Weekly Sabbath Survey
Separate — 8-10-13
This word SEPARATE can be an adjective or a verb. It is spelled the same for each but pronounced differently. As an adjective it is sep-uh-ret, as a verb, sep-uh-rate. Common adjective use would be separate rooms, separate tables, implying ‘not together’. As a verb, it would be to make a distinction between, to keep apart, to set apart for a special purpose.
From the beginning of time, God created man to be His friend. After the fiasco in the Garden of Eden, He separated a people unto Himself apart from the rest of humanity, to become His sons. They became know as The Children of Israel. He planned to train them in righteousness and let them spread their knowledge of Him and His words to others. This purpose was reiterated when Jesus came and left us with The Great Commission. [Mark 16:15-18]. This tells us to ‘go into all the world and preach the Gospel.’
The Jews and Gentile Believers (Christians) are still required to be separate, in the world but not of it. I understand this best by seeing two separate systems of existence on earth. One is called by Christians “The World” and the other we call “The Kingdom of God.” The lines of demarcation are hard to find at times, other times it should be obvious to all. If we drive by an unattractive building that looks aged and in disrepair with a sign that reads “Miss Kitty & Her XXX Kittens Now Appearing,” most of us would know this is not part of God’s Kingdom. Another nice white building with tended grass and grounds and a sign that says, “Seeking Heart Church Join Us for Sunday Worship 10:00 AM” could mean it’s great, part of The Kingdom, or it might mean nothing of the sort.
It is a painful fact that most everything we encounter in life is part of the World System. Only a small part is the Kingdom of God. In order to live in spite of this, we must put on the ‘separated’ mentality. Jews have done this for centuries, but it may or may not be a spiritual separateness. The Amish did it to the extreme. While I do not subscribe to a ‘Christian uniform’ or living without electricity, I do think Godly people should look and behave differently from people of the world. Godly women should not look like prostitutes. (Paul said this, not me.) There are things said in the Bible about what a Godly person’s body should NOT look like, we should be aware of these from teachings in the church we attend. And when we interact with the people of The World, we should always be honest and reflect Godly values.
Some of us are so afraid to be offensive in today’s ‘correct’ world that we don’t let our faith be known in certain venues. This is a mistake. For the most part, being part of the Kingdom is an inside thing rather than outside. But lifestyle is SO important. Once we have The Kingdom inside, it should always show on the outside with what we do/say and where we go, and who we are with. If we have that separate thing going on, we won’t wonder about a lot of things that might bother us. Like why people don’t treat us right, why we are judged harshly even by people who are supposedly part of the Kingdom, and why our good intentions are thought of as evil. We know that we are separated from all that by God.
There are two things in the Earth that we identify as illustrations of God’s spirit: water and wind. This knowledge comes straight out of the Bible. Both these things afford us a place to float. Just as we would need a boat or glider apparatus to float on water or wind, we also need to be equipped spiritually to be carried by God’s spirit in His river of life and to soar with Him above the chaos and pain of this world.
I have known of people, very crippled or very ill, very old or very hated, who were taken away from their place of enforced solitude up in ways those of us with sturdy limbs and healthy bodies can only dream about. These people made being separated not their prison but their aim. They learned contentment and peace and joy by being with the Lord. And they served Him in ministry to people who sought them out in their place of confinement; and by writing teachings and words of encouragement that have endured many years after they slipped their bonds at last and went to be with Jesus. (Think here of John Bunyon in prison, Fanny Crosby born blind, and Amy Carmichael bed-ridden after a fall for many years until her death at age 82.)
I have come to a place in my own Pilgrim Journey that I am spending more time floating and gliding. I see the Lord as the wind passes over the grass. I hear Him calling from where the birds can go. The world and its system has little appeal and only a small amount of fear for me. The news is bad all the time, but I have the Good News all the time.
“How high we go with our service in the Lord depends on how “separate” we are willing to be.”