Thursday, January 8, 2009

Unequally Yoked

Have you noticed how many “on-line dating services” there are out there these days? “Matching” folks up must be really big business.
One of the services that catches my attention the most advertises that it matches up members “scientifically” based upon “29 key dimensions of compatibility.” They claim to have found the “core traits” and “vital attributes” that enable them to . . . well, the following quote is from their website: “By combining the best scientific research with detailed profiling of every member, we screen many hundreds of thousands of profiles to bring you only the ones that have the potential to be truly right for you.”
It must work because they have tons of “success stories.” Sometimes I think I’d like to join (along with my wife, of course) and see if they would actually match us up with each other (again) under their system. You see, there wasn’t a lot of science that went into our getting matched up initially – she finally agreed to go out with me back in high school so I latched on to her and wouldn’t let go.

Using some type of “profiling” to determine relationship compatibility may work great in some contexts, but probably not in others. Take, for example, the most important relationship that can be conceived – our relationship with God.
What dimension of “compatibility” is there that could possibly enable me to have a relationship with God?
· First of all, of course, God is holy. However, I am far from being holy. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. (Psalm 51:5) As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. (Romans 7:17-18)
So, it doesn’t look like I am too compatible with God on the “holy” characteristic.
· O.K., let’s look at “omnipotence.” God can do whatever He wants; He is all-powerful and His powers cannot be resisted by any force in heaven or earth. On the other hand, I have a hard time getting the lid off of the mayonnaise jar. I can’t really control anyone else. And despite what Al Gore may say, I do not even possess the power to impact the weather.
"O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.” (2 Chronicles 20:6)
I’m afraid I’m not too compatible on the “omnipotence” characteristic either.
· We all know the God is “omnipresent,” but I can be in only one place at any particular time. I am very time/space limited, although I seem to be taking up more and more space all of the time. However, in looking at God - Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. (Psalm 139:7-10)
You can see that God isn’t so time/space confined as I am. He is everywhere all of the time.

That is not very compatible with me and my limitations.
· Mmm - what about knowledge and intelligence? Romans 11:32-34 tells us: Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?" But, that is just about the opposite of me. My knowledge is very measurable and not particularly impressive. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. (1 Corinthians 1:25)
Obviously, God and I aren’t exactly what you’d call “intellectual equals.”
· Well, what about “life experiences?” I’ve seen nine U.S. presidents. I witnessed the fall of the USSR and the death of apartheid. I’ve also watched as water went from being “free” to costing $1.95/bottle. I’ve been around the block a time or two.
But Jesus said, “I tell you the solemn truth, before Abraham came into existence, I am!” (John 8:58, NET) And Genesis 1:1 tells us: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Necessary to be inferred from that is: God was already there!
And finally, we can read: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:1-3)
So it appears that perhaps God and I aren’t too compatible when it comes to “life experiences,” either. He has definitely seen a bit more than I have.

Man – as I start thinking about lots of other characteristics of God (His grace, His justice, His perfection, His love), I see just how incompatible with Him I am.
I am not just “less” than Him – I’m totally unlike Him.
And yet . . . .

Christ arrived right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready. . . But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. (Romans 5:6-8, MSG, emphasis added)
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Ephesians 1:5, NLT, emphasis added)
[W]hen the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, . . . so that he might redeem [us]. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, "Papa! Father!" Doesn't that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you're also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance. (Galatians 4:4-7, MSG)

So - even though my differences and short-comings were infinite when compared to Him, God chose to make me a son! He gave to me what I couldn’t earn and didn’t deserve! The Creator reached out to the “created” and made possible a relationship.
Although this relationship makes no logical sense from the perspective of the various “on-line” matching services, it was what I would have to call “a match made in heaven.”
Well, actually it was a match made at Calvary.

Thank you Lord, for knowing my profile and choosing me anyway.

Matched with Him,
Craig Hollingsworth

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