Having a free pastry at Panera Bread was a beautiful motivational cause as I woke up at 5:30 in the morning. One of my most favorite things in life is coffee with Jesus in the morning, and that is exactly what I planned to do as I pulled up to Panera an hour before I needed to head to work. As I am reading Leviticus, I fully expected to have plenty of time to read Mere Christianity after I finished my Bible reading. I couldn’t be more wrong. The Living Word took new form once again!
So do not act like the people in Egypt, where you used to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you. You must not imitate their way of life. You must obey all my regulations and be careful to obey my decrees for I am the Lord your God. If you obey my decrees and my regulations, you will find life through them. I am the Lord. ~Leviticus 18:3-5
First of all, I find it interesting that God specifically warns the Israelites about their past AND their future. Sin and temptation is all around us. It was in their past, and it was going to be in their future. But God is specifically calling them out and telling them to not be swayed by it, to be set apart.
It really is not different for us. Sin and temptation still lurk at every corner. They were a part of our past and they will be in our future. We must resist temptation, and we must serve the Lord only! In living a life above reproach, we are to not live so close to the worldly practices that people don’t see the difference. We are to be set apart, even “Holy as the Lord is holy.”
It goes further! The Israelites probably sat there thinking, “Why does God limit my fun? Why does He have rules on every fun thing? Drinking isn’t bad per say, it even is said to be good for you. Why would God make sex so good if He is just going to surround it with a bunch of rules?…” (Does it sound a little familiar?) God, however, knew they would try to make these excuses, so he made sure to tell them that following His “regulations” would bring life!
Of course, legalism is not life, but to follow God and His ways is abundant, overflowing life! When we do things in God’s timing (like sex in marriage), we find that it is good, pure, and lovely, the way God intended it. If we really look at it, we find that many of God’s laws are simply good living. We desire the opposite of His law because we are carnal beings with a depraved nature and because the enemy has tainted it, giving us a false replica (that pales to God every time) of all good things from the Lord. Sex, if done in marriage with one man or woman, is good and pleasing to the Lord. Fornication, pornography, lust, masturbation, homosexuality, polygamy, adultery, and incest are all perversions, false replicas, of the good thing God intended. Drunkenness is the false replica of living a life full of the Holy Spirit and joy. Gluttony, which I struggle with, is a false perversion of the joy in being content in God. The lie continues beyond even sin; the enemy has a replica for everything. The point here is that God’s laws are good for us!
Lastly, I found this passage to be so true in my personal life. God has recently been calling me out and challenging me. I must not return to my spiritual Egypt, a dry place where I was tortured with living below what I know God had for me. As I go forward, I also cannot look to Canaan for fulfillment, although I am not sure what that looks like yet. All of me only for God. Wholly consecrated, wholly devoted, Only for God. Only for God.