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  • From the Cedar Street Times, Pacific Grove

What does God say about our separation from Him?Untitled

Merriam-Webster defines separation as: “the act or process of separating; the state of being separated; a point, line, or means of division; an intervening space.” So, what does it mean for us to be separated from God? And, what does He say about our choice to separate from Him?

God desires us to remain close to Him for all eternity, Deut 30:16, “In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.” He knows what will happen to us if we choose to go our own way, Deut 30:17-18, “But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.” God knows we can only stay close to Him by walking the path He has seen for us, every other path leads us away from Him. We have a choice. He is not the one making the choice, we are. But, He wants us to know what will happen if we choose to go our own way. The Jordan River completes the picture of this metaphor, the Jordan River represents the first death and passing over it is our passing on to an eternal life, it is the prolonging of our days for all eternity, or not. So, He calls to us to choose an eternal life with Him, Deut 30:19, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”

If we choose to be reconciled to God, instead of separated from Him, He calls us to be ambassadors, 2 Cor 5:20, "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." What does ‘being reconciled to God’ mean? Rom 5:10, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” God has completed His part in this process, but what is our part? Rom 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” God has never rejected us, far from it; we are the ones who have walked away from Him and His Word. Therefore, we need to complete the reconciliation process by truly recognizing Jesus as our savior and happily following His commandments, not because we are being forced to, but rather, because we know Him and believe in Him, Jn 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent,” which leads us to love Him, as we discover the great love He has for us, 1 Jn 4:19, “We love him, because he first loved us.” The reconciliation process starts when we begin reasoning with His Word.

Jesus’ story of the prodigal son has many facets, however, today we will see it from the perspective of the prodigal son. This son chose to separate himself from his father and took his share of his father’s inheritance with him. He imagined a life of freedom where all his desires would be met, as many of us do today. However, when we are separated from our heavenly Father, we are also separated from his protection, which means, eventually, the enemy will use our desires to have his way with us. Going our own way means we are defying the laws under which our world exists. God is trying to tell us about these laws so that we can avoid the pain and sorry of violating them. Like gravity, once ignored, leads to a great fall with an unhappy ending. Going our own way leads us to focus on pleasures and our selfish nature, which leads to a great fall with an unhappy ending. But, this story of the prodigal son has a happy ending, because the son realized his mistake and returned to his father. When his father saw him returning, he enveloped his son with more love than the son could ever have imagined. This is how our heavenly Father waits for us, Lk 15:17-22, “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:” God is always ready to welcome us home!

Once we decide to follow Jesus, we are to run the race He has set before us, without allowing the sinners and doubters of this world to weary our faith, Heb 12:1-3, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

Ps 69:5, “O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.” We cannot hide our separation from Him, because He sees everything. Once we are separated from Him, we will seek a substitute, for we were created to be part of His eternal family. We have this longing deep within our souls. So, once we have chosen to separate ourselves from God, we will always look for a substitute, a false god, or some other form of a substitute like money, fame, power, sex, drugs, etc. But, He calls us to return to Him and to shun those other gods we would seek to fill the void left by our separation from Him, Ex 20:3, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

Deut 4:12-13, “And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.” The Bible is a large document with many pages; however, Jesus summarized everything in the Bible with but two commandments, Matt 22:37-39, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” These verses can also be summarized into one word, love! Thus, when we truly show our love to everyone, we will be living the truth of the whole Bible. We will no longer be separated from God! We will rather be living within His eternal Word, for God is love, 1 Jn 4:8, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

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