Devotional thought of the day:
As I wander through the updates of Facebook, I see two basic reactions to immorality.
The first encourages and defends it, asserting that no one has the right to interfere with another’s choices. It doesn’t matter what is immoral, whether it be greed, or lust, or envy. Dare you challenge someone on an immoral act, and you will find great opposition, even to the extent that you will be demonized for opposing that which they have every right (incurring free speech) to do. Result, immorality proposers.
The second is an attempt, rather than dealing with immorality on an individual basis, to legislate it, to prohibit and publicly protest it. We see this all the time, as Christians attempt to sincerely make a difference, or at least try to appear like they are making a difference. In trying to legislate the morality of a culture that is patently immoral, we easily become crusaders or compromisors, willing to give up on this issue, to make a stand on that issue, Eventually, we simply make token stands, like the one church leaders made last year – protesting the requirement for mandated coverage for abortion for those whose work is affiliated with religious ministry. ( Don’t we trust our own people enough that they won’t take advantage of such, but they will come to us for assistance in crisis? For that matter, do we doubt the moral fiber of those we shepherd to not get “into trouble” in the first place?)
So what do we do about morality and immorality? What will radically change the behavior of our country? What will help people not only be able to distinguish what it moral and beneficial to themselves and society, but see a desire to live morally, and to seek remedy and assistance when one fails, (as we all do)
There is an easy answer.
Simply put, when we find ourselves in the midst of a Holy, Righteous, Perfect God, who welcomes us, cleanses us, loves us, we find ourselves in awe, and that awe transforms to joy and that joy into adoration and love. And the more we fall in love with the God who loves us, and blesses us, and makes our life a masterpiece, that awe grows. And as that awe grows, the more the moral fabric of our lives changes.
Look at the stories of the “big-time” saints. St. Paul, St Augustine, St Francis, or the great revivals like the Great Awakening, or the Welsh Revival. In each life, in each revivial, the moral fabric changes, even without being addressed. Like Zacchaeus, an encounter with God leaves us wanting to change, and more than that – seeing the changes created inside us, impelling us, transforming us, renewing and re-creating us in all of His glory.
Some theologians will disagree with me, they will point to the natural law, and the “civil use” of the law. I’ll deal with that some other time – the answer is simple – found in Romans 2-8. But you cannot deny, someone madly in love with God, who is responding to God’s love for them being revealed – they will be transformed, and the more they dwell, the more they live in the presence of His love, the more they will be unable to tolerate sin, and immorality. Within themselves, they will rush to forgiveness, to the places it is promised. They will meditate on their Baptism (see Titus 3:2-8), they will feast on the Body brokem and the Blood shed for the forgiveness of sins, they will confess their sins and hear that they are cleansed of them and all unrighteousness. ANd they will see their brother, their neighbor, those those still fighting for freedom to sin, and they will fight to free them from sin, not simply restrict the ability to.
Adoration result in morality, not as a primary result, but simply as a side affect.
But if it is a moral society you really desire… desire instead the presence of the One who accounts us moral, and righteous, and beloved.