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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Spiritual Separation for Believers

The concept of separation from evil - from all that contradicts, opposes and defies God's character, standards and purposes - is fundamental to God's relationship with His people. According to the Bible, separation involves two dimensions: one negative (relating to what we avoid or must not do) and the other positive (relating to what we should seek after or must do). We must deliberately separate ourselves morally and spiritually from sin. This is everything that is contrary to the work of character of Jesus Christ and God's Word. We must purposefully pursue a deeper and closer relationship with God through time spent in prayer, God's Word, worship and service. By putting our primary efforts into pursuing a deeper relationship with God and fulfilling His purposes for our lives, we will naturally take on Christ's character traits and become further removed from evil. This two-way separation results in a deep sense of our relationship with God as our heavenly Father who lives with us by His Spirit and takes care of us because we are His sons and daughters (2 Col. 6:16-18).

In the New Testament, God commanded Christ's followers to remain separate from the corrupt world system and from behaviors that compromise God's standards of purity and integrity; from those in the church - particularly those who say they are followers of Jesus - who disobey and defy God and refuse to turn from their own ways and follow Christ with passion; and from false teachers, churches or religious systems that promote ungodly beliefs and deny the truth of God's Word as revealed in the Bible.

Our attitude as we are separated must be one of hatred toward sin and the corrupt world system; opposition to false religious teaching, true compassion for those from whom we must be separated in perspective and behavior, which includes a willingness to pray for and reach out to them with the love and message of Christ, and a respectful fear of God.

The purpose of separation is that we as God's people might hold fast to the way of righteousness through Christ and grow in our spiritual salvation, our service and devotion to God as our Lord and Father; and our ability to influence and convince others of the truth of Chris'ts message and the blessings of following Him.

If we separate ourselves in true faith and willing obedience, God Himself rewards us by bringing us into a deeper relationship with Himself. As a result, we will have a greater sense of His protection, blessing and fatherly care. He promises to be everything that a good Father should be. He will be our counselor and guide, and He will love and cherish us as His own children.

The refusal of God's people to separate themselves from evil will surely result in the loss of companionship with God, of acceptance by the Father and of our rights as children of God.

Separation does not mean that we refuse to communicate with or reach out to sinners. Certainly we must avoid relationships, activities and behaviors that would cause us to compromise or defy God's commands, principles and standards. Yet, with God's guidance we also must find ways to reach out to people in love and communicate the message of forgiveness and new life through faith in Christ. However, in doing so we must not foolishly expose ourselves to ungodly temptations and evil influences that could lesson our influence for and and relationship with God.

Many once-committed Christians have made regrettable choices in building close relationships with those who choose to live without God and His standards. As a result, they have discovered the truth and reason behind God's repeated warnings about avoiding spiritually questionable activities and close association with people of "ungodly" character.

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