Useless Fire

December 31, 2008

Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed. (Exodus 22:20)

Not merely punished, let go with a slap on the wrist, a little blot on your permanent record, but DESTROYED. This is a little frightening.

Not that we should repent just because we’re afraid of the wrath of God. I mean, his wrath is to be feared, no doubt. But what I want to be more aware of is the absoluteness of God. There is no room for shades of gray with God. He is holy, righteous, worthy, always, and he loves us, always. Which means he wants us to be holy and righteous for him, always. Not just when we feel like it, not just when it’s easy. Always, he is better. Always, we need to learn to choose him more. He doesn’t want just part of our hearts or part of our lives, he doesn’t want our defiled offerings (Malachi 1). He is holy, and we are to be wholly his.

More and more I realize how far I am from truly reflecting this in my life. Now since I’ve been at home I’ve been listening to a lot of old-school mainstream Christian songs because 104.7 The Fish is usually all my brother lets us listen to in the car. The other day I heard “More Precious Than Silver.” But I’m gonna be honest, in taking the song perhaps too literally, I thought to myself, I don’t really care much for silver and gold and diamonds. Then I started replacing those words with more relevant things.

Lord, you’re better than money…and all the pretty things money can buy.

Lord, you’re better than good grades (SSOL continues to ruin my day every morning by slowly but surely posting this semester’s grades…).

Lord, you’re better than…wait for it…boys.

Lord, you’re better than any other frivolity the world throws my way. Or I, despite knowing better, throw myself into.

Really, this list can go on and on. A record of false gods and proof of idols in my life and hard evidence of just how much more I need to rely on his strength all the more in light of my weakness. This is what would happen if you were to list all the things in my life that I place worth upon, and then if you went through that list I fear you would find so many things that aren’t the holiness and righteousness of God. So many things that aren’t, simply, Jesus.  And the thing is, I don’t want to just barely escape the flames, much less be completely destroyed by them. Everyday I want to choose Jesus more and renew my covenant with my God.

There was another song playing on the way to church this past Sunday, “Above All.” Above all kingdoms, above all thrones, above all wonders the world has ever known. Above all things God, you are worthy. And nothing that I desire compares with you.

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