Every year we do our taxes and the government takes more and more of our money for them to use. The harder we work and the more we make penalizes us and withholds from us. What does it mean to withhold? Withhold means to suppress or hold back. Suppress means to prevent the development of an action. Do you see where this is all going. To withhold on anything means to keep it from reaching where it is supposed to go. You have probably seen the movie Goonies (edited version) where they find One Eyed Jack’s treasure and they pack their pockets with jewels. Well, the other thieves who are looking for the treasure stop the kids and have them give up all the jewels. One kid empties his pockets, his hands, and everything else that can hold jewels. The crusty old woman who is the leader of the thieves notices that the kid isn’t saying so much and that she remembered him being a real talker. She figures it out and has him open his mouth and there it is, a huge jewel. He was wanting to withhold some of the jewels at all costs, but when discovered he had to give that last jewel up. He was withholding or suppressing the treasure so the thieves wouldn’t get it. His trick didn’t work and he had to give it all up. We do withholding during the year so it doesn’t kill us all at once at tax time. Many people get back taxes, so their withholding pays back. In reality you are still paying the massive tax burden, but you feel better about it when you get to keep some of it. The government in turn withholds what we all deserve to run their inept system. When the system doesn’t work good it causes us to regret getting anything withheld because we feel like we aren’t getting our money’s worth…and we aren’t.
One of the main withholding problems we have as Christians is withholding love. We get plenty of love from a Savior who died for us and a God who cares for us, but we withhold that kind of love and care from each other. This love is withheld for various reasons: selfishness, evil intentions, guilt, etc. Withholding the love God gives us has very drastic consequences. First it pollutes our system with ungodliness. Purity is just that, pure, and when a foreign substance is injected in that purity it becomes compromised and not fit for anything. We as humans get to thinking we have reasons to pollute the wonderful pure things God has given us and then pretty soon you can’t even recognize some of them.
Peter in 1 Peter 1:22-25 addresses this problem by reminding those he was writing to of the imperishable love that we received when we received Christ. That love “takes over” our whole system and everything we do is to be run out of that love relationship. But it isn’t. Churches today have lost the desire and ability to love the world like we should, and now it has digressed to the point of us hating each other. What does this mean? There is no purity in many of our churches and our desires have taken over God’s desire to establish loving fellowships to minister to the world we live in. In verse 22 Peter says, “since you have purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart.” Is that what you see in churches today? Hopefully, but probably not. You see, it’s hard to love each other when it is our desire to hurt each other. They just don’t mix. Why does this type of attitude prevail many times in churches? It is because many are church members, but not saved or regenerated believers. The seed in their lives is a poisoned seed that hates, not loves and the end result is confusion for those who are looking to the church for purity…Especially purity in love. In verse 23 Peter says, “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. Woh! That is an answer to the whole thing. It’s what seed we are carrying is the difference. A perishable seed is one that is built on who we are. Am imperishable seed is one that is built on whose we are. So a person who has a bad seed will bear bad fruit and vice versa. That bad seed is best seen in one significant area, withholding love. We withhold it to see if we will get it, and if we do, then we will maybe give it back. Jesus said to give it and not expect anything back. You do remember the cross don’t you? He did not receive any love back for the love He gave. We are sitting on a mountain of treasure and that treasure is love, but we are withholding it for the wrong reasons. It’s time to give it away and stop hoarding it for us. Verses 24 and 25 put the final nail in the bad seed coffin where Peter says, “Our bodies will wither and fade away (perishable) but the Word of God endures forever(imperishable). Then he caps it off with “this is the Word which was preached to you.” No excuses for lack of information for withholding love. The bad seed is exposed. It is best heard in the statement “I Love you, But!” Which literally means, “I don’t love you at all” which means “I hate you.” Oh the joy of having God’s Word to help us live in the reality of the truth. Oh the bliss of knowing when what you are doing is wrong. Oh, the conviction of the Word of God when we realize what seed is in our heart. Or is it just, OH!
Words in this blog won’t change your heart, but the Word of God changes everything. Are you into logic? How about God’s logic? Just be glad Jesus didn’t say, “I love you, but!” when He was going to the cross. Jesus calls us to take up our cross daily and that means we will have some things we will need to decide in the area of love. Is your reply “I love you, but” or just “I love you.” Time to decide because time is fleeting and we need true revival in God’s Church and it will not come through those who are half hearted and withholding. Which are you? Don’t be a Goonie, give it away. It’s not ours to withhold!!
The Pilgrimage continues…..