Leviticus. It's that book of the Bible we usually skip past because it brings up all kinds of uncomfortable questions. I happen to be sloshing my way through it right now and one thing is becoming very clear about God. He doesn't like half-hearted commitment. Like I think He'd rather us not commit at all than to kinda commit.
We see this in some of the laws about mixing things...fabrics in clothing, seeds in the garden, life and death, clean and unclean, relationships with neighboring nations, marriages, etc. God was quite clear about maintaining distinct difference. He desires that His children are obviously different from the rest of the world because they are obviously trusting His instructions about how to live.
And yes, I know that we're talking Old Testament here, but God DOESN'T change. His likes and His dislikes don't evolve. He doesn't grow. He doesn't modernize. He is constant, steadfast perfection. So though the world has changed and we no longer recognize Biblical culture in the world around us, that doesn't mean that the heart of God is any different than it was when He set out the law for His chosen people. And when He set out that law He said things like "Be holy as I am holy." "Holy" (Kadash in Hebrews) means "set apart for a specific purpose". Holy is not "mixed in". It's "separated".
Truth is that some things ARE black and white. There is right and wrong. There is good and evil. There is obedience and disobedience. There is truth and lies. There is God and the devil. These things do not change.
We like to mix them though, don't we? We like grey. It means we can have the best of both worlds. We like to go to church, but also hide our light under a bushel. We like to read our Bibles and pray, but also deny the Holy Spirit a voice in our life. We like to talk a good Christian game, but also ignore our gifts, calling, and mission. We want to commit enough to get through the pearly gates, but also have all the best of the comforts and luxuries of earth. We want God to save us, and then leave us alone to live our lives like we see fit.
We like to follow Jesus, but blend in with the world. Can anyone tell the difference in us? When we are in a political crowd or a familial crowd or an entertainment crowd or a waiting crowd, can anyone tell that our first allegiance is to Jesus? I'm not talking about how we vote; there are plenty of debased, evil people in our chosen political party. I'm not talking about how we are dressed; people in Jesus's day dressed like Him, but didn't act like Him. I'm not talking about t-shirts or jewelry with cute Biblical words or phrases on them; you can get those at thrift stores across the country. I'm not even talking about using Christian cliches or quoting Scripture verses; even the devil knows the Bible.
I'm wondering if we sincerely talk differently, if we authentically act differently, if we listen differently, if we relate differently. Are our heart's desires different? Do we look anything like Jesus or do we just use His Name when it suits the situation? Are we patient on the roads, in lines, on the phone, at the restaurant table? Are we kind about the messes, the mistakes, and the mix ups? Are we humble enough to recognize that we may be wrong, that we don't know everything, that we aren't the standard? Are we fair and just in the treatment of our debtors, of our creditors, of our employers, of our employees? Are we honest with ourselves, our children, our friends, and our enemies? Do we intentionally find opportunity to invest into the poor, the orphan, the widow, the stranger?
We're far too comfortable with one foot in the Church and one in the world. God says, "Choose." We want to be forgiven, but we also want to hold grudges. God says "Choose." We want to be blessed, but we also want to curse others. God says, "Choose." We want God to entrust us with favor, but we also want to think only of ourselves and our desires. God says "Choose." We want to trust in God, but we also want to trust in the government or the denomination or the money. God says "Choose." We want to enjoy health and wholeness, but we also want to do, go, act, believe, eat whatever we want, whenever we want. God says "Choose." We want the world to be a safe and peaceful place, but we also want to make our own rules for the world. God says "Choose".
This isn't about throwing up a middle finger at the world and believing there is something special about us that caused God to save us. Not at all. It is about being bright light to a world in need and to a church full of steadily dimming bulbs. It's about loving every person made in God's image in a way that allows them to see Jesus clearly through the great confusing mixture that belongs to this world.
The days of mixed loyalties are coming to an end. God is blowing away the chaff at an accelerated pace, and only the wheat will remain. You see it in the news every day. He is after your whole, imperfect, needy heart or none of it at all. Come out and be separate.
It's time to choose.