good books…

I like reading…with a slew of other things that take priority during the day I usually find time to read right before bed. And reading has become even more fun after my sweet husband purchased the one piece of technology I actually had my eye on…the Kindle2!

The first book I purchased is titled “As Silver Refined” by Kay Arthur and I’m not sure the best way to describe it so I’ll go with eye opening and reassuring. The entire premise can be summed up with two phrases…first, embracing the attitude if it pleases you Lord, it pleases me…second, change the D to an H, from disappointment to His appointment.

The simplicity of these two phrases have been exploding in my heart, opening up areas of my life that I didn’t even realize I’d adopted an American perspective of Christianity vs. walking in a Biblical perspective. If I began to list the number of times I have viewed difficult circumstances with an attitude of complaining as opposed to having an attitude of thanksgiving it would astound you. How many times I’ve subconsciously accepted the blessings of God but been resistant to the refining fire that purifies my sinful heart. And yet His word is so clear…”be holy as I am holy”…”have this attitude in yourselves which is in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, {and} being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Death. On a cross. I must not ever sweep past this. The Son of God humbled Himself to the point of death and all that came with it.

I realized very quickly that in my embracing God as my Father I had neglected seeing Him as holy and requiring reverence. It is not acceptable by His standards to do so…Romans 10 v. 3 says, “For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.” Paul goes on to write in 11:22, ” Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.”

He’s writing to the Gentiles explaining the current position of the Jews…that they did not know God’s standard and thus, maybe even with good intentions, began defining the righteousness of God on their own…fast forward to chapter 11 and you see in the verses leading up to 22 that God cut them off because of their misunderstanding and the actions that were produced from this misunderstanding. And now Paul is warning the Gentile believers to know God’s standard so they may remain in Him and not become as the Jews. There is only one way to know His standard…it is to be in His Word daily.

What does Christianity, in large part, look like today? As I sift through this topic, which is daily on my heart, I am becoming more and more convinced of one thing: American Christians do not look any different than the culture in which we live in. Not placing ourselves under the Word of God daily we have allowed humanism and a myriad of other philosophies, teachings, etc. to determine how we live, how we respond when the Lord attempts to place us over that refining fire…it makes you think doesn’t it?

Simultaneously I’m also reading “Our Covenant God” by Kay Arthur for the third time…with eyes wide open and desiring the Lord to create in my heart the attitude that “if it pleases you Lord, it pleases me”…essentially saying that “Lord if you see the dross in my heart and have a means to take it out by placing me over the fire, I thank you for your attention to detail and for allowing me the opportunity to be made more like you.”

And as I read about the riches of covenant once more I am being given such sweet assurance of how committed the Lord is to the process of those with whom He’s in covenant with. And though I confess on a minute by minute basis a sin founded fear for what the Refiners fire may look like in this life, I pray for the grace to endure with the attitude that summed up the life of Paul…”for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

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