July 6, 2012

El Roi

The kids and I have started a daily devotional using the book Praying the Names of GOD by Ann Spangler. It is a 26 week study teaching us about the character of GOD as HE reveals HIMSELF through HIS names. This week we studied El Roi...."the GOD who sees me". Hagar gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her "Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, 'YOU are a GOD who sees'; for she said, 'Have I even remained alive here after seeing HIM?'"(Genesis 16:13) Studying this name has really caused me to reflect on the things that are happening in the Christian world and being deemed as acceptable...."healthy" even. I have read many blogs and reviews, posts and comments on the movie "Magic Mike" and the book "50 Shades of Grey". I have read MANY things that hint on the fact that if you say it is wrong or sinful then you are just a "self-righteous mommy who[is]judging others when we are really called to love". That statement has bothered me since the first time I read it. Why? Because it hit too close to home. It is how I have felt so many times when I wanted to justify what I was doing. It is the mindset that the Christian community is beginning to embrace, and it scares me. What if you got a cut on your leg, and the cut got infected? Your leg would get all red, and swollen, and sensitive to the touch. If your friend walks up, pokes the swollen spot and says “Hey, does this hurt? You should get that looked at.” You’d likely recoil and say “OUCH! Don’t touch that, it hurts!” Is the problem the poke, or the infection itself? Is your friend being self-righteous and judging you for your infection? Or were they trying to help you by calling your attention to an unhealthy situation? Many Christians today are not telling their friends to get the infection looked at because they know they have had an infection themselves. Would you do the same with your children? Would you allow them to get sick even if you knew what they could do to avoid it? Would you ignore the things they are doing for fear that they would get mad at you? We are a family.....we should help each other. I get infections, too. And, if for some reason, I don’t realize I have been deceived, I hope that someone would feel called to love me enough to point it out to me. I am not judging anyone on their infection, just pointing out the problem. If we as Christians continue to shrink back and not point out the infection or the unhealthy situations our sisters (and non-sisters) in CHRIST are putting themselves in then we are sinning by not obeying GOD when HE tells us to speak the truth. Yes, Paul tells us in Colossians 3:12-14 "...clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember the LORD forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony." However, you can't take that verse alone and use it as justification for sin. Paul also said (Colossians 3: 2-3), "Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life and your real life is hidden with CHRIST in GOD." Was Paul being self-righteous and judging the people of Colossae when he said (Colossians 3:5, 6), "So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust and evil desires. Because of these sins, the anger of GOD is coming."? No, he was admonishing them, praying for them, and wanting the best for them! The phrase "lurking within you" gets me every time. Studying the name EL ROI has really brought to my attention that GOD doesn't just see me....the physical me. HE sees my heart, my thoughts, my desires...the things lurking within me. I Samuel 16: 7  tells us "for GOD sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." I don't know about you, but this is enough to make me want to keep my heart clean, and I can't do that if I am watching a movie about strippers or reading a novel about sex. I know because, ashamedly enough, I used to read "romance novels", and nothing good came of it. It wasn't until after I was married that I stopped reading them. I felt like I was cheating on my husband....and I was, even if it was with a fictional character. I know how captivating those kind of books can be, and I won't let myself even pick one up because I know how easy it is to be "addicted" to that kind of "romance".  I found ways to justify reading them....anyone can come up with a reason to justify sin, but here's the thing: you don't have to come up with a justification for something that isn't sin. I don't have to justify reading the bible. I don't have to justify watching Pollyanna or some other "old fashioned" movie. If we spent as much time reading the bible, praying, and learning about GOD as we do coming up with justifications for why we sin, then we would be much happier, fulfilled people. I know I fall short in many areas every day, and when I do I pray for GOD to create in me a clean heart. I don't want to be sitting in a theater watching a movie or laying on my couch reading a book that I know is not healthy for me or my relationship with my husband. Psalm 33:13-15 "The LORD looks from heaven; HE sees all the sons of men; From HIS dwelling place HE looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, HE who fashions the hearts of them all, HE who understands all their works." 
The bottom line is this, would we as women and wives be okay with a bunch of men standing around church talking about the latest edition of Playboy? Would we be okay with them talking about the strip club they went to the night before? Would we watch the kids for them while they went out and lusted over other women? I know the answer for me is a profound NO! Then why are we okay with women doing the same thing? Why do we laugh about it and talk about how great it is? It is NOT OK!  I know that I am not going to make many friends, and I may offend some friends that I do have, but I am okay with that. If my touching your infection and telling you to get it looked at saves your leg then it is worth the pain it caused you when I touched it. I would expect nothing less from my friends.


Proverbs 15:3 tells us "The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good." There is no place I can hide from GOD! One of my favorite verses is found in 2 Chronicles 16:9 "For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to HIM." I want to be fully committed to HIM. I want HIM to see my heart and strengthen it.

