I read my Bible every morning as soon as Grace and Justice (JC) leave for school. I used to open it and flip through it to different books and verses and then one day it hit me...I'm not really getting anywhere... So now I read an entire book at a time. I also check off the books I have completed on the contents page at the front. It is my goal to read every book in the Bible before I die!! :)
Right now I am reading Isaiah. I'm only to Chapter 13 but already I can relate my life, especially my past, to the Judians. In chapter 1 Isaiah is preaching about religious hypocrisy...
I grew up in a christian home, I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was 8. I went to church with my family every Sunday morning and night and on Wednesday evenings. I knew without a doubt that God is real and that he cared for me. I knew he was there whenever I wanted him to be. As I got into high school I was a super christian when I was at church, around my parents or other "churchy" people. I was a chameleon; I could change personalities in a split second!! When the "churchy's" were out of sight (or hearing range) I went back to being a foul mouthed, mean girl. I realize now I was religious hypocrisy.
My study Bible says "They fasted, said prayers, celebrated holy days and brought sacrifices to Jerusalem. Yet the people's worship was not from the heart, and it was not accompanied by the personal holiness and social justice that God requires (Leviticus 19:13-17). Religious hypocrisy can result from selective obedience, from lip service to God's law without changes of heart and life to back it up. People who parade their piety for others to see often have little desire to truly obey God. Instead Jesus calls us to be authentic before God and with others, to obey his entire word, and to go beyond mere formalism and appearance in our devotion to God. (NLT Study Bible, Tyndale)
Wow!!! I look back now and I realize that described me perfectly; I claimed that I loved God and sometimes I acted the part but when it came down to it I had no clue who my amazing creator really is! This makes me sad for myself and for the people that I was mean and hurtful to. Seldom a day goes by that I don't wish I could hit rewind and get a do-over, oh the things I would do differently, but that is not how life works! I may not can go back but I can go forward and learn from my mistakes. Even though I may not be able to go to each person individually and ask their forgiveness, I can go to my heavenly Father and confess my mistakes and ask his forgiveness. Isaiah 1:18 (NLT) says "Come now let's settle this," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool." That, my friends is grace, God's grace!! But, on the stipulation that we are sincere, we have had that heart change and we are authentic where ever we are, who ever we are with and even when we are alone. He offers it to each of us and I will take it, receive it and hold on to it with all my might!
I am still a work in progress and each day I pray that I am authentic in every thing I do and every where I go. I have a wonderful church family and godly friends that help keep me accountable. But above all else I now know that God is my refuge and even in those moments when I stumble he still loves me unconditionally and he is waiting for me to turn to him and ask, not beg, just ask for him to make me new again! And let me tell you, he is faithful every single time!!!
Is there anything you need to settle with God??? Do you need to be made white as snow???
God is waiting...