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The Bittersweet

18 Aug
from Google Images

from Google Images

Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to say good things than to do good things?[1] The fact is: it may be the most bittersweet lesson I’ve ever learned about myself—that good intentions are merely the whitewash on the face of a cold stony heart that has neglected to exercise what I had acknowledged as good. Ezekiel was told to take the scroll God had given him, containing his words for his people, and eat it and then go to the House of Israel and speak to them. In his mouth the scroll was as sweet as honey (Ezekiel 3:1-3), but the performance of the task was a bitter undertaking (Ezekiel 3:14).

We are told in Scripture to work out our own salvation—i.e. our own walk with the Lord—with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). The longer I walk with the Lord, however, the easier I find it is to assume I know what to do and rest in what I think I know. After all, haven’t I feasted on the word of God and become a kind of connoisseur of his teachings? Smugness is such a deceiver! I am always surprised, when feeling like I have it together, hoping to be able to be used of God to help others through their dark nights and troublesome detours, that I’m really making the same mistakes those folks are. Moreover, they’re wise to it, while my arrogance has hid it from my eyes (Romans 2:17-24).

The first step, therefore, in getting to where I want to be is to know where I am before I take the next step in the journey. Seeing Jesus in terms of the weakness of God, has taught me to understand where I must begin—with nothing, knowing nothing but the cross (1Corinthians 2:2-3), not resting in what I think I know but resting in Jesus (Hebrews 4:9-11). The Apostles were always making this mistake. They often thought they knew the mind of Jesus and so, either anticipated his plans (Luke 18:35-43), or disagreed with him outright, thinking they knew best (Matthew 16:21-22; John 13:6-8). Jesus will not debate with me but comes to those who have ears to hear (Matthew 13:9). He will not disturb my wisdom (Matthew 15:12-14), so I must come to him in a spirit of humility (Psalm 139:23-24), and having nothing of my own step out with him in faith.

Probably, the next thing I need to understand is that I am part of the Body of Christ. I am not alone, and neither is what I do of any great importance by itself. I am connected to other folks, and they are connected to me (1Corinthians 12:24-27). Together we serve the Lord, because God has not chosen individuals but the body of Christ (the Church) to reach the world with the Gospel. Understanding this properly should rid me of my arrogance, feeling of insecurity, complacency and anything else that hinders me in my walk with Christ, because as a member of Christ’s body, I’m not in competition with anyone. I’m not a knee-bone hoping to be the face someday. If God has placed me where I am in the Body of Christ, then it is fitting, if I mature in all things where God has placed me, and in doing this I’ll be used by him in making the whole body effectual in his name (Ephesians 4:15-16).

God has designed the parts of the human body to serve the other parts. For example, Who wouldn’t raise up his hand in an effort to protect the more vulnerable eyes, when threatened by flying objects, an enemy or things like sharp vegetation? The hand or arm will take the abuse in order to save the eyes. Similarly, we have been placed within the Body of Christ to serve one another so that, together, we can mature in his love (Mark 4:27; Ephesians 4:14-16) and show the world who Christ is, whom they haven’t seen with the eyes of faith (cp. John 1:18), nor have they known him (Matthew 11:27). So, our task in Christ is bittersweet. While it is comforting to understand that God doesn’t require greatness on our part, the execution of our service in his name is somewhat bitter as far as recognition is concerned (1John 3:1-3). At the end of the day, we are not greater than our Master (John 13:15-17), but it will be enough for us to be as he is (Matthew 10:24-25), and so shall the world see/know Christ in us.

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[1] As I said HERE, this current theme about the person of Jesus is based upon the book: The Jesus Style by Gayle Erwin. They are my thoughts about his book. He may or may not agree with the impression his book has made upon me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what Gayle wrote and recommend his book to anyone who is looking for a good read about Jesus.

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Posted by on August 18, 2015 in Jesus

 

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