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'Christ in You...'

    by Dale Krebbs

From A Distance
Date Posted: August 7, 2022

When growing up in a rural setting, a popular cliché’ was often heard when someone wanted to do something which would be considered inappropriate by others. It was an excuse to do what one wanted to do when one wanted to do it. It was an expression both humorous and - temporarily at least - true. So many times we heard, " well...distance is decency, so go ahead!"

Not only is distance decency, it just makes us feel safe! If enough distance can be put between us and something or someone, all seems well. If we feel threatened in some way, the first impulse is to put distance between us and the source of the threat. It has been said that some people are best loved from a distance. Perhaps that is sometimes true. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t...it can be the same way with you and me - and God! Notice: "All the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain [surrounded by] smoke. When the people saw [it] they trembled and stood at a distance. "You speak to us, and we will listen," they said to Moses, "but don't let God speak to us, or we will die"- Exodus 20:18-19. God and Jesus Christ are never best loved "from a distance!

This exchange occurred just after God spoke the Ten Commandments. The Israelites were apparently terrified of the spectacle they were seeing. However, they allowed the spectacle to diminish and destroy the importance of what God had to say. The entire setting was a test for the people of Israel (Exodus 20:20) Would they focus on God more than the around, no matter what the distraction might be - or would they go by the sight of their eyes more than by the planting of God’s words in their minds...? The test, or something similar in purpose, was administered by God many times, even after they entered the promised land. But over and over they proved that they would not allow themselves to get too close!

Finally, there could be only one conclusion: "But Joshua told the people, ‘You will not be able to worship the LORD, because He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not remove your transgressions and sins. If you abandon the LORD and worship foreign gods, He will turn against [you], harm you, and completely destroy you, after He has been good to you.’ ‘No! the people answered Joshua, ‘We will worship the LORD.’ Joshua then told the people, ‘You are witnesses against yourselves that you yourselves have chosen to worship the LORD. ‘We are witnesses,’ they said." - Joshua 24:20-21.

Are we seeing and hearing God only from a distance?

These things are written for OUR instruction and admonition (1 Corinthians 10:11), not strictly for Israel of that time. Are we fearful of getting too close to Jesus? I wonder...often. Perhaps I am fearful of what He sees. Someone said to me recently that they finally realized that their position, their phraseology, their wording, etc. that they had been worrying about in prayer was absurd - God sees all and knows all. Even the words before they are thought, and the intent of the heart, the Spirit reads and knows deeper than we can articulate in thought or words (1 Corinthians 2:10-16)! To the extent that we are not close to Him, the lesser the Light is in us - the closer we are to Him the greater the light is in us, because IN HIM there is "no darkness at all". The light reveals our sins, and the revealing of our sins can very uncomfortable, causing us to back away from the Mountain. Some, we are warned, will think they are close to the Mount, and will experience a very unexpected assessment (Matthew 7:22-23). Notice that Jesus says "many...".

There is an irony within this. It is possible to be precise in the letter, and never be close to God the Father, Jesus Christ, or have the Holy Spirit. There is a whole book in the Bible that expounds this phenomenon - the Book of Job. Job was "righteous", witnessed to by God Himself (Job 1:8-12). But Job knew God from a distance. He had only "heard about" God, and what he had heard was true, and he had obeyed to the letter. But Job was not close to God - not close enough to "see" Him (Job 42:5-6). There is an object lesson here we must not miss. Measure the seriousness of this flaw by the severity of how God dealt with it (Romans 11:22-23). As we distance ourselves from Jesus Christ, we move ever closer to the darkness of sin. At first, it may be hardly noticeable - a few steps away from Him in this way, and then in that thing...we begin to feel satisfied with our "relationship" with Him - we are finally comfortable with God. At this point (or before), Satan presses the issues, as we begin to walk near the edge. It is part of our old nature to someway "tempt fate", to get as close to "sin" as we can. We begin to think we are getting strong - we didn’t fall off the precipice. But - how far away from God, and close to sin is a right position - half way, or perhaps 60/40 (either way) would be OK...?

There is almost always the tendency for us to seek a kind of "comfort zone" in relationships - and this is not necessarily wrong. Being comfortable in a relationship should be basically comfortable. However, when it comes to our relationship with God and His Son, it is not a 50/50, or 60/40, etc., arrangement (Luke 14:26)! It is difficult in our world to not get drawn into the way of the world, and slowly - ever so slowly - be drawn away from a closer relationship with Jesus. The whole strategy of Satan is one of attrition - like the famous frog in the pan of water over a fire. Many relationships that Christians have with Jesus Christ are "long distance" relationships, much like so many marriages today that originate with some type of long distance relationship. So often, it slowly results - perhaps years later - in enormous heartache. Slowly they realize that it was a house built on sand (Luke 6:48) and very shallow and self serving. God forbid it should ever be that way, between you and Jesus Christ.

"Abstain from evil [shrink from it and keep aloof from it] in whatever form or whatever kind it may be" - 1 Thessalonians 5:22.

Compromising with sin will distance us from God. How much would your life be changed if you obeyed this command fully? Would you have to change certain things that you allow yourself to do? Would you have to adjust your value system? Would you have to alter some personal human relationships? If we are truly conquered and purchased in full by Jesus’ sacrifice, we will have eyes to "see" and ears to "hear" the voice of our loving Creator speaking through His word and from the Holy Spirit, and we will not shrink back in fear of getting too close to Him! We will be saying and praying continually for "just a closer walk with thee"! Instead of trying to walk as close to the abyss as possible, we will walk as He walked, think as He thinks, talk as He talked, and love and live by every word that comes from God! We will not read God’s Word in order to "look for loopholes"! We will, through His written word, draw ever closer to the Living Word! Do you know God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ? How well do you know Him? To know Him is to be close to Him, to love Him - to obey Him!

Do not be pulled farther away. Come close to Him - while you can still see and hear Him, and He will still hear you, and confess and repent of what needs to be repented of, without reservation, in complete surrender (Isaiah 59:2). He will take your hand. Then, never let go of His (Psalm 73:23). He will draw you back, and keep you from falling (Jude 1:24-25). Were you close to Him in the past?

The question is worth asking one more time...

"Who moved...?"

"And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it."- ! Thessalonians 5:14-23

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Biography Information:
Dale Krebbs served as an Elder, preaching, counseling, and conducting Bible studies for over 25 years in Texas, California, and Arizona. He is now retired, lives in Arizona, and continues the study and research of Gods Word.
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