The Only One

"To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work." {Titus 1:15-16}

"I want to be the only one
On the throne of your heart
The only one that moves you

I will remove the names of your lovers
Even the memory of their face will fade away
I will write on you My name forever
I will be known by you as Faithful and True

So come back, come back
I'll take you to the start
Come back, come back
I'll take you to your First Love."
{Only One by Harvest}

There is a terrible habit one must be cautious of when approaching Scripture: the habit of skipping over things that you don't think are for you. I slip into this more than I'd like to admit. I close my eyes when the words are hard, I thumb through the pages for feel-good books. Or books that I can pretend are feel-good.

Don't get me wrong, it's all good news for the redeemed.

We just need to evaluate our definition of "good news."

I was struck by Luke's telling of John the Baptist's ministry ... John said a lot of hard, convicting things to the people. He preached repentance. He called people out and told them to change their ways{Luke 3:1-20}. He was passionate about holiness and righteous living. A people prepared for the Lord; emptied of their selves and their pride.

Luke says of John, "with many other exhortations, he preached good news to the people." {Luke 3:18}

This hard truth was good news. This harsh light shining on our darkest places is good news.

This is all a part of preparing the way for Jesus to break into our lives.

We realize that we need Him, truly need Him.

I was challenged by a pastor to let the Scriptures read me, and not just read the Scriptures. I am too quick to discount harsh teachings as meant only for unbelievers, and so slow to admit that their is often an unbelieving spirit within me. A soul that needs revived and made clean.

The message of Scriptures is challenging. It's controversial. If it's doesn't make us uncomfortable at times in our flesh, then we're reading it wrong.

It's not safe, but it's good news.

I have been in a season of this ... the Scriptures reading me, and revealing things that I'm not comfortable with about myself. I have become all too aware of the sin within me.

The words that have been on repeat in my head (words that I have discounted in the past as not meant for me) are at the top of this post, along with a gentle reminder, "you have a will."

The Lord made us with a will and a choice. We've chosen wrongly so many times, and we've chosen rightly, too. We've chosen Jesus.

I am realizing that these aren't one-and-done choices. They're daily; moment-by-moment.

We are not slaves to circumstance; victims of position. We have the power of Christ's death and resurrection within us, and we have the choice to submit to His ways daily. To present ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy to the Lord, washed by His blood.

To the pure, all things are pure.

To the pure, the choice is simple: Jesus, every time.

To the pure, the lines are black and white, because they have submitted their plans to the Lord, & He has drawn their boundaries in pleasant places. The places are pleasant, because we go farther than we ever dreamed, and we leave behind what kept us from His presence.

As those purified by the blood, we can choose to take our thoughts captive to obey Christ {2 Corinthians 10:5}. We have a will, and we can submit it to Him.

With this purity in mind, the Bible is transformed before me. Every hard teaching resonates, because it speaks to the parts of me that I know should die.

It's good news.

The Word does not condemn me, for I am found in Christ. Rather, it reads me, tests me, refines me. Prepares the way in me for the Lord. Making low the places I had exalted. Raising up the valleys in my soul. Making straight the path for His coming.

He wants to be the only one on the throne of my heart, and He desires my holiness. So bring on the fire.

As a dear friend once said, "I do not fear the fire and the water - I fear never going deeper."

There's always more in Him. Let us take off everything that weighs us down and keeps us from Him, and run to the throne of grace. He sees us, He knows us ... and still He loves us, wants all of us. Redeemed and whole.

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