Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Morning Convictions- Jan 22, 2012: Least of These

Matthew 25:40

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

40The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

I was introduced to a new perspective this morning... I am not sure why it had to be new to me, but it was. In the awesome grace that exists within our God, He reveals things to us. He does this according to our need, and our abilities at the time.
The above passage from Matthew was part of the reading in our small group study this morning, and is a verse that we pretty much are all used to. It, like so much of the Bible, has (sadly) become mundane. What made it new for me this morning was a question posed by another member of our men's class. To paraphrase, who is included in the "least of these"? That question was followed by the one that has now changed my perspective... continuing to paraphrase, he said, wouldn't that include ALL people, at least from the perspective of Christ?

I was not immediately blown away by this, because I was not in that place at the time. But this exchange of ideas began working in me at that moment, and throughout our worship and service... Now sitting at home, I am astounded by the thought...

From the perspective of Jesus (the perspective we should be viewing and living our lives), ALL people are the least of these. For many of us, we think of the needy, the downtrodden, and so on as being only the financially poor. But are we all not lacking in some way? At some point in our lives we were all (and many still are) morally and spiritually bankrupt. Our society is filled with financial wellness, yet we lack simple compassion and respect for each other. What Jesus is trying to get us to realize is that our interactions with each other, and our relationships we build are foundational to living a Christ-focused life.

Yes, it is of huge importance how we serve and help those who are in some way, shape, or form less fortunate than ourselves... but it is also of supreme importance how we serve those who are not. We should strive to look past the first glance and understand that everyone, no matter who they are, has a need... we should be seeking a way to assist that need.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

John taught me something today

It's amazing to me, maybe it shouldn't be, but it is... Its amazing to me how God works through His word. A brief study this morning in John 14 helped me understand more clearly today the idea of the transforming power of Christ's love.

I never before understood, as I feel I do in this moment, how crucial the conversion moment in our lives is the single point in time at which our spirit might be closest to that which Jesus asks of us... In that moment we are choosing to accept, in full faith, the saving grace of God.

In John 14 we see Christ instructing the wise men on who truly loves God. He explains that it is those who follow His commands that truly live Him. We can extend that out knowing that we are truly the hypocrites that society believes we often are. I don't always obey the commands of God, and yet, I say I love Him? It makes me, on the surface, appear no different than the list world.

So, how do I improve on following the commands of God? I have to look back at the moment in my life that I truly demonstrated that I believed there was nothing more important in life than my personal relationship with Christ. In that moment, that's all that mattered. When we struggle with the things of this world, we are called to focus on Christ. To do so is to remember the emptiness of life before Christ, and to find again that strength and boldness to move to Him.

We must never forget the feeling in our soul at the moment we first is through the love of Christ and by His grace that we can go through this life and know that it is a mere speck on the face of an eternity spent in a world that has never known sin.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New year, new opportunity

So, as I wave goodbye to what was far and away the most difficult year of my life, I look to this new year and am expectant that it too will be full of difficult times. Truth is, every year is difficult. Sometimes difficulties arise because of what we determine are good times, sometimes because of what we deem as bad times. I have spent the past 6 months stuck on and dwelling in a "bad" place. I often lose sight of the fact that my mother's passing was not a bad thing. It is true that I wish she were still here with me, and it is also true that I wish that her healing would have taken place on this earth. Ultimately though, God chose to take her home and complete her ultimate healing with her fully in His presence... How can that be a bad thing?

I say this to say that this year, just like every year will be filled with trials and temptations. That is all we can be sure of, and it is our attitude and response in those situations that determine their worth to us. I rarely make new years resolutions... But this upcoming year I hope to be better in the midst of all things at looking to God. I want to do a better job at making God my priority and allowing everything else fall where they should, according to His will. To this end, I plan to take advice from those smarter than I. I plan to, intentionally, seek God everyday. It is now in my daily schedule to spend time with God...

By intentionally and actively seeking God, this year will be different.