January 20, 2010

To Live is Christ — means throwing out the trash

A cartoon shows a man crying out to God. In the first panel he says, “God, why do you allow so much injustice in the world?”

In the next panel, God replies, “I might ask you the same question.”

Integrity is more than merely being honest about the negatives (and positives) that people cannot see. It is also about being acceptable to God, not just on the outside but also in my heart. In the Old Testament, the Lord said to Samuel, 

Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
The Hebrew word translated “refused” is used several dozen times in the Bible. It is also translated as despised, rejected, and abhorred. It is one thing that God can look into my heart, but quite another what He finds there.

One of the questions in my devotional guide asks, “Have you ever thought you were pleasing God, only to discover that you were fooling yourself?”

As I thought about it, I recalled when I was a new Christian and gave a matter to God, asking Him to deal with it. At the time, I thought it was the right thing to do, but it didn’t turn out well and I’ve lived with painful consequences since then.

This question made me realize that I was asking God to do something that the Bible clearly states is my responsibility. Of course I would need His help to do it, but what I called “faith” He calls disobedience.

I was like the man in the cartoon. I was also fooling myself. My heart wanted results, but I could not admit my sense of inadequacy to do the task, nor did I ask God to help me with it. Instead, I passed the whole thing up to Him and asked Him to do it. That is not faith, no matter what it looks like on the outside.

When God looks at my heart, He refuses, rejects, despises, and even abhors the sin and self-centeredness that He sees. Integrity is about being willing to look at myself with His measuring tools, agree with His assessment of what I see there, then do something about it. To live is Christ means being honest about the junk that God refuses, then getting rid of all the trash and doing what He says.

Clip art credit

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