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Separation Begins in the Heart

(Mark 7:20-23; John 3:3; Colossians 3:1-3; Romans 12:1,2; 1 John 2:15-17)

Lesson 1 -- first quarter 2001
December 3, 2000

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2000, Christian Light Publications

You don't have to be separate!

Does my emphatic assertion surprise you? It may shock you to have me write it and to have CLP print it. But it is absolutely true. You do not have to be separate! You may think and live like the world. You may sound and look like the non-Christian and the nominal Christian around you. You may pamper your wants and indulge your pride. You may blend in with the worldlings and not stand out like a punker. You may live with your focus on today and you may allow yourself to be driven by selfish motives. You may save your spirituality for all your congregation's services or you may reserve it only for Sunday mornings. You may snipe at and rebel against your elders and leaders, you may quarrel and fight with your peers, and you may lord it over those below you in age or social status.

No, my friend, you really don't have to be separated from the world . . . if you don't want to be separated unto God. If you have insufficient interest in dedicating yourself to God, you don't have to be separated from the world either. And if you aren't anxious to be on God's side after that final separation, then you don't have to be on God's side now either. It really is that simple and that true.

When you begin to see and value separation from that perspective, then you see that separation is your gift of love to God. Separation from the heart does not come because of church rules and discipline, nor does it result merely from the expectations and enforcement of your parents, nor does it happen as a necessary by-product of positive peer pressure. Genuine separation is the fruit of a very special relationship. Without the relationship you don't have the fruit. Without the relationship you don't have to be separate.

Do you have a special relationship?

Separation is required exclusively of those who have God as their Father and Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Do you have such a special relationship with Him? If so, you will desire and strive to be separate from anything that is not worthy of His child. If you have that relationship, you will reject anything that thwarts His lordship in your life. Thus we see that Biblical separation springs from the intimacy of our heart and its relationship with Jesus Christ.

Do you not have such a relationship? Is any separation you practice merely external and the result of external pressures? At your age that is tragic (and even more tragic at my age), but the greatest tragedy would be to pass up this opportunity to establish or renew your relationship with Jesus.

The choice before each of us is not between worldliness and separation from the world. The choice we all have to make is whether or not to commit our lives to an eternal relationship with the Eternal One. Worldliness or separation will result from that choice. The choice is ours, and ours alone. The choice is yours!

What about my parents?!

"They expect me to live a separated life when I don't have a separated heart!" Even so, God commands you to obey and honor your parents. So go ahead and be separate for them; give them and God that gift...and do it cheerfully. I believe you can accomplish this without hypocrisy.

"I want to be more separate than they are or want me to be!" Looks like I'm off the hook on this one! What does your class think God says to this scenario?

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