Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Staying Close to the Source

Photo by L. Jones
A Trip To Israel

Over the last two weeks, I had the awesome opportunity to travel to the Nation of Israel as part of a large touring and missions trip, mostly made up of members from my church. A deep, meaningful part of our trip was our guide as well as our pastor quoting Scripture and giving spiritual teaching as we viewed the various sites around Israel.

At one tour site in the Northern Galilee region, we visited a nature preserve near the ancient city of Tel Dan. This nature preserve lies extremely close to Mount Hermon. This mountain is the highest point in Israel, and for a good portion of the year, at least, has snow at its peak. During the spring season, melt water from the snow cap on top of Mt. Hermon comes racing down the mountain across the countryside in a bunch of small and large streams. These various streams eventually merge together to form the beginnings of the Jordan River.

So, while our group trekked our way through the preserve, we started crossing over all of these numerous trickles and torrents of water. You would not believe how fast this water was running, either! And the purity of the water is crystal clear. It was so clean, in fact, that members of our group were bending down to grab a drink in their hand or fill their water bottles.

A Spiritual Emphasis

At one smaller stream off the beaten trail, our guide stopped the group and began discussing the purity of the water. He mentioned that the closer we are to the source of this water, Mt. Hermon, then the cleaner the water will be. As you follow the path of the water south, we see that it flows from the beginnings of the Jordan River down to the Sea of Galilee, then down to the main body of the Jordan River, finally emptying into the Dead Sea. As this water moves, we find that it gradually gets less and less pure, until it ends up undrinkable at its final destination, the Dead Sea, in which animals or plant life can live due to its high salt content. The further the water traveled from its original source, the less pure it becomes.

This principle is also true in our spiritual lives. God is our ultimate source of holiness and righteousness. The closer we can move in our relationship to God, the “purer” we become. The farther away from God that we get, the more polluted our lives become. We get enamored with the fleshly desires of this world instead of God’s desire for our lives. We can end up spiritually dead, just as the Dead Sea is devoid of all plant and animal life.

A Spiritual Examination

So, how about you? Where are you at today, this week, or this year in your relationship to the source? If you were to put your spiritual life under a microscope, would it be considered pure or contaminated? In your spiritual life, are you closer to the source, just like the melt water of Mt. Hermon, or are you far away from the source, just like the contaminated water of the Dead Sea?

If you’re away from God, your source of purity and righteousness, what do you need to do to get back to the source? The good news is that God is crazy in love with you! He gave His only Son in order to redeem your life so that you can have a relationship with Him in the first place! Ask the Father to forgive you for moving away from Him. Get in the Word. Spend time in prayer. Be faithful in your attendance and service in your local church. Connect with fellow believers in a small group. Form an accountability group with a few close friends. Do whatever it takes to stay close to the life-giving properties of the pure source for your spiritual life, God Almighty!

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