So, I feel like God has given me a message with increasing clarity lately about the importance of "living by FAITH". I've written about it, talked about it, I've prayed about it and been challenged personally by it.
Part of the reason, I think, is that the American church has been distracted...busy with way too many worldly pursuits to really "live it out". I believe we need to be challenged and reminded and, in many cases, we need to repent and come back to a REAL, Intimate relationship with God.
I've been reading in the book of Jeremiah recently, and he had that same message for the people of Israel. They had been carried into exile, and some prophets were saying "peace and safety", but he was not. In fact, he called those prophets out as liars...but the people would not listen.
Fortunately, God did not leave them in "discipline" mode...He promised a new day would come...a day when He would establish a NEW COVENANT with them!...a day when they would KNOW God, and would have a RELATIONSHIP with Him, by faith! This would be a time in which they wouldn't need to be told how to live--they would obey the Spirit within, and would live thier faith out, prioritizing their relationship with God above all others.
"This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time" (of discipline), declares the Lord. "I will put my law in thier minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people.
No longer will a man teach his neighbor...saying "(this is how to)Know the Lord", because THEY WILL ALL KNOW ME, from the least of them to the greatest." declares the Lord. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember thier sins no more." (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
The GREAT NEWS is that WE are living in "that time"! We--because of Jesus Christ--can "KNOW the Lord"! We can have the Law written on our hearts and in our minds! We have the amazing, enormous priviledge of being forgiven, and having the Lord as our God!
How can we possibly take that for granted? How can we possibly be too distracted by our pursuit of 'worldly things'...fitting into the pattern of this world, being conformed to the mindset of this world--when we have such a priviledge?
I believe that many of us must repent of our worldliness, ask God's forgiveness and give Him the place of pre-eminence in our lives that He--and He alone--deserves!
...and rather than pointing the finger at everyone else, I realize that God's Spirit is saying to me that I have to start with myself.
What about you?