Emmanuel Grace

Built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself being the Cornerstone

The Principle of the Ditches

There is a principle that keeps coming up over and over again no matter what we seem to be talking about at Emmanuel Grace. It's the principle of the narrow path and the ditches on either side of that path. Maybe the best way to explain this is to give a few examples that I see happening in the church around the world.
God is holy. We know this. In fact, there are angels around His throne proclaiming day and night for all of eternity, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." There is no sin in God. In fact, a good definition of sin is, "Rebellion against God, His character, His ways, or His laws." 
God is also love. This is clearly stated in the Bible. It's not just that God loves, but He is the very definition of love. And He not only says that He loves and that He is love, He has shown His love in the most undeniable way by dying on the cross for us so that we could be set free from the guilt of our sin and truly live. And He did this even while we hated Him. 
Because God is holy and because He is love, we too are called to be holy as He is holy and we are called to love in the same way that He loves. But what has often happened in the church is that someone who tries to live out and proclaim God's holiness, forgets to love. And someone who tries to concentrate on loving people, wanders away from the importance of holiness. 
It's weird to think that either love or holiness can become a ditch for us to fall into, but they can. And so we must understand this. True holiness without love is not holiness. And true love without holiness is not true love. 

One more example. The gifts of the Holy Spirit. There are some in the church who are very uncomfortable talking about the gifts of the Holy Spirit much less operating in the gifts. Prophecy scares them. Speaking in tongues freaks them out. And they don't even want to think about the gift of the Apostle. "Why don't we just love. Let's just concentrate of loving others and living good lives." 
Then there are others in the church who think the gifts of the Spirit are the be all and end all. They are more important than anything, especially the gift of tongues. They are far more interested about a vision that someone had or a prophetic word than they are about whether or not a person walks in love, joy, peace, patience and so forth. Some would even claim that if you don't speak in tongues, you might not be a Christian. 
Both of these are ditches on opposite sides of the path that we are called to walk on. The gifts of the Spirit are given by God and so they should be celebrated and embraced. They are given for the building up of the church. But they are not more important that the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. They are not the goal. The goal is God. His name being lifted high through our lives. They will know that we are disciples of Christ by our love. 
And so, don't neglect the gifts that God has given. And don't hold them so highly that you forget what is important. They should have their proper place in our lives as revealed in scripture, to the glory of God for the building up of His church.

These are just two examples of the principle of the ditches. Be alert. The path is narrow and we tend to veer for the ditches quite easily. But thanks be to God, He is merciful and promises to lead us.


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