to think, "Hey I'm doing pretty good!" Or even "At least I'm not as bad as her!" No!! I do not want this mentality. I do not want to compare holiness, no no no. I simply see my own heart as it is, long for holiness, be repulsed by unholiness... and live in awe and fear of my God.

And sometimes it's hard. I see how the Lord is beckoning me, He's calling me to travel the dusty old path, the path that is not much walked upon. Yet how can I refuse? When God draws me in I am hopelessly lost in His love and cannot fathom turning away from Him for the sake of mere turning. Psalm 42:7 "Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me" Deep is calling to deep, I just want Him to sweep over my life! He is calling me to deeper intimacy with Him, something richer, something simpler, something more beautiful and life giving than I could ever imagine!!! I long for this! And I am a thousand steps behind where He wants me, so I'll take the first steps of faith continually to draw near my Father's love. I want more, more, more! Oh how I long to adore him! To honor Him!

So everything in me is compelled to live holy because He is holy. Every fiber of my being yearns for holiness because I long for more of Christ, to be more like Him, to be caught up in His grace, to rest in His loving embrace.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

"The man who gazes upon and contemplates day by day the face of the Lord Jesus Christ, and who has caught the glow of the reality that the Lord is not a theory but an indwelling power and force in his life, is as a mirror reflecting the glory of God." -Alan Redpath

I am humbled and so incredibly grateful for the love and goodness of Christ! It astounds me in the most intense ways the depth of His love for me, and the fact that He has drawn me ever closer to Him! He IS an indwelling power and force in my life, in ways I never ever thought would be possible the early years of highschool. He has transformed me in ways that it blows my mind!

And yet?-This is nothing. This is but an infinitesimal glimpse of what's to come. If I am but willing, and oh... oh my, the depth of my willingness is there... I WANT Him and cannot get enough of Him! I am constantly amazed at this journey of His heart and mine drawing near in intimacy. The beauty of who He is and what He does creates a stir in my heart, mind, and soul like nothing else can or ever will. And yet?-this is but the beginning. Each day I wake up and it's a new day to live for Him, love like Him, reach others and have the ministry of reconciling others to Him!

But how can I reconcile them unless I am gazing and contemplating who He is? How can I share Him unless He is a reality in my life?

So I cry out to Him- Father move me, move through me, apart from You I am nothing, but in You I am so much more than I could ever hope to be! I want to know Him and I want others to know Him. And not just have a head knowledge, or have some faith and goodness where life's a little more positive, no! No no no, I want everyone to have the deepest close knit relationship with God, to be reconciled to His love, to be absolutely devoted and sold out to Him!

But, there are moment in which I see myself, who am I in Christ? Who do people see when they see me? It's not like opinions matter, I could care less if my personality, or face, or whatever someone doesn't like... but who do people see me as IN Christ? This I wonder. I wake up and absolutely love reading His word and spending time with Him... yet I know there is SO much for me to learn! I love learning about Him. It is such a sweet and tender thing, yet such an awe-inspiring powerful and mighty thing-Him and His word.

Yet I struggle. Not about what people see me as, because I can't control that. I can only imitate Christ and leave it like that. But I long so passionately to KNOW His word, to know His truth, to know about Him! I know lot's of bible stories and I know lot's about the word, after all I grew up in a Christian home. Yet I have such a hunger for His word... that I look at it all with new eyes, with a heart that yearns for Him... and I realize there is SO so so much I do not know! And I want to know it!

Yet sometimes I'm terrified of people seeing me and thinking I don't know a lot. So I want to build up this safe bubble of thought where people just know I know lot's from the word. But I don't know everything. I want to learn, people can teach me. So it's one of those listening and being humble and realizing... hey they may know better than me! Especially in church, I've heard thousands of sermons preached on a lot of the same topics... but as I listen I want to hear God speak through them, to learn new and beautiful truths EACH time. I used to be self conscience about writing notes during "cliche" sermons where christians think they know that message and don't need it... but we do! And I could care less, so what if they think I'm a baby christian who is so in awe of each and every word spoken! I AM in awe of hearing the truth spoken! I get so excited hearing about God, talking about God, and anything about God! There is a passion in my heart and I can't help but soak up every little word of truth spoken about my beautiful Lord!

I want to know Him. I don't know everything, no one does! So the self side says, yeah I know a lot about God... and the spirit in me being led by the Holy Spirit says I can never ever know enough about Him!

So I tell the self man in me to shut up! You've got no authority in my life(: Christ does! I'll sing praises to my God and worship in in song and with my life... with my words and with my actions. And even more, I want to know the truth so I can share the truth. I want to know more, because my heart longs for Him more.

