Reprint from March 2nd, 2019
This reprint has been edited to make the message clearer and more readable than it’s prior posting, the title may have been altered as well.
We think more of our influence than we should. The image of the self-made individual is flawed in the architecture of the Almighty. We consider ourselves more capable of directing our path and protest too much when things don’t go in accordance to what we perceive as ideal.
But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.
Job 23:10 (ESV)
Our confidence in our ability to deal with things is grossly over-regarded by our ego. To the extent that we consistently engage in things which are beyond our means or even counterproductive to the purpose God intends for us.
Even our means of identifying our degree of success is enumerated by metrics that have no lasting value.
We are an eternal being, in a temporal world, with an eternal purpose, addressing temporal issues with a perspective of a temporal being.
Let that soak in a bit.
We rarely consider ourselves as eternal beings, but we have been created to be exactly that.
Our creator has placed an expiration date on each of us, which is indelible and cannot be altered by anything we do. Just as the mana provided by God to the Israelites in the wilderness, had a specific purpose and predetermined end point; our purpose and range of physical existence here on earth is hard coded in our being by God.
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Hebrews 9:27-28 (ESV)
“It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment”. There is a judgement after this physical body dies, we still exist after physical death, otherwise this judgement would be tried in absentia. God doesn’t do things in absentia and we will be present at that judgement and thereafter. God is ever present.
The outcome of that judgment determines out eternal existence.
If we are found guilty of sin against God…
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Matthew 25:41 (ESV)
If we are found blameless…
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 (ESV)
This universe and everything in it, including our bodies is temporal.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Matthew 24:35 (ESV)
We have a purpose in this life and in the life to come.
Producing Fruit – The inescapable truth, is that we are purposed for producing fruit.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
John 15:16 (ESV)
Jesus goes beyond just telling us we are to be productive; He specifies that those who prove not to be, are counter to his purpose and will be trimmed from the vine and purged in the fire.
In the same verses about the vine and the branches He underscores just how critical it is that we cling to Him and never let go, our welfare is determined by this attachment to Him.
Children of God – We are the heirs of the Kingdom of God.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:11-12 (ESV)
A very special form of adoption into God’s family. It differs from adoption practiced by humanity. God’s adoption is executed by a spiritual rebirth of the individual into the family of God, granting them a birthright.
Our role in this family is to be obedient children, but one of our key functions is to reflect praise and glory back to God, His Son and the Holy Spirit.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
1 Corinthians 13:8-10 (ESV)
The contrast between what God does, focuses on, and purposes, verses what humanity exhibits, are in stark contrast.
We can do a lot of things, but the bottom line is God is Love. Pure love and He places His love in us. We are the vessels of His love. A major element of our purpose it to exhibit and share that love. We are in effect God’s conduit to transmit His love and His Grace to a lost creation. That’s our job. If we aren’t doing that, then we are not functioning in accordance to our purpose.
Each and every one of us is a vessel of God’s love.
Abound in Goodness – It may be something you bristle a bit toward because the world would teach you that to be good also means you are a pushover and weak.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
Created in Christ Jesus specifically for the purpose of ‘good works’; aka goodliness. Not an afterthought or a byproduct of our existence or our redemption. We are purposed in advance by God for goodness.
When you consider this, it puts a kink in the world’s position which states, ‘it’s all about me’ and what I have coming. We continue to ‘look out for number one’. The difference is Grace alters our concept of who number one is.
You may have heard of “I Am Second” which features people talking about aligning themselves with a greater purpose and putting self in the back seat. I enjoy those video clips, but it has always bothered me a bit as they don’t quite get it right from the Gospel worldview.
From that perspective, the old ‘number one’ becomes number three, or perhaps even more. Our new number one is Jesus, followed by others (family, neighbors, and our fellow temporal creatures). The children’s song, ‘Jesus, Others and You’ is right on target. It is a wonderful way to spell ‘joy’, but even more significant is the fact that the order of ‘Jesus, others and then us’ is the blueprint to a life lived in the shadow of our master!
Light and Salt – Jesus point blank told us clearly, we are to have the effect of light and salt on this earth.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV)
We are the messengers of truth, in a world of lies.
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Romans 10:13-15 (ESV)
Disciples – Jesus purposed us as His Disciples on more than one occasion.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32 (ESV)
Free – Unencumbered by the issues of the temporal world around us.
We saw in John, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
We are not to be burdened down with the weight of sin; Jesus said to cast that burden at His feet, he’s got it covered.
We are not to chase after the things this world has to offer us.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)
This should give us an impression of where God places his priorities. At the same time, it also tells us we need to align our priorities with God’s.
Perspective of a Temporal Being
The perspective of the temporal being is focused on those things temporal.
When we gave our lives to Christ Jesus, we became a new creation in Him.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
Those outside of the grace of Jesus can’t help but be focused on temporal things. Jesus said don’t worry about what you will eat, or how you will be clothed, our heavenly father feeds the birds and dresses the flowers of the field and they don’t go hunger and are spectacular in their beauty. Since He loves us, will He not do even better for His Children?
Perspective of a Child of God (Eternal Being)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
“Think about these things.” Concentrate on the things that God has purposed us for. Focus on the things that God focuses on and calls us to attend to.
Trust in Him. As for the rest of things, He’s “Got It Covered”, along with us.
In His Grace,