To continue the personal purity thought some more; I was thinking this morning, as I lay in bed knowing it was time to get up, that often I compare my own personal purity, or lack of is a more accurate view, I am quick to compare myself with others. This is also a dangerous place to be.
There will always be someone that is potentially falling more short than we are, but this is not the attitude that God wants us to have. My desire should be to live as pure a life as I possibly can and with the aid of the Holy Spirit scrutinize every speck of action, motive, speech and attitude through the lens of God's Word. I must be praying that the Holy Spirit would convict me of my sin so that tomorrow I would be holier than I am today.
This is such a frustrating place to be because I know my own sinfulness and I know that tomorrow I will potentially fall in the same areas as I did today and yesterday. God requires that we be holy, which is an impossible requirement for us. How can I be holy in my entire life when I can't even master the sin in one small area of my life? The frustrating and yet real answer is that I can't and that is why I so desperately need Christ.
So passages like 1 1Peter 3:8-12 become both more frustrating and more exciting. 8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For
"Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."
I am not naturally drawn to unity or to being sympathetic. Brotherly love is not the normal vein of my wicked heart. To be tender and humble is not how most people would quickly describe me and yet this is what God is telling me to do. My first instinct is TO repay evil for evil and TO revile when someone reviles me. My lips and my tongue are quick to speak evil and deceit and it is not my normal tendency to seek peace and to then pursue it.
This is just a few verses in a small chapter and yet I can't even get this right, how does God expect me to be holy in all He tells me to do? The encouraging part of this is that when, for even a brief second, I get part of this right, it is so unnatural for me to do any of this that I know the Holy Spirit working and He has given some measure of victory, even if it is tiny. Only through His power.
Look what He promises to do for those who live this way; His eyes are on the righteous and His ears hear their prayer. I want God to be on my side. I can't afford to have against me, which is where He will be if I do evil.
Ps. 24 gives the answer again of who is able to stand in the presence of this Holy God. Notice that there is no comparison to others here. The possibility of standing before God is based on our own personal purity; not the difference between mine and my neighbor's.
3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.
I want so much to be blessed by God, and He has given much more than I deserve already, but I don't want to be the reason that God withholds His blessing from others around me and the only way that this can be ensured is my own personal purity. Trust me, I feel the weight. Much too great of a weight for me to carry on my own.
May the Father look at me and see me clothed in the robe of Christ's righteousness only. May He see a child who desires to be more holy today than I was yesterday. May He be delighted to bring me to a place of more purity each day and in turn be a more pleasing sacrifice to Him. I am so inadequate for the task and yet He knows my faults and yet still loves me. There is the example we are to follow in every way. May we be conformed into His image more each day.
Here is how amazing God is. I JUST finished writing this post and I opened up my Morning and Evening entry for today and this is what is written for THIS morning. Don't tell me that God is not kind!
"Behold, I am vile."
"Here is an encouraging word for you, poor lost sinner! You think you can not come to God because you are vile, but know this-- there isn't a saint living on earth who has not felt the same way. If Job, and Isaiah, and Paul were all compelled to say, "I am vile," will you be ashamed to make the same confession? If God's grace does not clear the sin from your life, how else do you plan to get rid of it? If God loves His people while they are still vile sinners, do you think that your vileness will keep Him from loving you?
Jesus is calling you in your vile condition, so trust Him today. Right now say to Him, "Lord Jesus, you have died for sinners; I am a sinner; sprinkle your blood on me." I tell you that if you will confess your sin you will find pardon. If you, with all your heart, will say, "I am vile, wash me," then, you will be washed now. Even though you woke up this morning with all kinds of sins on your account, you will come away from this reading with your debts forgiven, and you can rest tonight accepted by God in Christ. The rags of your sin will be exchanged for a robe of Christ's righteousness, and you will appear as white as the angels.
Listen! Don't delay! Now is the right time. Trust Jesus to make you clean, and you will be saved. Oh! May the Holy Spirit give you faith in the One who makes even the filthiest sinner clean."
God's timing alone has to make you shake your head. I did not read any of this before I posted and yet how could God bring these words to me this morning? WOW- He is good.