Two Perspectives

Image by Frits Ahlefeldt

While reading the word today I saw two perspectives that correspond to two different out comes.

The first is one regarding the rich man:

And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?  And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.  Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.  And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.  Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.  And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.1

 

The second is the buried treasure or fine pearl.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:  Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.2

 

The perspectives are opposites with one focused on how great the cost is and the other focused on how great the prize is.  Does the focus determine the outcome?  What shall I focus on; the cost or the gift?   My struggle is that I’ve weighed the cost and I don’t have what is needed.  I find myself left wanting.  I don’t see myself as being able to make the journey.  In the flesh I could muster all I have and hope that it is enough.  My experience tells me it is not.  I am at the point just after the rich man walks away and the disciples ask Jesus, “How then can anyone be saved?”3 If I can only take hold of Jesus’ answer I’ll have what I need because there is no other way.  All in or walk away?

This isn’t news to me, I’ve heard all this before.  I made a choice.  I get it, why am I faced with this again?  Is it possible this is what goes on each time I find myself in opposition to God – like when the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin.  Do I just not notice because sometimes the cost isn’t too great because I’m focused on the prize?  If so why has my perspective changed?  What has distracted me to take my eyes off of the Lord?  Has He withdrawn from me to show me I’m lost without him?  Is this a time of discipline?  Or is this perhaps a time when He is close because I’m in the fire being set free?

I feel disconnected and I’ve lost a taste for the things of this world.  I don’t know how to relate to my wife and children.  I don’t know if its always been this way and I’m just now aware of it or if its something new.

I have hope this is for a time and God is preparing me for what is to come.  I have hope He is preparing me to receive the desires of my heart.

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.4

07.06.11

Kingdom

I don’t want to just enter the kingdom; I want to partake and be a part of it too! I’m not okay being on the side lines. I don’t just want to hear God say, “Welcome.” I long to hear Him say, “Welcome, good and faithful servant, enter into my rest.”5 Of what good is a table loaded down with food in preparation for a great feast if you can only look at it?  Of what good am I as a Christian if I don’t have the fruit of the kingdom?

When the temple was being built wasn’t it Gods temple although He didn’t inhabit it.  When did He inhabit it?  Wasn’t it after it was consecrated?  Does God inhabit me or is He waiting for me to live a holy life in agreement with the holiness secured through Christ.  Is that why He doesn’t go with me?  Does my stubbornness qualify me to be consumed by Him?  In His mercy is He keeping a distance?  Is that what this struggle is about?  Is not my stubbornness a hindrance?

My Prayer:  God, I humble myself before your majesty. I have been frivolous, rebellious and stubbornly displaced You as Lord.  Please forgive me; have mercy and compassion on me.  I humbly ask that you remove my hardened heart and give me a heart of flesh.  I proclaim you as Lord and humbly submit to you.  I renew my commitment to be obedient and follow you.  I desire to be all that You created me to be.  I put myself in your hands so you may finish the work that You have began.  I trust you and submit to the tools, trials, and discipline you choose.  My faith is in you, not in my strength, the outcome, or the circumstances.  Please teach me to act when you act, speak when you speak and remain silent when you are silent.  Please give me spiritual blinders so that I may never take my eyes off of You.

Thank you for your faithfulness that sustains me. Thank you for your mercy and compassion that makes a way for me.  Thank you for your grace that rescues me.  Thank you for your love that covers me. Amen

07.06.11

Continue to Work Out Your Salvation

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed— not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence— continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling2

 

We are solely responsible for what we believe.  No matter who tells us something, we MUST validate the ideas and concepts within the word of God!2  3 If we do not know the word of God, we are like a ship without a rudder, the enemy will carry us off into captivity with his lies.4  5  We MUST desire God above all things, even above the very things of God!6  The kingdom of God does not consist of his things but of his right and authority to rule.7  8  9

Consider: If I don’t know the truth how can I recognize a lie?  By reading the account of Jesus’ temptation I learn that the enemy can be very subtle, slightly twisting and taking the truth out of context in an attempt to deceive.10 Jesus prevails because he is truth, the word made flesh.11  12 The word is a person, how can I know and have a relationship with Jesus and not know the word that became flesh?

Further Consideration: How important is the word of God in my life?  What role does it play?  If someone looked at my life what would they conclude?  Do I really believe hiding God’s word in my heart is essential?13  14

My Prayer: Lord, my failures are eclipsed by your blood and righteousness; I trust that you will complete the work that you have begun in me.15 I humble myself, have your way in me.  Please give me a delight in you and your word that awakens me to your call and the grace to whole heartedly respond in agreement with you! Amen.