Friday, February 20, 2009

The Hard Side of God


Nastia Luiden earned the Olympic All Around Champion designation at the 2008 Olympics. Her journey to that point started when she was two and a half. Her parents were both gymnasts but couldn't afford a baby sitter. So they took her along to the gym. She has been training ever since. We are familiar with the hard choices, hard work, constant sacrifices that it takes to be an Olympic athlete.

Yesterday I had lunch with a dear friend. He said, "God must do a work IN you, before He can do a work THROUGH you. So... how far are you willing to go with God? All the way?"

Immediately the "Sunday School answer" jumped into my mind. "All the way. Of course." But as I reflected on the question, I thought to myself, "Really? All the way? Really?"

What if I had God and nothing else? Would I be OK with that? The man Job was taken there. Abraham lived that way. Paul was very clear in his mind. "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

God has been taking my on a journey these last two years. Ultimately it has to do with calling, and significance. I perhaps have 20 or so good years left. How do I want to spend them? Chasing the dollar? Building into people? Changing the world?

But there is a hard side of God that scares me. It shows throughout the Old Testament. It is very evident in today's passage, of Leviticus 22 and 23.

"God spoke to Moses: "Tell Aaron and his sons to treat the holy offerings that the Israelites consecrate to me with reverence so they won't desecrate my holy name. I am God.
"Tell them, From now on, if any of your descendants approaches in a state of ritual uncleanness the holy offerings that the Israelites consecrate to God, he will be cut off from my presence. I am God." (Leviticus 22:1-3)

There is a serious side to all of this. I compare it to the coach talking to the athlete. Your goal must be the center of your life. Everything else fits it around that goal. Your time, your training, your eating your sleeping - all are driven by the goal to be an Olympic athlete.

God also tells His people to take Him VERY seriously. Listen again...

"Do what I tell you; live what I tell you. I am God.
"Don't desecrate my holy name. I insist on being treated with holy reverence among the People of Israel. I am God who makes you holy and brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am God." (Leviticus 22:31-33)

God must do a work IN you, before He can do a work THROUGH you. So... how far are you willing to go with God?

All the way?

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