Saturday, March 2, 2013
Morning Psalms: 75, 76 | Evening Psalms: 23, 27
Jeremiah 5:20-31 | Romans 3:19-31 | John 7:1-13
As a Pastor, I have often asked the question: “If you could spend just five minutes in the physical presence of Jesus, would that be enough for life-long faithfulness?” Answer: invariably a resounding “Yes!”.
This response however, is counter-intuitive. Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:9-11), but still rebelled. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years with an ever-present theophany (Exod 13:21), but they still quarreled and defied God. Moses fellowshipped 40 days with God on Mount Sinai, and was imbued with a radiant face that blinded the Israelites (Exod 34:35), but tragically forfeited his place in the Promised Land by losing his temper at Meribah (Num 20:11). Our ancient enemy Lucifer spent countless eons in the heavenly presence of God, only to be consumed with pride and war against Him (Is 14:12-14).
Being a sibling of Jesus was no guarantee of being a faithful follower of God either. Jesus’ brothers lived closely with Him for several decades. Yet, not unlike Joseph’s brothers (Gen 37), they arrogantly mocked and disbelieved Him (John 7:3-4), and perhaps even wished for His death (John 7:1). Ironically enough, these brothers unwittingly gave Him advice (John 7:3-4) similar to that which Satan gave, while tempting Jesus in the Wilderness (Matt 4:5-6).
Perhaps having a goodie-two-shoes brother who dominated “Bible Bingo” and “Sword Drills,” eagerly desired family devotions, and famously wowed Temple authorities regarding the finer points of the Mosaic Law (Luke 2:39-52) became insufferable to the brothers?
Being in the Presence of God (true of all humankind on some level), is different from the active discipline of living submissively and transformationally in Christ. Thomas R. Kelly notes: “Unless the willingness is present to be stripped of our last earthly dignity and hope, and yet still praise Him, we have no message in this our day of refugees, bodily and spiritual. Nor have we yielded to the monitions of the Inner Instructor. The life that intends to be wholly obedient, wholly submissive, wholly listening, is astonishing in its completeness.”
Help me Lord, to not just conform, but to be transformed by
The Rev. Rich Grassel (DMin Candidate)
Pastor, Conway Alliance Church
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