Friday, February 18, 2011

Who Will Separate Us?

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

(Romans 8:35,37)

I love these verses! They ask an important question: "who shall (can) separate us from the love of Christ?" They go on to list various troubles that we might think could separate us from His love but then there is an emphatic "NO" given in answer to those things because we are "more than conquerors" over those trials because of His love.

So then we must return to the original question: "who shall (can) separate us from the love of Christ?" I believe the only answer to this questions is: we can. We are the only person or thing that can take ourselves away from God. We choose to separate ourselves from His love and go our own way. Yes, Christ will still love us but we have turned our back on Him and His love and His protection. We have rejected His love. I know it grieves the Father's heart when one of His children walk away from Him.

When Israel turned their backs on God He chose Hosea to bring the Word of God to His erring children. In Hosea 2:14 God speaks of drawing rebellious Israel back to Himself with tender words. Their rebellion separated them from God. God loves His children and like any good father He wants them near Him.

In the New Testament we read the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15: 11-32. To give you a brief recap of the story, there was a man who had two sons. One son asked his father for his inheiritance and went out into the world living wildly and spending his money on sinful things. When his money was all gone and his new found friends too, he came to his senses, and realized he should never have left his father's house. There he had love and food and warm clothing. He was never in want and was surrounded by all that was his father's.

So the young man started for home, thinking that maybe his father would allow him to be a servant. In verse 18 he says: "I will set out and go back to my Father and say to Him: Father I have sinned against heaven and against you." Notice that he said that he had sinned against the Father. That's how he had separated himself from the love of the Father, by sinning. That's how we do too. We serve a holy God and sin cannot be in the presence of holiness. So we separate ourselves from God when we sin. But the story doesn't end there and neither does ours.

The Father kept watching for his son to return. When he finally sees in the distance, his son is coming towards home, he shouts out orders to his servants to quickly get a robe and a ring and kill a fatted calf because his son has come home! Verse 20 tells us that the Father ran to his son! He was so happy and thankful and relieved that his son was home where he belonged, under his Father's protection.

He wasn't going to put his son in the role of a servant, he was his beloved son who had come to his senses. He wanted him to have a robe and a ring, both of which would identify him as being a son of the Father. The feast that followed was a celebration! Luke 15:7 tells us that all of Heaven rejoices or celebrates when one sinner comes home to the Father.

We are the only ones who can separate ourselves from the Lord. We turn our back on Him when we choose to live our own way instead of His way. A backslidden state is never one that someone sets out to have. It usually comes on very gradually. We take baby steps away from instead of towards the Father and one day find that we have stopped reading the Word, we have stopped praying, we have stopped going to church, stopped seeking His face, stopped talking about Him, stopped relying on Him, and stopped having anything to do with Him. If we come to our spiritual senses we realize that we are so far away from the Father and we must go back Home.

My prayer is that if you have read this devotional and you find yourself away from where you want to be with the Father that you will realize that He is waiting for you. He is watching for you to return to Him. He is speaking to you, even now, to return to Him. He will not treat you like a servant. He wants you for His son or daughter. He will never hold your past against you and you have never gone too far away from Him that He will not welcome you back.
Run away from the sin you have found yourself in and run to the Father. He will run towards you and welcome you with open arms!

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