Psalm 97:10 says it as succinctly as it can be said: “O you who love the Lord, hate evil!” This terse exhortation may come as a bit of a surprise to many Christians. “Hate” after all is something we modern followers of Jesus never want to be associated with. We prefer to be described as loving. And of course we should be. But to love what is good involves hating what is evil (Romans12:9; Amos 5:15). Especially when it comes to loving God. How can we say that we love a righteous and holy God while being passive about the things that nailed his Son to a cross? How can we draw near to have fellowship with a perfect and pure Lord and not disdain that which is perverse and impure? Yes, we need the psalmist’s curt rebuke, to hate what is evil, regardless of how unpopular it may be. And though God commands of us this uncomfortable emotion, he clearly prohibits any sinful expressions of hatred. “Be angry and do not sin” God’s word tells us (Ephesians 4:26). That may be hard, but indifference is not the solution. “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil” (Proverbs 8:13). This indignation may drive us to passionate prayer, ardent proclamation or even stern rebuke, but never apathy. So may our zeal for God and love for good be evident. May it rightly be said of us: “They love the Lord and hate evil” (Psalm 97:10)!
-- Pastor Mike
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“The pursuit of happiness” is certainly our heart’s default position. It is our nature to want to experience feelings of pleasure, gladness and enjoyment. Unfortunately, at the present time, we live in a corrupted world, encased in corrupted bodies, pitted against a very powerful corrupted enemy bent on luring us with “harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9). And therein lies the problem with the pursuit of happiness. If we thoughtlessly follow our natural appetites we will undoubtedly fall into a snare leading to multiplied pain and misery.
However, true happiness won't come until we are with Christ. For now, the focus of our daily pursuit must not be happiness, but holiness. What if we woke up each morning and, instead of asking, “what can I do today that will make me happy?” we chose to say, “how can I be more holy today?” Holiness is a pervasive topic throughout Scripture. Unfortunately, it has fallen out of vogue with today’s culture and even the church. We have lost our drive to be holy and righteous. We have replaced sanctification with license under the guise of grace. But if we are to be true followers of Jesus, obedient to His Word, then holiness must take a primary place in our lives.
This month at Focal Point we are excited to offer a resource to help pursue holiness, it's a book by A. W. Tozer called Knowledge of the Holy. In his introduction Tozer writes, “What comes to mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” This classic work emphasizes why it is so important we have a right understanding of God, and delves into core issues like the mercy of God, the love of God and the holiness of God.