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A Bipolar World

These days when we hear the word “bipolar” we usually think of it in clinical terms. The first thing that might come to a person’s mind is someone diagnosed with a manic depressive disorder whose mood cycles between opposite poles of elation and sadness. Clinicians chose that term because it was easy to understand, and aptly described the condition. The word simply means “two poles.” A lot of things in our universe are bipolar. The planet we live on is bipolar. It has a north pole and a south pole. And unless something goes terribly wrong, the north pole will never sit side by side with the south pole. Magnets also have two poles. In fact, there’s a really interesting quality to magnets. If you put the north pole of a magnet next to the south pole of another magnet, the two will strongly attract each other. But if you put a the north pole of a magnet next to the north pole of another, the two will scoot away from each other. They must be in proper alignment for the attraction to occur.

Your spiritual life is a little bit like those bipolar magnets. If you have something in your life called sin, then a repellant force will cause you to scoot away from God whenever he comes near. But unlike those magnets, there will be a repellant force between your south pole (that is, any sin in your life) and God’s north pole (his holiness and virtue). Also unlike those magnets, God will not move away from you. It will always be you who moves away from God. Because he finds sin to be disgusting, this is an amazing character trait of God, and an evidence of his love for you. The prophet Isaiah likens sin to open wounds (Isaiah 1:4-6) as well as to a stain (Isaiah 1:18). Paul compares sin to a defilement or contamination (2 Corinthians 7:1). Jesus argues that sin pollutes a person (Mark 7:20-23). Despite all of these befoulments, God loves you enough to send his spotless and unpolluted son into your polluted world to clean you up (John 3:16). Unfortunately, just as God finds sin disgusting, a sinner tends to be repelled by holiness. Because of that repellant force, sin causes people to move away from God. Your sin hides God’s face (Isaiah 59:2), and it keeps good from you (Jeremiah 5:25). Your sin pushes you away from God. When Adam and Eve sinned they hid from God when they heard him walking in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8). Sin is opposed to God. It is at the opposite end of the spiritual pole.

If we allow God to cleanse us, then we become more like God, more attracted to God, and more useful for his purposes. We become new creatures attracted to a new pole (2 Timothy 2:21 and 2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

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