Today Morley talks to us about being fully devoted to God. Not God and money. Not God and "sensual pleasures" as Morley puts it. Not God and the relative values of our culture. Just God.
One of today's challenges to being totally devoted to God is the mantra of diversity. How can we be totally devoted to God and embrace diversity? Perhaps the answer lies in the way that God Himself handles it.
The diversity of God is a wonderful thing. God created people in His own image, and that image is reflected in part through the diversity of humanity. Regardless of skin color or ethnic background, the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23 (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance) is a reflection of God. These fruits make themselves apparent in a life fully devoted to God.
Diversity, though, is not a license to accept perversion or compromise of God's ways. The diversity of man is a diversion from the diversity of God. Regardless of skin color or ethnic background, works of the flesh described in Galatians 5:19-21 (adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and the like) separate us from God. In his notes on this passage of the New Testament, John Wesley observed, "Some of the works here mentioned are wrought principally, if not entirely, in the mind; and yet they are called 'works of the flesh.' Hence it is clear, the apostle does not by 'the flesh' mean the body, or sensual appetites and inclinations only, but the corruption of human nature, as it spreads through all the powers of the soul, as well as all the members of the body." Wesley taught that these works of the flesh corrupt us inside and out.
Morley focused on Solomon's failure to remain fully devoted to God. The wisest man in history fell victim to some of the same works of the flesh that Paul mentioned in his letter to the Galatians. Do we really think that we will come out any better than Solomon if we compromise our devotion to God? If so, we had better think again! Do we believe or act as though works of the flesh are compatible with a Godly life? Here's some news--they are not!
Full devotion to God is essential to our spiritual walk. Even while we embrace the diversity of God's creation, we must remain focused on the holiness of God's ways for our lives. Blending into the culture around us is tempting. It caught Solomon. Solomon's failure should warn us of the dangers in trying to lead the life of a "cultural Christian." It doesn't work, even if we think we are smart enough to handle it.
Dear Lord, at this moment I am focused on you. I am completely devoted to you. Show me your diversity and let me revel in it. Give me understanding to recognize the diversions of man's diversity so that I can cling to you and not be pulled away, for I know that the best place for me is with you. Amen.
Grace and peace--