"Are You Happy, Daddy"
by Kevin Probst
My four year old has been experimenting lately with disobedience. The issue is always a confrontation between his will and mine. Kameron would have no obligation to be obedient if there were no commands to obey. I'm perplexed when my theologian friends accuse me of legalism. We obey God, not because we think we are buying any favors from him, but because he has some very important commands, especially the ten he gave to Moses. Our motive for obedience is because we love him and we want his approval.
When Kameron thinks he may have done something to displease me he will turn his head upward and ask, "Are you happy, Daddy?" or "Are you disappointed, Daddy?" I often have to tell him that I am unhappy and disappointed. The heart that is determined to please God will often look up and ask, "Are you happy, God? Are you disappointed?" Isn't that what David was doing when his heart cried out in Psalm 139:23 "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts."
Does God not discipline us in order to encourage us toward sanctification? How would we ever experience holiness were we never chastised? Why do so many Christians believe that this pursuit of holiness is an option? Does not God's word say, "Be holy, because I am holy?" (1 Peter 1:16). Are we not instructed to be "imitators of Christ"? (Eph. 5:1) God's directive to be holy is not an invitation, it’s a command.
The word 'holy' refers to a separation. There is so much confusion in the church today because so many people will claim to enjoy the gift of full salvation and still enjoy the fleshly pleasures of the world. Paul stated clearly in Romans that if you feed the flesh you will starve the spirit, if you feed the spirit you will starve the flesh.
I work every day with young people in a Christian school. They often anguish over the fact that they want to draw close to God but can't seem to. Sometimes the problem is that they don't want to deal with the separation factor. Drawing closer to God means separating from the things he hates. Holiness causes people to hate the things which steal the heart away from God. Romans 1:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world (we hate the things we once loved), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (we now love the things we once hated). We often fail in our attempt to be holy because we give our heats to that which is against God.
When we are truly transformed we discover that "others can, we cannot." God has a different standard for those who would follow him. There are now some things you can't do, there are some things you cannot say, there are some places you cannot go.
When God asks us to "be holy" he is asking that we yearn for him. I want to yearn for God like David yearned for God. "How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faint, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." Are we hungering for God or are we hungering for the trashy, filthy things in life that satisfy the flesh?
"Search my heart, O God!"