Wednesday, July 9, 2008

playing with fire

Well, I'm back to write again . . . after taking an unplanned break from writing for a couple weeks. It would seem that I need to be careful with my computer use outside of work, as my wrist has been complaining a lot lately. But, I'm back and behaving myself more now so hopefully that won't happen again.

A couple of weeks ago at Alive in the Park, the speaker spoke about growing cold. It is so easy for us to do such a thing. We find ourselves growing distant and farther from God. I have been thinking a lot about it in the weeks since. It has seemed like that has been something that has come up just about every time I have opened my Bible in the last couple of weeks as well.

So many of the prophets in the Old Testament were speaking to a nation that had done just that – had grown cold. Their hearts were no longer following God – they were going through the motions, but that was all that it was. Hosea 6:6 expresses God’s desire for His people – the way He truly wants to worship:
“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice; and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings.” (NIV)
Sacrifices and offerings were the religious rituals that Israel was going through. This is not what God wanted. Hosea 6:6 is calling Israel to come back and worship Him with their whole hearts, not just their religious actions. This is the same call that God makes to us today. When we begin to wander away and move into cold religious ritual, God calls us to come back from our religious ritual and bring our whole hearts back to Him. God desires our entire heart and we are to bring that to Him.

Take some time to think about your own life: Are there areas where you have grown cold? A re you playing with fire? What can you do to come back to God with your whole heart in those areas where you have grown cold?

As I thought about this in my own life, I realized how easy it is for myself and how often I do it. I seem to go in cycles - I go from walking closely with God to growing cold and walking as far away from God as I can, in at least a few areas of my life. I can see certain areas where I tend to play with fire on a regular basis.

God has really convicted me of this in the last few weeks. It was a challenge for me to take the steps I need to so that I don't end up growing cold again. I often find that when summer comes it is easiest for me to fall away in areas of my life; so, this is the time that I need to be the most intentional about making sure that I don't grow cold.

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