Posted in Christian Living, Faith

Be Reconciled: Learn to Listen


tabernacle_sm

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.  Now, all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.    Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.   –2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (NASB)

As you probably already know, the traditional tabernacle where the Jewish people worshipped God had an area known as the “Holy of Holies.”  Before the sacrifice made by Christ, this room was as close as any person could get to God.  Only the highest priests were allowed to enter, and before they could walk through the curtain that separated this place from the rest of the temple, they had to purify themselves.  This curtain is the same that tore in two at the moment that Christ died on the cross.

The torn curtain is a symbol of what Christ’s death and resurrection did for us.  It reconciled us to God, giving us direct access to the Holy of Holies through our acceptance of Christ Himself as the sacrificed Lamb who died for our sins once and for all.  Being thus reconciled to God, Paul explains in his second letter to the Corinthians that we are now a new creation, people who, being filled with the Holy Spirit, now long for that which is right and good rather than the desires and temptations of the flesh.

This new way of being is a daily choice, for the world in which we live is full of distractions.  Instead of allowing the Spirit in us to guide us, our brains are literally hard-wired to feel first and think later.

Feelings are inherently immature. God warns us not to lean on the guiding of the heart, “the great deceiver.” Acting on feelings is what leads David to sin against God with Bathsheba. Feelings make the Israelites call to Aaron for a golden God when Moses disappears up the mountain.

If you will let Him, the Holy Spirit will save you from those emotional responses that need to be tempered by a logical, God-fearing mind. The Holy Spirit fills you with empathy instead of rage when that car pulls right in front of you on the freeway or when you become the victim of somebody else’s bad day.  It guides you to choose the right path even when the wrong path looks ever-more inviting.

The Holy Spirit, the marking of a soul reconciled to its God, is what makes it possible for a feeling-driven human to become a true ambassador of Christ, a person who, through his or her actions, makes others understand that God really does love each and every one of us, wanting all to be saved.

Discerning the guiding of the Holy Spirit as opposed to our feelings is not easy. There is a reason that Jesus tells us the way is narrow instead of wide. If you need to know if what you are thinking is in line with God’s teaching, you have to know something about what those lessons are. You will discover this best by studying the Word, discussing His Word with others and staying in communication with God by speaking to Him often and also learning to be still and listen for His answers.

If you have never been reconciled to God, know that reconciliation is a gift, bought for you at the ultimate price, paid for by the blood of the totally innocent Christ. All you have to do to claim this gift is have faith, to believe that Christ died for you and accept Him as your Savior.

Do not live your life as if the curtain separating you from the mighty God still hangs between you and that love. Live the truth of the torn curtain by welcoming the Holy Spirit into your daily walk with Christ. Know His word, and you will recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit as surely as you hear your mother’s voice telling you those life lessons you know but are letting your feelings override. The Holy Spirit is the voice telling you:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Dwell on the glorious truth that you are reconciled to God and discover how much easier it is to be forgiving towards others and yourself.

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Author:

I am a 40-something Texan with a feisty cat and a supportive husband of 20 years. With a Master's degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing, I have taught creative writing at Texas Tech, won awards for my writing and been blessed to be mentored by Horn Professor and poet Dr. Walt McDonald. I earn a living by helping my husband's family run a health food store, but my avocation is writing. I hope you enjoy reading about some of my triumphs and tragedies as I continue to work on figuring out what life is all about and on growing my ability to share my writing. May your own journey be a blessed one.

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