More Shock. More Awe. More Holiness.

June 21, 2011

Shock and awe. It seems to be a popular strategy for starting wars (see “Gulf War II”) or getting dates (see “Hitch”) but not so much for the Christian’s pursuit of personal holiness. Rather than to be shocked by the sinfulness of sin and in awe of the purity of Christ, many Christians opt for complacency and comfort.

Ezra did not buy this lax approach. He stuck with shock and awe. Check out his response to the sin of the people of Israel: “As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled.” (Ezra 9:4) He goes on to pray, “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens.” (Ezra 9:6)

In addition to his clear grasp of the seriousness of Israel’s iniquity, Ezra goes so far as to include himself in the situation with the first person pronouns. American evangelicals are often quick to be shocked when some state approves same-sex marriage or when Lady Gaga releases a new single yet so slow to be disgusted by the sin in their own lives.

We should be appalled by sin – it is rebellion against the King of the Universe. We should be amazed at the cost required for our redemption – the precious blood of Christ. In fact, these emotions should build up a hunger for holiness. We should thirst for righteousness. This weekend at Compass Bible Church, we sang a couple songs that expressed these desires.

“Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity”
-“Hosanna” by Brooke Fraser

“Give us clean hands
Give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another”
-“Give Us Clean Hands” by Charlie Hall

Let’s be shocked over our sin. Let’s be in awe of both God’s justice and love. And let’s long for holiness.

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