Friday, June 22, 2007

Afraid to draw near?

For those of us captivated by the glory of God, it's hard to understand why everyone doesn't long to draw near as we do. We see and savor His beauty. Why do others - even some believers - not do the same?

At the heart of the answer to this lies the heart of salvation: the creation of a new heart that is enabled to see and savor His goodness. For those who don't know the fullness of His character, who have not seen the grace and truth embodied in Jesus Christ, God can be scary. Even the Israelites faced this struggle, recalled so poignantly by the author of Hebrews:

Heb. 12:18-24
For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

God hasn't changed - vv. 25-29 warn us against taking this new covenant lightly, because God is a consuming fire. But the point the author is making underscores the contrast between the Old and New covenants ... between being fearful to approach God and having the freedom to come "boldly" into the throne. (Heb. 10:22).

Are you frustrated today by all those who don't see the glory of God in the face of Christ that you see? Pray for God to do a miracle of transformation in their hearts. Pray that they will not be too easily pleased with the pleasures of the world, and will instead long for deep pleasures that can only be met at the fountain of God Himself! For had He not awakened our hearts, we too would be settling for far, far less of Him!

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.
We are far too easily pleased.
C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

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