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Negligent Piety (Song of Songs 5)

We are baffled and stunned when a follower of Jesus proves to be far from His heart. It happens from the pew as well as from the pulpit. These are negligent watchmen who profess piety, but lack the very love and concern that ought to be at the heart of their devotion to Jesus. Let’s beware here of interjecting someone we feel fits this description. How the church would be strengthened if we each examined ourselves to avoid becoming this way.

When the watchmen find the bride, she has been drawn to the Beloved’s voice but cannot seem to find him (Song of Songs 5:6). She is lost and searching for him. In our walk with God, some come our way bearing all the signs of lostness. Their lifestyle, their talk, their preoccupations all indicate a life separated from Christ. Then, there are others who believe in Him and are not lost, but in some area of their lives, they seem to have never seen Christ at all. We ask, “How is this person spot-on in one area, yet spiritually deaf in another?”

We must take caution how we proceed with such people. If I miss the seeking heart and fixate instead on their night wanderings and distance from God, I may begin to rub salt in the wounds of those who are looking for Jesus! “They struck me, they wounded me” (5:7). How many lost souls are being pushed further away from Him because of harsh, condemning words from Christians who themselves would have never been converted by the things they say? We were drawn to Jesus when He showed pardon for our sins and gave us the simple message of repentance, forgiveness, and new life. Yet, there is a temptation to come down with a threat of condemnation on the lost or un-Christlike, hitting when we should be helping, wounding hearts when we should be warming them. “The keepers of the walls took my veil away from me” (5:7). We must uphold the standards of God, but if we begin to hurl venom and judgment at those who are not bearing the fruit we want to see, we hinder God’s work. Two sets of eyes may see a person’s sins. One says, “You want to see Christ someday? Let me help you with that blemish.” The other says, “You’ll never be clean enough to stand before Him,” thus taking away the veil. If we recall how filthy we were when Jesus found us, we would never see anyone as hopeless.

Once, when I was in the depths of sin and lostness, I sat down and wrote, “Jesus, I miss you. I’m not sure where you went but I would love see you again sometime.” I believe the Lord heard and even inspired that prayer. Was I the one who ran away from Him? Yes. Did He remind me of that? No; He drew me to Himself. I believe there are many people living in vileness, yet searching around for the true God. We should be eager to assist in drawing them to Jesus. God wants me to view everyone I meet as a potential brother or sister. What will happen in our hearts and actions if we choose to take on that view?

Alex Mack

Teaching Pastor

The Rock Church

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