Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Relaxing in the Recliner of Life - Wake Up!

Our loved one speaks, but we're not listening, at least not whole heartily. We've all been caught doing this. Our mind is given to the latest sports program, newspaper article, or magazine interest. All we want to do is escape from the exhausting grind and pressures of daily life. Just for a moment. Just a little harmless devotion to our whimsical desires. But our love wants our attention, our devotion, our affection. There are important things to communicate. We say we are listening, but that is only a lip service lie.

At this point you are probably thinking, this is going to be about listening to and loving your wife. But no, the loved one I'm referring to is our Beloved Savior. I was challenged by verses 27 and 29 in today's chapter.

27 The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable— how much more so when brought with evil intent!
29 A wicked man puts up a bold front, but an upright man gives thought to his ways.

These verses provoked me to ask, "Am I in any way living like the wicked, who do religious things (27a), but with wrong motives (27b); who act as if everything is going great (29a), without giving any thought to the true state of things (29b)?" The wicked do "spiritual things" and put up a bold front without examining the reality of where they are at with God. Is that us? Are we relaxing in the recliner of life, pursuing our own comforts and desires, while at the same time saying, "Yes, Lord. I'm here. I'm listening"? We are like the husband who goes through the motions but is not fully engaged with his love.

Prior to reading Proverbs 21, I read the book of Jude which is a call to contend for the faith (v3) and to be on the alert for "godless men who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ..." (v4). Jude paints a vivid picture of their deeds and demise. He concludes with a challenge to the called to be different, not to be men "who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit" (v19). He sounds the alarm to instead, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord...Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear -- hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh" (vv. 20-23). Does that sound like me? Does that sound like you?

Buzzers, alarms, and maybe even your wife's voice, can be irritants. But ignoring these reminders and warnings can be perilous to our health. Ignoring spiritual warnings can be worse. The voice of God is one we dare not disconnect. Engage him fully. Listen to him closely. Be attentive to your relationship with Christ.

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