Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 21 February 21:
Psalm 24:3, 4 – “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart….”
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) However, our intimacy with God depends on our response to God. Sin separates us from God. The more we desire to fellowship with God, the more we will desire to remove from our lives the sins He abhors, the sins for which Christ died on the Cross to pay. And the closer we get to our Holy God, the more obvious even our smallest sins become, the more we will truly desire “clean hands and a pure heart,” (purity, to live faithfully in thought, word and deed). In genuine worship, today’s psalmist is overwhelmed by the holiness of God and truly desires to be in fellowship (unity) with Him — True Christians are never casual or complacent with sin – “Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep my statutes and do them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you…. You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine…. for I, the Lord, who sanctify you, am holy. (Leviticus 20:7, 8; Leviticus 20:26; Leviticus 21:8)
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11) “And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” (1 John 1:4) Jesus said that “eternal life,” is to “know” Him. Here the word “know” refers to the sort of intimate, personal and experiential knowledge intended between a husband and wife – “The two shall become one.” This is perfect unity in love, heart, soul, mind, and strength. In genuine fidelity and unity with Christ, we experience fullness of joy. Today, the psalmist says those who seek to approach holy God as holy “will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah.” (Psalm 24:5, 6)
Today, the psalmist prays to God in concert with how Jesus instructed His disciples to pray — “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9, 10) ‘Lord, in accordance with your sovereign holiness, your faithfulness, and your justice, mercy and grace, may we honor you by serving you and glorifying you on earth as instruments of your will.’ To do otherwise would be to “trample underfoot the Son of God, and [to] profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and [to] outrage the Spirit of grace.” (Hebrews 10:29)
How will you seek to approach your sovereign, holy God today and in the days to come?
- Deuteronomy 6:5 — You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
- John 14:21 — Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
- 1 John 5:3 — For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
- James 4:8 — Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 — For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;
- Colossians 3:5 — Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
- 1 John 2:15-17 — Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
- Ephesians 5:1-3 — Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
- Romans 8:29 — For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
- Isaiah 55:7 — Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
- 1 John 1:9 — If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 21 Feb 21: Today, pray that God will give you “clean hands and a pure heart,” then, with full confidence in God’s fidelity, grace and mercy, and with full confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit which empowers you, step out in faith and remove from your life all of the things (thoughts, words, deeds, idols, etc.) you know are not worthy to be in the presence of your sovereign and holy God who dwells within you. Every aspect of your life is a display of your love and respect for God.