Interacting with those on the Outside
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 10:31-32
Since today is Thanksgiving here in the United States, and it is a holiday for most to come together with their natural families who often do not all share a deep passion for the Lord, I thought it was very fitting the words the Lord had for me to share with you all this morning. I have to admit first of all that the things I am about to speak about, in the past I used to be very guilty of. It has been over the past few years that I have seen the error of my past actions. The paths the Lord has allowed me to take because of how I have crossed the lines of my own calling to minister to the Lord within my relationship to Him and my interaction with people who are on the outside of that type of understanding have been rather lonely and difficult because instead of choosing to make my worship private with the Lord I instead found ways to bring my personal relationship with the Lord as a forced and overbearing light in the lives of people around me. It has only been by the grace of God that I can say that my humility in this subject has greatly improved and to Him I give all the praise for that transformation.
Read below what the Lord commanded of the priests to do when they were done with their service to Him in the temple and before they went out among the common crowds:
“'But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,' says the Lord God. 'They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge...When they go out to the outer court, to the outer court to the people, they shall take off their garments in which they have ministered, leave them in the holy chambers, and put on other garments; and in their holy garments they shall not sanctify the people.'” Ezekiel 44:15-16, 19
As I read these verses this morning it really struck me how important was the lesson I learned about keeping my own “holy garments” worn in worship apart from where I walk and interact with those who are on the outside of the one-on-one relationship I have with the Lord. Wearing those garments into public areas only creates barriers that brings division between those who are on the inside with the Lord and those who are on the outside. Making oneself seem holier because of a privilege that has been given to you to live on the inside with the Lord does nothing to bring people closer to God, it only shows people who are watching you that you are stuck up in your beliefs and the product of your devotion does not reflect the God you say you worship or believe in. (Case in point to the woman who left a comment on my blog from yesterday and her website that is filled with her holy garments that on her blog she has put out to air out of her own accord.)
I do not know where you will be spending this Thanksgiving day or who you will be asked to mingle with outside of your holy place with the Lord, but wherever you are asked to go and whatever types of people you are asked to eat and drink with in celebration of this national holiday, remember that the Lord sends you out that in your return to Him you will have given no offense to His name by seeking any glory for yourself, but rather that in coming back to Him your actions of the day will have left evidence in the lives of others for the need to gain salvation through Christ Jesus because His peace and love were evident in all you said and did while around them.