"Hold you!? Hold you!?"
My two year old son says this...all...the...time... He constantly wants me to hold him. If I'm around he wants me to hold him. If he knows I'm home I can hear him in the other room wanting me to hold him. I'm convicted by this in two ways. First, I'm convicted that the frequency of his request irritates me. If you are a parent you'll have greater empathy for my response, but that doesn't let me off the hook. To be blunt, his request and my reaction reveals the level of selfishness in me. I'm struck by that...struck to the core. I need to have this mirror held up so I can see the inside. Oh, how I need it!
The second area of conviction comes from the reaction my Father has to my "Hold you!?" requests. He does. He picks me up. He holds me. He puts me on His lap. But he never is annoyed. Never! "Love is patient, love is kind...it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered..."(1) And then again, "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."(2) So God not only does all those things in the Corinthians passage...He IS all those things. And in the areas of my life that I am not all those things...I don't know God. Wow...I need to know Him better.
I've been holding onto a thought to help me deal with those times I don't "feel" like picking up my son. "I won't be able to do this much longer." He won't be asking this of me when he's a teenager, and I'll be longing for these days...wishing I had picked him up more. But here's the subtle problem...this thought is still "me" focused. It is not a pure motivation of love. I'm just that selfish...even my mental tricks to help me do the right thing are not pure.
Now, please don't give me a pass and say, "Well, we're all sinners and at least you are trying to do the right thing, Trey." And here's why...It is beneficial for me to stay in conviction. We let people out of the place of conviction and penitential sorrow too quickly. Peter, applying the words from the Old Testament to us in the church writes the words of God saying, "Be holy, because I am holy."(3) The goal of this life is our becoming holy. If we don't stay in conviction we are escaping the fire that purifies the gold. We don't let the light of the glory of God reveal what is in the shadows of our heart. We close the door back and say, "comfort is our goal and the status quo is our god." No thank you!
Before I finish I have to make sure I clarify that I'm not talking about staying in guilt...but staying in conviction. The former is a destructive tool that leads only to destruction. The later is a destructive tool that leads to the tearing down of the old for the purpose of rebuilding and even the recreating the child of God.
May the light of God's glory reveal that which is unholy in us all...as He freely and lovingly holds you!