“Come close to the one true God, and He will draw close to you. Wash your hands; you have dirtied them in sin. Cleanse your heart, because your mind is split down the middle, your love for God on one side and selfish pursuits on the other.” James 4:8 The Voice
I remember reading this one day and feeling a heaviness on my heart. In the Amplified version it says “[realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery].” That is pretty intense. This verse really describes what it looks like to have one foot in the world and one foot with Jesus, still straddling two masters. Matthew 6:24 says we can’t serve two masters. We have to choose.
What does that choice look like? I think a lot of people don’t understand how much God loves us. They think of Him as the Punisher or the Judge. And don’t get me wrong, He is those things too…But most of all He loves us. Just like a parent has to discipline a child to teach them how to live safely and prosperously and develop in character, God does that with us too. To teach us His ways.
As a Christian we get fooled into thinking that if we let go of the world’s ways that we will be missing out on something. Well, we are. We are missing out on the things that we were never designed to take. God did not design us to take on worry, anxiety, stress, bitterness, rejection, hatred and all the other burdens that we carry in our hearts. It makes our hearts hard and heavy and our minds neurotically hyper-vigilant. God never intended for us to live like that.
If we surrender to Him we can let go of all those things. Just like a parent, He gives us guidelines to keep us safe in His care. When we are in alignment with His “house rules” our heart has a chance to soften and heal. Then we have a chance to truly experience the magnitude of His love. It is a brighter and lighter way to live. It goes beyond existence and becomes a dynamic experiential relationship with our Creator remembering that He loved us so much that He sent His own Son to die on the cross to mend the relationship gap between us. There is no greater love than this.
Father, help me embrace a lifestyle that holds me in Your safekeeping. Help me be so comfortable in Your arms that others want to come there too.