There’re two concepts that I have heard and ‘practiced’ for quite some time but never really understood in a way that affected anything that I did. These two concepts are purity and surrender. You know that concept of purity; it comes to your mind and as a good Christian who’s grown up in the church and youth group you immediately think of sexual purity. Yet as I think about it now, that is not at all the definition of purity that comes to my mind.
We think to the Old Testament and we think about the sacrificial lambs. They were to be pure, spotless lambs sacrificed to take away our sins and create in us purity that God would see as good and acceptable. They had to be pure so that we could be pure. Moving into the New Testament, Jesus became that lamb sacrificed to make us pure. He had to perfect so we could be made perfect in him. Holiness is another word that goes along with this. Holy is something which is perfect and pure beyond compare. Think back to Isaiah when he was allowed to enter into the Temple into the Holy of holies; the perfect of perfects. The seraphs which flew above him said to one another “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6.3 NASB). They stated it three times. The Lord is perfect, perfect, perfect; pure, pure, pure; holy, holy, holy. Blayne Banting always uses this awesome cliché that goes, “Repetition is God’s Highlighter . . .” It has never been more true than in this circumstance. God isn’t just perfect; He’s perfect x3.
Tonight I went to Surrender. Mostly because someone asked me if I was going and I stated I generally do not go and then was convicted of that. The guy who was leading it focused on the name that we have chosen to give that gathering of people in God’s name and stated to us that it was truly time to surrender. As we sang songs about God’s love and our need to surrender to it in order to experience everything he has for us, I was convicted that if I wanted to surrender, I was going to need to become pure. That’s kind of a big jump . . . let me explain.
There are parts of this world that I really like. Parts like the OC. I love[d] that show. It’s so funny and awesomely lame and even right now, though it’s been gone for only an hour and a half, I miss it. This show was keeping me impure. For one thing, though it’s not as dirty as I made it up to be in my mind when I wasn’t allowed to watch it in High School, there are aspects of it that as a child of God who should have a mind and heart worthy of God, or at least aim to have, I didn’t need to be watching. Also, it was keeping me from spending time with Him and even really thinking about Him. Time that I had originally set aside to talk to Him or read His word, I would avoid just so I could find out what happens next with Seth and Summer (No matter if I never watch it again, I will always have a connection with Seth Cohen, I hold to that). As I worked myself up to justify watching it, I knew this was not what was asked of me, but it was none the less what I was giving into. And no matter how many times He asked me, I refused to give it up.
On the way home from church today, I asked God to help me to want only what he wants and nothing more. This was a continuation of that conversation I believe. What he wants is not for me to avoid him for the OC. What he wants is for me to not get frustrated over the things that he’s working out. What he wants is for us to be close; for us to know each other and for me to have a clear dependence on him and his strength and his knowledge and power that I clearly don’t have.
This is what is pure. This is called surrender. I miss the OC, but I will not pass up the opportunity to live the life that someone so creatively planned all the way out for me to live. Who does that anyway? I can’t and won’t look past the fact that someone would care enough to create a really big adventure for me to go on.
Those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books just popped into my mind. The wonderful thing is that we have a way to get to the best ending possible. We just have to be willing to give up the choices that we think will get us there and make the ones that we’re called to.