Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Servant, the Soldier, and the Man with All Joy

"In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." - John 1:1,14

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:9

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." - Romans 8:1

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, 'The righteous shall live by faith.'" - Romans 1:16-17

"Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plenty, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.'" - Matthew 9:37-38

Lord, let us not be deceived by the wickedness of the world, for surely there shall be no fear of sin before out eyes. Guard your sheep, for we are weak and seek to stray, but let none escape the hand of Lord for surely His kingdom reaps the greatest of all things. Instill the faithfulness, kindness, passion, grace, and humility of Christ within all your children so that you might be glorified before all.

By the providence of God, we are sent out into the world so that we might face its trials and know God (John 17:3). We come in without knowledge of our purpose or its reasons, but only the promise that there is a purpose and it has its reasons. Faith is a gift from God because in and of ourselves we would not seek it (Romans 3:11), yet despite our stubborn heresy the Lord of the harvest comes to us with mercy and grace so that we might be made His. The debt has been paid, the burden is lifted, and the joy is made present... present in the fulfillment of God's promise through the works of His children and the fruit He renders. We are shown the glory of Christ, we are taught the ways of Christ, we know the value of His death, we see the power of His gospel, and finally we are given His work to perform not only to bring forth the kingdom, but to expand the joy of the believer. Any Christian who labors in vain, only does so because he sees it as vain. The works of Christ are meant to supply our joy until our consummation with Him; therefore, engage fully in everything that is of service to the Lord so that your joy will maximize. That is not to say that we should enter every small group, attend every church function, and serve in every ministry. Paul writes:

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." - Philippians 2:12-13

So engage in service, but only that which serves your own salvation and only that which instills fear and trembling before the Lord. Certainly this suggests that we all become selfish and I would say that inevitably that is the goal. What good is our service if we do not conduct it with love and joy? The Father has designed us so that our selfish joy might be fulfilled in doing that which glorifies Him the most. The cynic in me would say that you're going to be selfish anyway, so why not do it in service of the Lord? The romantic in me would say that your Father that at one point hated has not only saved you from damnation, but also supplied an endless fountain of joy in service to Him, so why not jump in? Christ has set us in the armor of God so that we might understand that all things are either for or against the Lord. There is nothing between, there is no neutral; therefore, wage the war by the power of the gospel, with the promise of salvation, for the sake of Christ who has paid the debt you could not and who has conquered the death that would have taken you. The body is all for Christ, because Christ is for all of the body and His love is without mistake and without error. Peace and love to all my siblings in Christ, may we pray for those who have not yet been made known.