Sunday, October 30, 2005

Such a Strong Word

I hate my life. That may seem to be a strange way to begin a post, but it’s true. I hate that I am still a sinner, a redeemed, gifted with Salvation, born again Christian who struggles every day with sin in my life. It’s the sin part of my life that I hate, not the child of God part. God has Blessed me beyond my comprehension, given me the wonderful gift of eternal life, and I squander days still sinning. It makes no sense. It would be wonderful beyond words if, at the moment of Salvation, God would instantly move us up into Heaven in our glorified bodies, free from even the memory of sin. But that’s not His plan, and the Gospel message wouldn’t be spread without messengers, ground troops, so to speak, remaining here to reach out to the lost.

John 12:25-26
25“He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. 26“If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

People will cling to Life, take their place in the Rat Race, strive to succeed and do what? Build a better life for themselves, make the Life they have last as long as it can. But it all ends up covered with dirt.
I saw a profile of Wayne Newton awhile back, and was struck by how he measured success by the accumulation of things, stuff-the “trappings of success”. Trappings is right-he’s trapped into believing that because he owns a million dollar ______ (fill in the blank) that his life has worth, that he is more valuable because of what he has. It brought to mind the rich young man who asked Jesus what he must do to be saved. And Jesus told him to sell all he had and give it to the poor. Why would Jesus tell him that? He wanted the young man to see that the wealth he had, the life he had, was holding him back from the Life he could have in Him.
Jesus wanted the young man to hate his life so that, when offered the best gift of all, Salvation, he would readily receive it with Joy.
I’m not picking on Wayne, by the way-there are numerous examples of those settling for the shoddy temporal riches of this world who miss the only valuable ‘pearl of great price’ which is available to them.
I am grateful to God for bringing me into His family, allowing me to become His child. I pity the Wayne Newtons of this world who settle for so very little when offered Everything. This morning I heard a friend mention in prayer that, “Without obedience there is no Joy.” and I knew exactly what he meant. When I sin, when I strive to do things my way, when I rebel against what I know God wants me to do, what He wants to fulfill in my life, I am miserable-there is no Joy. But when I submit to Him, meekly asking forgiveness for having disappointed Him (and myself) again, He doesn’t punish me, but instead comforts me with His Holy Spirit, from which comes Joy. It certainly does ‘pass all understanding’-but I am grateful to my Father in Heaven who sees ‘worth’ in me, who wants, for some unfathomable reason, me to be included in His family.

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