My pastor holds an additional worship service in the summer, on Thursday nights. Due to living in an area with a lake and mountains, Sunday morning attendance always dips when the temperature climbs. This year, the Thursday night pulpit is being filled by ordained elders and elders-in-training; thus there is an alternative service for those who will be gone over the weekend but my pastor doesn’t have to sacrifice sanity, health or family in the process.
I was looking forward to listening to my friend Laura’s sermon, and it did not disappoint. (In my denomination, the Church of the Nazarene, women can preach. We can argue about this another time). She began by saying that the Lord re-routed the direction she was going to take at the last minute, which I admired. I like it when preachers are willing to go where the Spirit leads. Laura focused on Isaiah 6:1-8, with special emphasis on verse 7:
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
“Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”
Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” (emphasis mine)
I belong in God’s family because He cleansed me. I am His child because He purged me of impurity. But this does not mean a free ride. This doesn’t mean I get to do whatever I want. There is responsibility that comes with this belonging.
I have to get rid of idols, like I wrote about earlier this week. I have to ask the Lord to develop an increasing sensitivity to sin in my heart. I have to know the truth and firmly plant myself in it.
I need purity of doctrine.
Belonging to something or, in this case, Someone, means being on board with what that Someone stands for. God placed His stamp on me when He redeemed me, and that stamp cost Jesus everything. I do not have the words to express my deep thankfulness for what He did, is doing and will continue to do in saving me.
Since I belong to Him, I get to tell others about Him. About how they can come and belong to Him, too. And you’d better believe that any lies I’ve got hidden in my soul will wreak havoc on the sharing of that truth. So, it’s time to get clean. It’s time to take a hard look at some things I’ve been soft on and allow God to bring me to a place of true wholeness.
Because there really, truly is responsibility in the belonging.
I realize that this post is a bit vague, but five minutes doesn’t equal depth. Please stick around. I will be exploring this topic further in future posts.