I want to see GOD.....not Magic Mike. I want to keep my eyes on HIM....not the pages of some novel. I want to shine like the sun and have no reason for shame. Psalm 34:5 "Keep your eyes on the LORD! You will shine like the sun and never blush with shame." Oh, I want this to be me!


Mike said...

I’ve been thinking about this post and our conversation for a few days now to make sure that what I write is not emotionally fueled. First of all, let me say you’re spot on with the issues you are addressing – namely cowardliness in the church, acceptance of sin, and minimizing and/or redefining God’s love.
Let’s illuminate your example of how Christians say you can’t tell me I have a stick in my eye when you have a log in your own. #1 I can see the stick in your eye BECAUSE I have a log in mine. If we equate that to the infection example, I can tell you have an infection because I do too, or at least I DID until God healed me from it. #2 A righteous Christian is not condemning you for having a stick your eye. They are pointing it out because they know how much it hurts AND because they’ve experienced God’s love and forgiveness, plus His help in removing their own log. The righteous Christian is trying to help you get reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. The so-called self-righteous Christian or even pagan is trying to condemn you to make themselves look better. The second problem is that most of the time the righteous Christian has been forgiven for the log in their eye, but the other person does not want to accept that once God forgives He also removes that sin as far as the East is from the West and remembers it no more. They want to remember you in an unforgiven state because they find it so hard to believe in a God that forgives because of who He is, rather than for what they did to earn such. Note: Gifts always speak about the Giver, not about the receiver. Does the Giver give what they want you to have, or what you want/need?
However, that being said, many times a truly righteous Believer is trying to help a person reconcile with God, but that person is either not a true Believer or a very immature one who demands to remain so. It’s very hard to tell the difference between the two. Both refuse to give up right to self, which is what God demands…….for us to give up right to self. When Jesus said true love is being willing to lay down one’s life for another He was not talking about dying for someone, but about living for them…….living for THEM, not for self. Laying down my right to myself and giving that right to them. Namely to Jesus – giving Him the right and permission to use me any way He sees fit.
So the pagan or immature Believer who refuses to give up right to self and walk humbly with their God want to live their life without any interference or conviction they are not who God intended them to be. And when confronted with this reality become hostile, judgmental, and defensive. It doesn’t matter how long someone has claimed to be a Believer. Time in salvation does not equate to time in true godly relationship. I’ve seen older supposedly more mature Christians who loudly proclaimed their knowledge but didn’t know Jacob and Esau were twins. They didn’t know God divorced Israel when they were condemning someone for divorce. They didn’t know the Christian life is about relationship, not about performance. That God loves us in spite of who we are, not that we have to earn His love. So, just because they claim time in salvation doesn’t mean they are actually as mature as God desires them to be by this time. It does not equate to acting in justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with their God. They are acting in self righteousness, self justice, and self satisfaction……i.e. total selfishness. What I want is okay with me, even if it’s not okay with God. He and I have an understanding.

Mike said...

Part 2 - HOWEVER, they have not read Isaiah 66:4 where God proclaims that He will decide the punishment for those who refuse to give up right to self and have followed their own desires instead of His. People always make the mistake of thinking they can deal with God in this way……………..”I will go the way I choose to go and I’m willing to accept as the payment for my choice.” And they fill the blank in with whatever punishment they can take…..one of their choosing. BUT God says He will choose the punishment. I’ve seen this for over 50 years………………God’s payment for your sin is NEVER what you bargained for. It ALWAYS costs more. And then we’re left angry because God didn’t honor OUR agreement for our sin tour.
So many times in the past I’ve heard people brag about how well they know God, but have done such bragging because they’ve really never gone through a “Job” test. They’ve never lost it all and so their faith is based upon how good life is. I’ve also see folks who’ve lost it all and will now tell you they only thought they knew Him when things were good. Now, they don’t really have a clue who He is and that’s good thing. God should be a mystery and act in mysterious ways. Otherwise, we tend to put Him in a box and mold him in our image thinking He’s obligated to answer our prayers they way we say they should be answered. Very dangerous position to have.
In summary: Keep addressing cowardliness in the Church whereby we accept sin as something less. We need to call our sin for what it is. It is NOT an illness or a mental lapse or any other politically correct term. It is a refusal to bow our knee to the LORD Jesus Christ……i.e., outright rebellion to Almighty God. And the payment for that will be much higher than you ever imagined it could be. We also need to define God’s love for what it is and sometimes……maybe even most of the time…….that does not gel with the world’s definition of love.
Two great books on the subject of God’s love are The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God and Love in Hard Places – both by D. A. Carson, one of the great theologians of our time.
One last thing Dear Daughter…………….any comments on anything you write should be viewed in relation to how well they glorify Jesus. Does the comment defend a sinful position/person or does it glorify Jesus? Is it intended to condemn or to reconcile? Keep acting justly, loving kindness, and walking humbly with your God.