I worked in a little town called Cleburne yesterday. Our company has other offices around Texas and this particular one is two hours away.
Yesterday morning I got up at 1am, picked up newspapers for one job I've got and then went home and was able to take a 30 minute nap before heading to our other office.
I finished up at our other office at 5:20pm and wondered if there was any way to make it to church on time. Our church starts at 7:30. I breezed into town at 7:15 and then had to make the 20 minute drive to my church.
I didn't stop for anything. I made a note of my mileage and time for work so I could e-mail them later as to why I didn't clock out when I got back to town that way I wouldn't have to stop to make a stop at the office before heading on to church. I chose to go in the clothes I'd been wearing all day at work because stopping at my house would have taken time.
If I was too late, they might have skipped the song service and just done the teaching. If teaching only takes 30 minutes then if I have to stop and do all this other stuff before heading on, I might have missed it altogether.
You see, I like church. It's generally the only time I see or talk to my church family, and the only time I get to be taught by this particular pastor, about my particular Saviour. I want to learn more, and I can see my obvious growth since I've been at this church. I don't want to miss a thing.
So I went just as I was.
Now let me take you back to several days ago as I listened to another pastor preach to me about reverence and holiness. I know he was preaching to me because he was looking right at me and I was the only other person at the table besides my mom. I learned how we show up to church unprepared, without reverence in our hearts for God. How we'll show up wearing the same clothes we'd worn at work all day - or worse - and not give God the proper respect He deserves by our cleaning up and changing clothes. I learned, from this pastor, that according to God holiness may be an inward condition, but if the evidence of it isn't on the outside then it's obviously not on the inside.
I didn't plan to try and show my lack of holiness so quickly after my personal little sermonette. But it just worked out that way. So I'm wondering about the selfishness involved as I put my hunger for God over His need for the reverence that I failed to show by changing clothes. Which made me wonder something else.
Throughout the bible there are stories of people that offered sacrifices that weren't acceptable. King Uzziah wanted to burn incense, God didn't want him to so He struck Uzziah with leprosy.
Saul went out to war because God told him to. But instead of killing everything like he was instructed to do, he saved some of the animals in order to sacrifice them to God. Sounds good right? God didn't think so.
Ananias and Sapphira wanted to give only a portion rather than the whole and when they lied about it they were killed instantly.
You want to think badly about Ananias and Sapphira but, if you sold all your land and gave all the money to the church except a thousand dollars, you'll probably think you've still done something pretty incredible. God didn't. Not when they lied about it.
Reverencing God, giving Him a place of Holiness in my life has been exhausting. It's a never ending process of change and repentance. I guess that's why I haven't gotten to the outward evidence yet.
There's some sarcasm in this post. I'll admit that right out. But not as much as you'd probably think. In one sense huge portions of this post are sarcastic, and in another sobering sense it's hardly sarcastic at all.
You see, in a way I feel all self-righteous that some people are so worried about the outside that they fail to see that their heart is corrupt. But when I forget about other people and only think about my own life, I see so many ways in which outwardly I can show God's Holiness and the magnitude of it. The respect He deserves and the honor He's due. There are so many things I could do as outward signs since people can't see the inward signs.
Maybe one day I'll graduate to that. To something that goes beyond the fruits of the Spirit, something beyond just loving God and others, maybe to something that might look like legalism but is actually just pure unadulterated love for my perfect Savior.