Third grade taught us that one times one is one. One times anything is one, except when God gets into the mix. God times one is God.
I have so often thought it would be nice to have someone to share things with when God then reminds me that I do that with my Mom. Then I wonder if I am to live out the rest of my life alone as Paul did. And God reminds me that His grace is sufficient for me. And when I get too big for my britches and say, "Look at what I did, God. How great was that? What's that worth?" He shows me a quarter on the ground and I get the message that it's worth about two bits.
This week a friend emailed me concerning a deeply troubling happening in his life. Adultery. His wife of twenty years decided she’d had enough of him and the kids and moved off to be with her unbeliever, married to another, high school boyfriend... and she thinks she is within God’s will because she is entitled to a little happiness in this world.
Maybe I'm harping on this subject a mite too much lately, but what is happiness? Is it a state of being or is it a destination? Happiness is so fleeting that I’m happy one instant and the next I’m plunged into despair, worry, fretfulness or even fear. Happiness cannot outshine the deepest fear or the worst anxiety because it isn’t a state of being. It is a heart feeling and the heart is a deceitful, whimsical thing.
We are told to “follow your heart” in some of the best books and films. Is that the best advice that man can conjure? Or does that actually come from Satan? Follow your heart, do what your heart tells you. Is it your heart or is it chemical reaction? Is it your heart or is it lust?
I do not understand why Christians who have proclaimed Christ for most of their life are suddenly turning their backs and embracing the world’s ways. Why is it? Have they lost their sense of eternity? Or are they so embossed with the world that they are bent and conformed to its ways without even sensing the loss of the Holy Spirit’s influence? Three Dog Night had it right, “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.”
Choosing the world over Jesus is the fastest track to doing the loneliest number. You won’t be diving into the lake of fire with Satan because he’ll already be there. Embracing the ways of the world is the best way to encounter that number one ending. We don’t hear that kind of preaching often enough, I’m thinking.
When did 30 seconds become an eternity? Was it when the red light flashed to green and the horn became the instantaneous reaction from behind? Was it when you could cook an entire three pound roast in the microwave in less than 30 minutes instead of the two hours in the over while the family was at church on Sunday morning? Was it when information became available at your fingertips rather than a 30 minute stance at the card catalog and a two-hour stint at the library the day before your term paper was due? Was it when dad kept coming home later and later from work, with no thought of tossing the ball, or when Mom sat at the computer instead of baking a cake from scratch?
We Christians tell each other that our actions speak louder than words, for that is how we are known to the world as practicing Christians… but, how often do we tell each other that our actions display to God how we feel about Him? Now, that is a different black kettle.
My physical body may be single, but my heart is linked to the greatest power of the universe. God times one is God, and we should act like it. Pardon my slight paraphrase of James 4:7 Resist the world and it will flee. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners! And purify your hearts, double minded ones! For what is your life? It is a mist that for a little while appears, then disappears. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit for this is the sense of eternity and is the permanency of God. Singleness is no longer a sting and the loneliest number is banished forever. Live for the joy past the cross of today’s world, for something far, far better awaits us on the other side. It's so full of family! There will be no loneliness, no tears, no hurting hearts, and best of all our loving betrothed husband is standing beside the Father with His arms open wide with a smile on His face and, oh Glory, He's asking us to dance!
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