Wednesday, January 3, 2018

When You Approach God Is Your Hat In Your Hand?

Clouds and darkness surround Him… —Psalm 97:2

{CHAMBERS} “A person who has not been born again by the Spirit of God will tell you that the teachings of Jesus are simple. But when he is baptized by the Holy Spirit, he finds that “clouds and darkness surround Him….” When we come into close contact with the teachings of Jesus Christ we have our first realization of this. The only possible way to have full understanding of the teachings of Jesus is through the light of the Spirit of God shining inside us. If we have never had the experience of taking our casual, religious shoes off our casual, religious feet— getting rid of all the excessive informality with which we approach God— it is questionable whether we have ever stood in His presence. The people who are flippant and disrespectful in their approach to God are those who have never been introduced to Jesus Christ. […] Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). […] …. the way God speaks to us; not by visions and dreams, but by words. When a man gets to God, it is by the most simple way— words.”

{ELGIN} Are you familiar with the idiom “Coming with your hat in your hand”?  It means to approach someone “In a meek or submissive manner. (The removal of one's hat is typically a gesture of respect.)”  Men used to tip their hat  or grab the brim and move it downward as a show of respect.  Standing before God with our hats in in our hands is comparable to Moses removing his sandals because He was standing on holy ground. When we come to worship, we may come just as we are, but we must be careful that we are not prideful in our attitude toward God thinking He can “take it or leave it”.  You are thinking, “I would never do that?”  Well, my fear is that many of us refuse to remove our hats when we stand before God.

Over the past 30 years, there has been a shift in how people dress on Sunday morning.  We no longer wear our “Sunday go to meetin’ clothes”, but whatever we pull out o the closet.  If a man wears a suit and tie to church people think he is going to preach.  You know that God judges the heart of man, not his outward appearance.  But very often the outward appearance is a reflection of the heart.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I don’t think Moses had a suit and tie on when God interrupted his life … he had on work clothes.  This is not about clothing.  It’s about reverence.  In times past, I am certain that many people came to church “all dolled up”, “dressed to the nines” (I love those old sayings) with sin in their heart, looking for recognition by men and not God.  What I am concerned about is that we may have lost our awareness that we have come to worship a Holy God.  When we approach Him, on any day, it must be with an awareness that the only reason we have access to God is because of Jesus and His sacrifice. (Hebrews 4:13-16) “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

The next time you pray .. read the Word of God .. attend a worship service … maybe even take your next breath … keep this in mind.  He is the potter, we are the clay.  We are saved by grace through faith and not works .. there is nothing we can take credit for.  So take off your hat!

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