"No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has wither seen Him or known Him" (1 John 3:6).
I will never forget the summer of 1996. It was a balmy July and August in the humidity of Fort Jackson, South Carolina. I was in basic training in the US Army, a recent high school graduate, and a professing believer in Jesus Christ. However, deep inside of me I had always had an insecurity that in itself was motivated by desiring to being accepted and belonging. Instead of being who I knew God made me to be, I always assessed my value based on the acceptance of others. In high school, I never really found myself belonging to any particular group, feeling in someways "not good enough" for any of them. Of course this was fueled in large part by insecurities in my life based on growing up in a broken and dysfunctional setting.
But, here I was on this new leg of the journey of my life. I decided within the first few days that I was going to blend in. I wasn't going to stand out. I wanted to be liked, accepted, and to belong. So, for the first half of my time there, I did just that. I blended in with my conversations, my actions, and my attitudes, though knowing I was beginning to walk a path that wasn't really meeting my deepest expectations. There was one evening as we had some "free time" that I walked around our institutional-like sleeping quarters, that I noticed one fellow recruit reading a Bible. I remarked to him that I, too, was a Christian. His response completely took the air right out of my lungs. "Oh," he replied. "I couldn't tell." That was all he said. That was all I needed to hear. The path that I would choose would matter. It mattered to me, to God, and to others that would observe me.
"No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him." What a strong statement that is sure to challenge the faith and commitment of anyone who says they believe in Jesus. Though we may still fall short, we cannot willfully choose to walk down paths that Christ has already setup, in plain sight, easy to read "Do Not Enter" signs. We cannot share a truly intimate relationship with Him when we are living in ways that trade intimacy for enmity.
Take a moment and really consider every element of your day-to-day life. Are you doing, thinking or saying things that are interrupting your pursuit for intimacy with Jesus? It's either intimacy or enmity with Him. It's either intimacy with Jesus, or intimacy with yourself - your own thoughts, plans, passions, or pursuits, which will undoubtedly and inevitably lead to great enmity with Him, and others around you. If your choice is for greater intimacy with Jesus, choose to walk in the course that will lead you there. Choose to live in total obedience and complete surrender to Him. Because, the choice...it really does matter!