There is not much about people that you can learn by observing their shadow. Really all a shadow can do is simply point you to the more substantial object that is casting the shadow.
The Hebrew Christians were being tempted, under the threat of intensified persecution to return to keeping the Law as a means of obtaining right standing with God. For these Jewish Christians to abandon the Gospel for the Law would be like being attracted to someone by their shadow, meeting them in person, then saying: “I like your shadow better!” or would be like camping out on a blueprint instead of living in the building itself.
Things have not changed over the centuries. There always have been and always will be a multitude who would rather have a “shadow” religion rather than a vital relationship. Paul described these people in 2 Timothy 3:4-5
“…traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
Why would someone choose a form over substance? Why would they want to “camp out on a blueprint” when they could live in a mansion with God? Here are a few reasons. Perhaps you can think of others.
1. They don’t really want a relationship with God. They see God not as a loving Father but more as a celestial sugar daddy who exists to cater to their every whim. They are interested in God’s goods but they are not particularly interested in God Himself. They pursue God in times of crisis but when the storms of adversity have past they continue to live their self-centered lives as if there was no God until the next calamity when they will take Him down from a long forgotten shelf in their closet, dust Him off, weep some crocodile tears and recite once again their doleful mantra of, “Where are you, god?”
2. They don’t want to change. There are many who would be happy with a relationship with God if they could be certain He wouldn’t require anything of them. They enjoy the sweet fellowship of the saints and the atmosphere of loving acceptance. They love the comforting sermons, the exhilarating worship and all the other warm fuzzy aspects of Christian life but when the Holy Spirit begins to bring conviction of sin, or persecution arises or simply that following Christ will cost something or require a radical change of lifestyle, the hand goes up and they begin to back away in protest. Beloved, if you or I desire a relationship with God, we had better settle it from the first that we can expect radical changes and none of those changes are on God’s side! God loves us just as we are but He loves us too much to allow us to remain that way!
3. They are not willing for the honesty, and transparency that true intimacy demands. Someone once defined intimacy as, “into me see.” God is into relationship but He is not into casual or shallow relationship. God is a fiery, passionate, jealous lover, a consuming fire of Divine love Who in His deep affections consumes everything that is not of or like Himself. It is truly of the Lord’s mercy that we are not consumed by that vehement flame and charred to a crisp. Indeed if it wasn’t for the Cross and the reality that we are in Christ and He in us, every human being would face the terrible, righteous judgment of the Thrice Holy God! Nothing is hidden from God’s eyes. He knows us perfectly and yet continues to love us. However, He demands that we be honest and forthright with Him and to deal sincerely with Him about those things His Holy Spirit is dealing with us about. God is in the business of “laying the axe to the root of the tree” and sometimes the revelation and cleansing of that bitter root of sin is a painful process, nevertheless, “…afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who are exercised by it. [His discipline.]
God has paid a terrible price through the death of His own Son on the Cross so that through that eternal sacrifice we might know our God in the most intimate way. God desires authentic relationship, not a form of religion that denies the life changing power that only a relationship with Him can accomplish. Let’s be done with “shadows” and embrace the reality of life altering relationship with our Abba!
Created about 1 year ago