I am disturbed today, so I must tell you that up front because it will affect what I am about to say.
I was told as a young Christian, ‘God either works or He doesn’t.’ That was told to me by an older person who had walked this Christian life for years. It never really impacted me, however, until I was faced with circumstances that I could not control or change. I am at that point now in my life. Let me explain.
‘God either works or He doesn’t’ means that God is who the Bible says He is, and He does not change. I have been asking God this morning for miracles, something I rarely focus on because my faith often isn’t there to support them. I confessed before God today of my shortcomings in trusting Him because I usually try to fix whatever it is that I was trusting Him to fix. However, there are many things in life you cannot fix, and it will only be an act of God that will fix them.
So, as I am complaining to God, I hear Him say, “There is no in between.” What does that mean? It means that either God works or He doesn’t … there is no in between. Isn’t that what the Bible teaches us throughout its pages? Israel tried to put an in between with God and God gave them the first three commandments. No in betweens … it’s Me or nothing. Isn’t that right? Jesus told us He is the way, the truth, and the life … there are no in betweens with Him either. There are no in betweens with God ever. It is either Him or nothing. He is not willing to share you with culture, with religion, with family, with loved ones. No one. He must be number one and He must remain number one, or you will have nothing. Did you hear that? HE IS NUMBER ONE OR YOU HAVE NOTHING.
The American gospel is flawed when it tells us God wants us to be prosperous, or relevant, or self-aware. We often get messages that God has our backs no matter what. My question to all of that is, “How well did that go for Israel?” His own chosen people thought the same, “God has a temple here, we have the Ark of the Covenant, we are the chosen people, so what could go wrong, right?” Wrong! God has given us the Bible, the Holy Spirit, the Church, and myriads of helps like Bible studies, Christian media outlets, and books galore … yet our lives are still struggling with living this life. Why? It is because we have chosen to live in the in betweens.
God is good, God is just, God has our backs … but does He have the number one place in our lives? If I want miracles, I cannot live in the in betweens because the in betweens are places of compromise. In the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures), there were places called ‘the high places.’ These were the places where compromise took place between the worship of Jehovah and the gods of the culture. Today, we have the high places of the in betweens. We mix and match our lives with God … we all know it’s covered by grace, right? Wrong. Grace will never cover our living in the in betweens because the first three commandments tell us so. God’s grace is for us to place those first three commandments in our lives and leave them there … forever. Grace is not an excuse to live in the in betweens … not ever. God wants us to know He does love us and that His love is eternal, but He will not share us with other gods and other interests that place us in this common place known as the in betweens.
I think you get my point.
So, let me be practical. Lying, cheating, hating, being disparaging to others, disrespectful, being dishonest, being prideful, unforgiving, accusatory, unfaithful to your marriage, living in excuses, critical, negative toward others, judgmental, quitting commitments, swearing, keeping a record of offenses, lusting, angry with God because He wouldn't fix it as you want it … these are all behaviors of people who live lives in the in betweens. God is not first because of the compromise of how you live your life. If God was number one in your life you would be so convicted of your compromise, that you would do anything to stop what was not pleasing to God.
God can forgive anything … except when He is not number one in your life. I believe that is what Jesus meant by the ‘unpardonable sin.’ It is the unbelief that is damning … not the acts of bad behavior. When God is not number one, is that not unbelief? You decide. But, for me it is! The Gospel is free. The Gospel is freedom from being held captive by our sins. But the Gospel requires that once you accept the forgiveness of the Gospel, God now is first in your life.
I have met so many Christians who say they are saved and Jesus is their Savior, then they go home and beat and belittle their spouses and family members. I know believers who think it’s okay to divorce their spouses because they no longer are attractive to them, or the situation is hopeless. The relationship died, so what is the point of continuing? I tell you why it’s important. If you are a believer, you made a vow before God, and if you renege on that vow that makes you a liar and you are living a life of the in betweens.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not as hard-hearted as I sound here but come on, either God works or He doesn’t in these hard issues in life. That is my point. It’s not the hard message you are reading, it’s the reality of, “does God work, or doesn’t He?” Is He first in your life, or does your discomfort, distress, or anxiety come first? You see, God wants to be number one in your life and in everything you do. One last thought on this … it may be a minor issue considering what I’ve said for far, but it is important. I can't believe how Christians swear and then apologize for it. DON'T DO IT. It is not becoming to keep God first and use the f-bomb to express your frustration. You may despise me for telling you the truth, but I refuse to let the in between life go unchallenged. Remember, I am working through this as well and I no longer want to live in the in between life. Period.
So, now you know why I am disturbed. My heart is not as holy as it should be, so I have determined to get out of the in between life and keep Him number one. How about you?
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler