Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Purpose of "Rules"

We must consecrate ourselves.
That's a term we often misunderstand, but it's one that is crucial in this modern world.
The definition is, according to Merriam-Webster, "dedicated to a sacred purpose."
With television, internet, video games, movies, commercials, sports, and all sorts of hollow pleasures being shoved in our faces, we forget what consecration is. We think we've consecrated ourselves if we don't cuss, don't smoke, don't drink, and we get to church on Sunday. I want to address true consecration, and it will seem extremist in current relation.
There is no bend like on a graph where it follows the social norm. It is a straight line. In fact, it is that very line that the social norm bends away from or towards. It is the standard by which all else is measured.

In Exodus 19, Moses was told to consecrate people and a mountain (Sinai, to be specific). It was so that people were not to eve touch the mountain lest they be executed. This is consecration, and there wasn't even a television set for him to tell people to turn off. This is setting aside something (ourselves) as being so given over to God's purpose that if any worldly thing touches it, we are to sever it.
This doesn't mean to kill people, this means to kill relationships that are drawing us away from God, to rid ourselves of distractions, to cease anything and everything that does not draw us and others into a closer relationship with our Creator. When we give up our earthly identity to find identity in Christ, when we stop seeking anything of this world as a goal and set instead Christ as our sole focus, we have consecrated ourselves. We have dedicated ourselves to a sacred purpose, and this purpose is being like Christ.
In this place of consecration, sanctification is offered to us.

"to make (something) holy."
"to give official acceptance or approval to (something)."
Those are two of the definitions of sanctification. These are the fulfillment of consecration. When we set something apart for sacred use (as we should our everyday lives), we are setting it apart to be holy. This is impossible for man, yet what is impossible for man is possible with God. God brings it to fruition by meeting us in our flawed but striving state, and He puts something wholly righteous within us; His Spirit.
We will never achieve righteousness, holiness, or even something as general as "good" on our own. No one is good except for God. And, for the sake of contrast, i want to point out that what's not good is bad. God created the Heavens and the earth, He made man, and all the things He made, He saw that it was good. Because it resonated with His image and His Word and His Spirit. But when we disobeyed, even the ground was cursed, and there was nothing good on earth any longer. Without His Spirit, we are, simply put, miserable and pitiable beings.
When God meets us and finalizes our act of consecration by sanctifying us, we are still just as flawed of people, we simply have something good living within us.

Here's my point in all of this; we hate rules, we hate boundaries, and we hate restrictions. We hate them because they get in our way of doing what we want. However, when we love God, we don't see these things as hindrances because our goal is to be like Him, and our actions and attitude must change if we are to be more like Him. Rules are very profitable, but not of themselves. I've gone so far as to ask God to increase my convictions so that i may give more of my self to Him, and i would encourage others to consider the same.
If your goal when you wake up in the morning is to not smoke, cuss, drink, have sex, or just sin in general, you're missing it. If your goal when you wake up is to please God, then all these evasions of sin will come as natural as that first yawn. There will be struggles, there will be failures, but trying to please God is the only way out.

To go one step further, living in God's righteousness is a trial, of sorts.
If someone asks to borrow your car and they have a dozen speeding tickets to their name and have had multiple wrecks, are you going to let them borrow it? Probably not. If they have never been stopped nor have they committed any serious traffic violation, you'd be more likely to lend them your keys.
If we are flippant with the life God has given us (in other words, if we are reckless in our convictions, giving way to sin every time a demon rears its head or if we continually feed the 'self'), then God is probably not going to give us the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, nor will He give us the greater gifts of the Spirit. The grace is there, but He wants radicals willing to give up anything or to do anything for Him.
If we don't prove ourselves trustworthy to safeguard and to multiply one gift, or to even nourish it, why would He give us two or five talents when we so miserably failed with the one?
He wants us to try for righteousness. If we don't make the attempt to live as holy beings, He will not entrust us with holy things.

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