What Child is This?

 “Say this to the entire community of Israel: You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.”  Leviticus 19:2

 I received a great piece of advice once, regarding dealings with difficult individuals: Try to view them as tiny infant versions of themselves.  The concept definitely made sense – I don’t expect infants to carry on a conversation with me, respond to logic or run a marathon with me.  I have realistic expectations for an infant and I own the responsibility of training that baby.  I don’t get angry with a baby for crying; I find ways to meet his/her needs while modeling other ways of communication like sign language and verbalizing simple words.
This all sounded great until the moment I realized that sometimes I am the difficult individual.
Now the over-reactive-thought-train has left the station.  I don’t want people to think of me as a baby.  I am DEFINITELY not a baby.  I can’t say that out loud, though, because then I just sound like my three year old when he’s acting like a baby.  I will just never be difficult.  Yes.  Starting right now, I will never be difficult to anyone, anywhere, for any reason. 
I have no idea how to do that.
So, as I consider my predicament, I realize the strong correlation between myself and this odd book of Leviticus I have been wrestling with.  The whole book is God dealing with difficult people!  He gently instructs his people on the gap [called sin] between him and them and models how there can still be an intimacy between God and man despite this gap.
“Say this to the entire community of Israel: You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy”  (Leviticus 19:2)

I cannot have a relationship with a Holy God without first being Holy myself – something I cannot even mentally comprehend without His help.  In the wilderness, God created this guide to allow his people to be holy through ways of holy sacrifice.  That is why God sent His son.  To model this perfect life I strive for, to be all that I fail at daily and, after all that, die the death we [not he] deserve, and rise from that death, victorious.  All of this points to the truth, that is: I am a baby.  Here is how God deals with me, a difficult individual:

“He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.”  (1 Peter 2:24)

Unfortunately, many times I gloss over the miracle that this truth is.  I get arrogant and, like my three year old, I find myself shouting I’m not a baby!  I already KNOW THIS!  In that moment, I am at my most immature.  This miracle of salvation is the cornerstone of my life – temporary AND eternal.  How on Earth [and Heaven] could I expect to master anything else if I cannot, daily, marvel at the cost I come at.  I understand that my Mother went through such physical pain to give birth to me and I never cease to be in awe of that.  I can understand that my Father went through mental and emotional strain to work his whole life to raise me and I never stop trying to honor that in my daily existence.  What do I understand about my Heavenly Father’s Love?

Challenge: How can I acknowledge daily, in thankfulness, that I am a saved CHILD of God?  How can I, today, admit my “difficult nature” and meditate on His perfect sacrifice?

Lord, I am such a child.  I love to pretend that I understand life but the amount I truly get is so small compared to what you have to teach me.  Please forgive me for all the times I get in the way of you and your loving instruction.  I want to see life through your eyes and love with your ways.  Thank you for your perfect love and sacrifice.  Amen.

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About messyworship

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I believe that you can bump into God outside of a Sunday morning church service. That is what Messy Worship is: a written meditation with an authentic, transparent take on the Bible's application to today's world. This is where I challenge myself to blurr the line between "life" and "worship" so much that the line disappears a little more each day. I hope, by sharing what I learn, the idea of a seamless life of worship becomes contagious.

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    Hey Emily, Nice…… You reminded me of the good news of Hebrews 10: 10: “We have been made holy thru the sacrifce of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Amen, hey? At the same time Hebrews 12:14 says “Make every effort to live in peace with all people and to be holy;without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Ok, what’s that all about? A contradiction? No, the first is saying, in effect, It cost you absolutely nothing to be a Christian. That was by grace alone -all the way. In Christ alone we look great – holy. At the same time we are told to BE holy. In other words, it will cost us ourselves, daily, with effort, to love God and our big/little neighbor. Peace and struggle! That’s you, Emily! But that’s a real Christian! God bless you in your messed up, God-pleasing, worship. I join you! With tears of peace and stress I join you!

    Pastor Tom / Reply
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    You speak of vulnerability, and there’s an inner cringe there. But Emily, as Pastor Tom said, this makes you a “real Christian.” God already knows our inner turmoil, and we bring ourselves closer together with our brothers and sisters when we make known in a healthy way the struggle and striving towards holiness that God encourages us all to live out each day. That example, more than just pious words, is what encourages our siblings in God’s family to live a life of worship – because we know that each other is real. You are truly seeking; you are willing to be broken open and mended back together – and God will embrace that and heal you with growth! A man I highly respect says “You either hate changing enough to lose, or you hate losing enough to change.” You are a great example of someone who’s very rarely content with sitting put in her spiritual growth – instead you seek growth because you hate “losing” (i.e. staying farther away from your savior). I praise God for your example!

    Jeff Ulrich / Reply

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