Now that spring has officially sprung, I am feeling the old familiar need to start weeding out and de-cluttering. This is the time of year I want to put away the sweaters and clean out the dead stuff in the backyard.
It’s a time to watch new things grow. But, in order to reap the benefits of enjoying a spruced up yard and de-cluttered house, I need to get a little dirty first.
In reading through Chapters 11 through 16 of Leviticus, I learned about the laws God put forth in order to keep His people set apart from non-believers. These chapters give very specific guidelines on the ways in which God intends for His people to live and worship.
There are laws established for cleanliness (see Leviticus Chapter 11) and purification of those suffering from disease (see Leviticus Chapter 13). These laws were set by God to prepare the people for living a “clean” life and for worshipping Him with a “pure” heart.
When reading these Chapters, it is important to understand that these laws were set to establish a relationship with God. Not because God wanted to set rules, but because God wanted His people ready and prepared to worship Him and follow Him. He is much more concerned with relationship than with rules.
Moving onto Hebrews Chapters 6 through 9 of the New Testament, we are challenged to set aside our “fundamental” teachings of the Bible and move toward a more mature understanding of the Word (see Hebrews Chapter 6).
Jesus is established as our eternal High Priest (see Hebrews Chapter 7) and we see that He replaces the old law requiring animal sacrifices to atone (or in other words make amends) for our sins. Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice and He removed our sin through sacrificing himself on the cross. Therefore, Jesus was the only perfect sacrifice which granted us permanent forgiveness.
These chapters make an important point, which we should be careful not to miss, that in order to enjoy eternal life with God we need to grow through God. The laws of the old covenant were established between God and Israel. The new covenant, however, is not written on stone tablets. It is written on the hearts of God’s people, “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Hebrews 8:10 NLT).
The old covenant becomes obsolete and Christ is established as the new covenant. What an important and powerful message to believers of embracing God’s grace and choosing to grow out of it.
It is hard to live set apart from the people and the things in this world that try to distract us. But our God is good. He will protect us if only we put our faith and trust in Him. Like my house that needs to be de-cluttered and weeded out, so does my heart. If I do not spend time in God’s word and following His ways, how can my heart grow and flourish in my relationship with Him?
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2 NLT).