Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Separate. Apart. Different. Worthy Of Mention.

For more years than I can remember, casual use of the word "God" has always struck a bad chord in my soul. Even before I was in church, in the Bible, trying to follow Jesus, something about jokes that used His name, or the movie with George Burns that used His name, or casual expressions referring to Him have simply seemed wrong. There are lots of completely "clean" jokes around that refer to God (or Jesus, or the Holy Spirit) doing this or that, even some intended to prove a valid spiritual point. But they've still rubbed me the wrong way, even when I didn't know why.

This morning, someone put up a verse on Facebook that rang my bell .. that spoke to me and said "Here's why......":

1 Peter 3:15:
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"


I looked up the word "sanctify". Strong's Online says "set apart from profane things .. purify .." (among several other things, but let's look at those things).

But first, let's play those thoughts against the third commandment:

Deuteronomy 5:11:
"Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."


"Vain" means "emptiness, nothingness, vanity, worthlessness..". When I consider Who God is, what He has done, what He IS doing, and what He is capable of, how dare I use that name unless I am talking about the God Who spoke the universe into existence, set in motion a plan to save mankind from hell when Adam & Eve sinned, sacrificed His own Son for me, gives meaning and purpose to my life that I could never have dreamed in years gone by, and Who holds such promise for the future of even the oldest among us?

I can't.

Back to the verse in 1 Peter. My reluctance to use His name without purpose .. without using His name in accordance with HIS purposes, not mine .. cannot be based on any sort of fear that I'll insult Him, or somehow "get it wrong". My use of His name must come from a heart that's in tune with Him .. a heart that's called according to His purposes. From a heart filled with admiration of my Heavenly Father, not filled with fear of a tyrant.

This rant isn't about talking about God less .. it's about talking about Him for Who He truly is. Oh, that we'd do that all the more.

Maybe it's about being salt and light. Perhaps "salt & light" isn't about how much we're rubbing the world the wrong way. Perhaps it's being the seasoning that enhances the sweet taste of heavenly forgiveness and earthly purpose. That points people to Living Water.

I'm out of the closet. Talking to restaurant servers about things of the Spirit, wishing folks at Walmart a "blessed day" instead of a good one, telling the greeter at Home Depot that any day I have Jesus, I WILL "Have a good day".

And it's been more fun .. more uplifting for me .. than I would ever have imagined.

Thanks, Tony, for posting that verse this morning. You made my day.

2 Comments:

At 3:23 PM, November 24, 2011, Blogger Aussie John said...

Bob,

Thanks for a timely word.

Exactly my sentiments. At times I question my edginess on this score, but come up with similar thoughts as to yourself.

The initials O.M.G. are frequently used of late in advertising on TV.

 
At 4:59 PM, November 24, 2011, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

John: Thank you for the comment.

I often ask candidates for the Diaconate, how they know they are "filled with the Holy Spirit". Frankly, none has ever had the right answer, which is,IMO, that the fruit of the Spirit evidences itself in your life, when it's not natural for you. I do that, for one reason, because I used to be as quick with the jokes like I mentioned, as anybody else, but conviction came over me and finally compelled me to treat God's name as a precious and holy thing.

And I guess the lost world acting lostly shouldn't surprise us, but.....

 

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