Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dark Times Will Reveal Truth



Chapter 16 of A.W. Tozer's book The Radical Cross.
Can I say "ouch"?
I think maybe yes...
I need the Bible to question me and my decisions.
I need the Bible to lay bare not just my heart, but the motives of that heart.

It is in this place that the real me comes out.
Not the "church-going, praising God" me.
But the "I'm a stinker in need of constantly being de-stinkified" me.
Making me look at not only what is in my heart, but what that heart is capable of doing. Such is a sobering thing. Such is what I found as I read Tozer's book. he kept sending me to the Scripture over and over, putting me in a place where new decisions and new commitments had to be made.
So what's the title of this infamous Chapter 16?
Are you ready?
"Coddled Or Crucified?"

Tozer writes the following:
The Spiritual giants of old would not take their religion the 
easy way nor offer unto God that which cost them
nothing.
They sought not comfort but holiness, and the pages of
human history are still wet with their blood and their tears.

We not live in softer times. Woe unto us, for we have 
become adept in the art of comforting ourselves
without Power.

We're not real comfortable looking at those who Tozer refers to as Spiritual giants. We place them on unreachable pedestals, never realizing that we have been called to the same place. Not a pedestal of recognition or fame, but a place where the name of Christ is glorified. A place that has no need for "self" to be recognized or applauded. We've been called into communion and relationship with the real-deal God of the universe. Such a connection is not driven or dictated too by anything taking place in this world. It does not rise or fall on any prophetic word. If we receive any prophetic word, we should weigh it, discern it and then press tighter into God. We lean into Him whether the winds of change are raging around us, or the gentle breeze of peace flows over us. In other words, we have been called to walk out a life that is not the norm for this world.

When will we awaken to the fact that we have been called to a life that is based on the economy of heaven, not earth? We are called to operate and move in ways this world will never understand, yet we seem to reject this new way of life. We seem to be tied to and held captive by the economy of this world. We grow fearful in the least movement of the Stock market. We watch the evening news and sit in fear that ISIS is out there wreaking havoc on the world. Our own government seems to have lost their collective minds. All this continuous influx of fear only drives us to find comfort. To be coddled so we will not have to face what is happening around us. We hang on to God, but look to the world for comfort. Can the two coexist? This acknowledgment of God, and the embracing of the things of this world to comfort our fear and anxiety?

What was the cross really for?
Kill people.
I've written this before, but if you were standing at the gates of Jerusalem, and you saw a man walk through those gates carrying a cross......you could just about bet he was going to return. Death awaited him.
Well, in this relationship we have been called to, we had to die. Our old sin nature, the old man, was crucified and we were granted a new life. A new way of living. The Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 2:20 - "I have been crucified with Christ; It is not longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life I which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

Paul goes on to write in Galatians 6:14 - "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."

What does all this mean? Well for starters, it means that even though I am a citizen of this planet, it isn't my home. And as long as I take up space here, I do not operate or live out my days under the influence and pressure that society applies to peoples lives. So it really doesn't matter how spiritually dark it may become...according to Jesus, I am light. It doesn't matter how spiritually tasteless society may become....according to Jesus, I am salt. I am called to apply myself, under the direction of God's Holy Spirit, to whatever situation or circumstance I may find myself facing. And this application of self is for one reason only....to glorify the name of Jesus. I can't save the world, but I can make a difference in my corner of the Kingdom.

Don't know if this posting really came out the way it was when it rolled around in my brain. I do hope it makes sense and that you may see the folly in operating from a place of fear. I'm not smart enough to figure all this out. I am smart enough to latch on to someone who can. That would be Jesus.

God on you....
michael b.

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