Hard to believe, but February 2005 is already ending. Along with it, I’ve finished the last chapter of the Book of Numbers (the fourth book of the Pentateuch). In chapter 34, I came across this verse:
[God said to Moses:] "When you come into the land of Canaan, which I am giving you as your special possession, these will be the boundaries." (Numbers 34:2)
I thought of the freedom Christians have in Christ. Freedom from sin. Freedom to worship God intimately, to boldly enter the holy of holies. But when we come into that land of salvation that God gives to us as a special possession, it comes with boundaries. It isn’t freedom to do anything we want simply because we are forgiven. There are boundaries. There are the commandments and the instructions for godly living. Christians are called to be a peculiar people, a people of compassion and unconditional love, a people who live God’s way, not the acceptable ways of society around us. For instance:
Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically. Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful. When God’s children are in need, be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night. If people persecute you because you are a Christian, don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t try to act important, but enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.
But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another.
Lord, make me like You.
In the grip of His grace,