Thursday, August 5, 2010

To Live is Christ — reflecting His image

Yesterday’s newspaper carried a story about a prominent female singer who said, “God put me on Earth [sic] for three reasons: To make loud music, gay videos, and cause a damn ruckus.” I had to think that this person knows very little about God.

Actually, God has nothing against loud music. The Bible says, “Praise Him with loud cymbals; praise Him with clashing cymbals!” (Psalm 150:5). However, I don’t think this entertainer intends to praise God using the noise she creates.

As for the rest of her statement, debate rages about what God says concerning the gay lifestyle. Many of those engaged in this argument do not know what the Bible says, only what they want it to say. One thing is clear to me — God doesn’t put anyone on earth to make videos about something He condemns.

As for making a ruckus, most of what this person does is sexual in nature. Here, the standards of God are so clear and so superior that even some automobile commercials are likely obscene in His eyes. This does not mean sex is sin. God created it — for married people — not for exploitation, prostitution, selling products, or any of the baggage now attached to what is supposed to be “pure and undefiled.”

Today’s devotional reading shows the contrast between what God is like (and what God sends His people to do) and the outlandish idea that God puts people on this earth just to create a commotion. 

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:1–4, NIV)
When I first read this, I wondered why “greed” was tossed into the mix, but as I think about the way sex is used today (and by this entertainer), the connection is obvious. Sex is used to make money. Greed rather than need is behind the drive for wealth. When greed rules, the other rules are thrown out. Instead of saying no to impurity and the things that God (and even much of society) condemns, these are arrogantly claimed as a divine purpose for existing. Hogwash!

God says to imitate Him and love others. His love is illustrated by Jesus Christ, showing that true love is sacrificial. His love wants the eternal best for others. Love never exploits people or uses sinful things for self-gain.

God also says there should not even be a hint of any kind of impurity in the lives of His people. We should never tell off-color jokes, talk foolishly, or be guilty of any obscenity. This short list is part of many descriptions that show the standard of God. It is high. No one can reach it; we have all fallen short. Our only hope is being invaded by the life of Christ, the one who can transform the blackest soul and bring into human hearts the purity spoken of in these verses.

Purity involves saying no. It also involves having a thankful heart. This is impossible in someone who is greedy, and only for those who recognize that they fall short of the glory of God and repent. He can wash away our sin, including greed and lust.

The elements in these verses from Ephesians are interconnected. Greed, lust, impurity, all of whatever God is not — are part of the package called human sinfulness. Instead of living with that package, God asks me to  humbly acknowledge my sin, repent, put my faith in Him, and be thankful for the good things. Any good I have is from Him and far more than I deserve.

I am not here to do whatever I want or go wherever my sinful self leads me. I am here to show others the love and purity of Christ, reflecting the image of the One who created me. Actually, this is God’s purpose for everyone, including that singer. May she recognize her error and experience a change of heart.

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