The Reason for Separation
When you think of God what do you think of? If someone were to ask you, ‘What is God like?’ how would you answer? Metaphors abound to try to describe God. He is a Mighty Fortress. He is living water. He is bread for the hungry. He is a light shining in darkness. He is a Father to us. All of these attempts to describe God fall short of his true glory. For instance, describing him as a father would not have the desired affect upon someone who had a horrendous, neglectful earthly father. Isa. 40:25 ““To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.” We must be careful when we make comparisons to God Almighty. There is no one like him. There is nothing like him.
If an alien from a far off galactic civilization were to approach you in your back yard one day and ask you what you are like you might say, “Well, I’m like my neighbor, or a family member. I’m like him or I’m like her.” I stood with my two grown sons last evening (Oct. 31, 2009) while others in the room tried to find traits in each of them that were similar to traits in their father. They are both, in some way, like me.
Moses was feeling insecure when God presented a great task of leading his people. So, Moses asked God, “When they ask me by what authority I do these things, when they ask me who you are, what do I say?” Was he not asking, “Who do I say you really are? How do I describe you to them?” God answered Moses by saying, “I AM THAT I AM” God has no one to compare himself to. He is simply who he is.
Thousands of years later God could point his finger to one walking the earth and say, “I am like him.” Finally, when Jesus appeared in Bethlehem, when he worked his father’s carpenter shop, when he cleared the temple and washed the feet of his disciples…God said, “I am like him!”
As I get older and mature as a Christian I realize more and more what it’s all about. It’s NOT about keeping all the rules. It’s NOT about increasing the number of people in the church or running a successful fund raiser. It’s NOT about being loyal to an institution. It’s NOT about befriending the pastor or some other man of God. It’s about knowing who God is. It’s about understanding his nature and learning to love him for who he is.
We are so careless to allow idols to rise up in our lives. In my younger years God revealed to me so clearly that my participation in athletic events, particularly basketball, had become an idol in my life. I neglected family, I neglected my studies, I neglected my spiritual life because I was so committed to the game. I loved it more than I should have. I could hear God saying to me, “Kevin, behold your god!” An idol is anything that competes with God for our attention and devotion.
He wants nothing more than to be our God. He is hurt deeply when we substitute the things and people of this world for a genuine relationship with him. God wants so much to remove the detestable things in our lives that separate us from him. 2Co 6:17 - “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you”
I sometimes lift my four year old up onto the countertop in our kitchen and ask him to jump into my arms. After some initial hesitation he separates himself from the countertop and leaps into the air and into my arms. My open arms represent strength and trust. He doesn’t separate himself from the countertop just for separation’s sake, he separates himself because he wants his father. He wants me and I want him. When I see his act of faith I am sure to wrap my arms around him and provide him protection, security and love.
The holy life is a life of separation unto God. That separation is too often a separation of fear; fear of hell, fear of consequences, fear of missing out on something. He wants that separation to be a choice for Him. Choosing Him because he is holy. Choosing Him because he loved us so much he gave his son. Choosing Him because we love Him and this pleases Him. The primary purpose of separation is not to make us holy, or pure or spiritually powerful, the primary purpose is to glorify a God we cannot comprehend.