Because yeah, in highschool I wanted to make sure no one saw the struggling christian in me, because everyone held me up on a high pedestal and regarded me as the good christian. But I am not good! God is good, He is all the good that is inside of me! And now, it's ok if people see I'm not perfect, because I'm not.

In the end, I want more of God in every single way. I am so excited each and every moment I hear other people talk about Him!!! Because I WANT TO KNOW!!! I want to grow!

I just love Him so much!(:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Knowing about vs Knowing

I am convinced of two things. One, I am not who I was. And Two, I'll never stop growing and tomorrow I'll be changed, tomorrow I won't be who I am today.

In me there is a great stirring of my inner man, all that is within me longs for my holy and precious Savior. I am not content to know about Him, but rather my entire being longs and must know Him in an intimate and personal way or else I'll waste away in despair. I need Him. I need to know Him. My purpose, my longing, my desire is Him, to know Him, to have every loose end tied up by Him and in Him.

This burning in my heart engulfs all that I am and reaches the deepest parts of me. God! I cannot help but cry out, Abba Father!-fill me with Your presence!-Your wisdom!-Your truth!-with You!

And I am convinced of yet another thing, I have wasted so many years knowing about Him; I could have been spending my life simply knowing Him, yet in the past I haven't.

I have always had this genuine heartfelt love for Him, to say otherwise would be absurd. And yet, there was always something there, something wrong. Something called self. Something called blindness. Something that Satan has been succeeding at, keeping me just preoccupied enough with knowing about God, doing enough for God, and living a good enough life to be on the outskirts but not too radically different.

Oh! My heart and soul can hardly stand to look at the former years! I cannot thank God enough for the past 2 years and how He has begun to cultivate me for His glory.

Too long did I live the regular "christian" life. Too long was I fine with the half empty life I was living. Too long was I ok and learning just enough to keep me from straying.

I am not fine with simply knowing about God, my spirit yearns for His Spirit, to know Him intimately and deeply. I am not ok with doing things for God, rather I want Him to move through me and use me for His glory, to be poured out as a living sacrifice for His works, to showcase who He is, what He can do with someone who has been broken and made new in Christ, to do His will! I am not content to live a good moral life, my desire is to be holy and blameless in a crooked and perverse generation, to be perfect as my heavenly Father is perfect, to live as Christ has commanded... to turn the world upside down with my life! I do not for one second want to blend in with the world, I am a stranger passing through this land, my home is not here on earth but rather Christ is preparing a place for me in eternal glory where I can worship the most beautiful and awe-inspiring God of all for eternity!

And this. Every fiber of my being is hungry for His word. For prayer. For all that is of Him. I want to know and discern truth. I want to study the word on my own, with other people, to learn and grow every chance that is presented to me. To memorize scripture so that I can dwell on it moments I cannot physically read my bible, or even to share in moments when the Spirit leads me to-I don't want to strain to remember that verse or passage I KNOW I've read... I want it to be immediatly on my lips, ready to impart God's truth to any listener, friend, or person. I want truth. I want real truth, His truth, not man's interpretation of truth.

Yes, christian books are good to be sure. But my heart first and foremost is hungry for the meat of the bible, then perhaps as a nice topping or gravy I can read man's words on God's greatness.

I just want Him!

And then aside from that and rather because of that... I wish so earnestly to be a lady who exudes God's goodness, Spirit, and holiness. I wish, in the humblest way, to be one of those persons that after someone has talked with me walks away thinking, "That Leah, her heart is so enraptured with God. She is like Christ, she is a follower of Him." I want to be genuine. To be a light that shines so brightly that no one will ever mistake who I am living for. I want to be that person that after people talk to me... they walk away longing for more of Christ. I want to be that person. I don't want to have my name as my name... I want Christ to be on peoples lips as they walk away from me. I don't want it to be, wow Leah is so___, no, I want it to be wow God is so incredibly magnificent!

More than anything I want people to know I am different because of my love for God. Not just because of my words, my actions, or what I spend my time doing (all which are very important!)... but because of an unexplainable mystery that illimunates from my inner being. The mystery of Christ's love for me, and my love for Him.

Try try try. I could try and explain my thoughts all night. But the words I have said are all I can say. In the end all I can say is, Hallelujah Jesus is mine, and I am His!

P.s. Jeremiah 33:3 "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." This has been a prayer of mine I've held fast to. It never ceases to amaze me just how true this is! And it won't ever stop. What a beautiful thought!