Sunday, February 19, 2017

Who is the holiest in God’s kingdom




Who is the holiest in God’s kingdom? Is holiness what we do or is it where the heart lies? Salvation is a free gift from God, and all He requires is our belief and submission. It is as simple as walking through an open door, and as difficult as trying to get the locked door open. During the average lifetime, everyday living bruises us, and causes us to lock down our hearts. Education introduces alternative thoughts on reality. Society promotes self fulfillment and moral freedom. The truth is housed in shades of gray.

My understanding of salvation is a level playing field. We enter into God’s kingdom by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior. God’s love was always with us, and didn’t increase because we are now His child. The faith we have was already measured out by God, and now becomes active. In God’s eyes when we are saved we are as holy as we will ever be.

I have been in the Kingdom for more than 30 years. I have observed many ‘movements’ within the body: the faith movements (name it and claim it), the prosperity movement (honoring those who are well off more than those who are not), and the judgment movement (those who have trouble and illness must be secretly sinning). While faith is the substance of following Christ, prosperity, or righteousness is the strength of Christ in us, and judgment exists within our personal relationship with Jesus, God is in control, and these movements have passed away because they were man-made.

Yet within the individual groups of believers, some of these ideas still exist. I met one woman who vehemently opposed Joyce Meyer, call her a prosperity teacher. I tried to explain that the Word refers to prosperity as righteousness. And this left me wondering: Why is it so hard for people to believe that God wants us to prosper?

I have an illness called positional vertigo. I can get very sick at times, and have to limit my movements. Why am I sharing this? Because I met a woman in a denomination who walked up to me and asked me if I had aids because she heard I was ill. I had never really spoken with her, and only known her a short time. I thought, off all the illnesses a person can have, why did she leap to this one? I honestly can’t look her in the eye. Not because of her question, but because of the heart if sprang from. Who thinks these things? How can a person go immediately to one of the worst conditions in America just because another person has an illness?

I have met believers who have many rules: don’t wear makeup, don’t go to movies, don’t play cards, don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t fellowship with unbelievers (now that one blows me away, after all, are we only suppose to shine the light on each other?).

I had a conversation with a young woman who had accepted Jesus as Lord. She was thinking of turning back because she couldn’t conquer all the ‘don’ts’ she was being told to do. I shared with her my own salvation experience. I was told by a woman I couldn’t be saved because I was a hippie. I thought about the statement, but knew in my innermost being that Jesus was real and that I decided to follow Him. I didn’t change overnight; it was years of praying, listening, and being cooked in the silver pot, all the dross skimmed off, then being cooked again.

Who is the holiest in heaven? God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. No matter what we do as Christians during our journey on earth, we cannot earn a higher place in heaven. We can draw closer to God always by learning to let our nature, our thoughts, our judgment, and our hearts, give way to what God is doing in our lives.

For me, that is deflecting my pride, keeping my tongue, being submissive to the rules at work, doing good wherever I see to do it, and handing my tendency for melancholy over to God every time I find it swimming in my soul. It is remembering that we live in an imperfect world, shrouded in darkness, and it is my ‘job’ to shine a lot in this darkness. My light is kindness (even when I don’t feel kind), consistency in my actions and reactions (even when I want to slap someone), smiling, and listening for the opportunity to encourage, provide, and perform a good deed for someone. And I do this for unbelievers. Imagine that?