Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- July 29, 2012
Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. Psalm 24:3-5
Sincere worshippers of God long to be close to Christ. This is our eternal end game. This is the outcome we crave. It is proximity to Christ that places us close enough for Him to wipe away our tears. It is closeness to Christ that reveals our sin and leads us to repentance. It is closeness to Christ that instills the best perspective. It is closeness to Christ that calms our heart, engages our mind, and sets our feet to dancing. There is no earthly substitute for the fulfillment and the feeling of significance that comes from snuggling up to our Savior. But it is not without effort on our part. Just as a teenager has to slow down long enough to be with his or her parents, so we have to gear back and get with God. A life of chronic activity misses intimacy with the Almighty.
Furthermore, closeness comes from cleanliness. We came from the dirt. We started out unclean. Dirt in our heart throws off dust in our eyes. We struggle to see God when we have not cleansed our heart. The pure in heart see God (Matthew 5:8). But the impure of heart are like blind bats fluttering around in futility. We are from the dirt in the valley and He is high atop His holy mountain. The snow-capped mountain of God is pure and clean. The air is crisp and clear of earthly pollution. So as we ascend to the Almighty by faith, we ask Christ to clean us up so we can go up. We confess motives that are full of self and void of humility. We come clean over our lust and covetousness. We ask God to remove our anger and replace it with patience and kindness. We lay our lies before the Lord and ask Him to convert them to honesty and uprightness.
So we approach the holy hill of the Lord with clean hands and a pure heart. It is an outward and inward purification that we pursue. Our behavior and our beliefs both need sanitizing. Try living with one and not the other, we still limp along, distant from the Lord. Closeness to Christ comes when we align both our actions and our attitude. Our ways have to match our words or no one will listen to our claim of loyalty to the Lord. It is when what we say we believe transforms the way we talk and relate to others, that we draw into intimacy with Jesus. A soft-spoken person who has a hard heart is still in the foothills of faith, outside the mountaintop of maturity. Pride may be masked in the moment, but over time it will lash out in anger and rejection. Therefore, come clean with Christ. We would not expect a server in a restaurant to bring out our meal with soiled hands. Nor are we to serve our Lord with the dirt of denial under our fingernails. Clean hands and a pure heart raise us up.
God trusts those whom He holds close to His chest. He trusts them because they are nearby to hear His instructions and obey His commands, to hunger for His heart and thirst for His trust. Closeness continually communes. It is not like the adult child who only comes close to home when he needs something. Instead, hang out often in a scheduled quiet time with the Lord. There is intentionality that goes into intimacy. This qualifies you for closeness to Christ. God trusts those whom He believes in. He blesses those who are close by. Therefore, stay close to Christ.
Taken from Reading #15 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE
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