Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"That Miserable Little Word"

"IF". Never cared much for the word. Still don't. It carries too many variables and connotations. You can have THIS "if" you do THAT. I have done everything possible to get away from it and out from under it. I have searched out every twist and turn of every biblical language to try to make it mean something other than it does.

I love being a member of the House of God, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, heir to all the riches and glory in Christ Jesus. I love the following verse and how it portrays that truth. Well, the first half of it anyway.

Hebrews 3:6 (AMP) - "But Christ (the Messiah) was faithful over His [own Father's] house as a Son [and Master of it]. And it is we who are [now members] of this house, if we hold fast and firm to the end our joyful and exultant confidence and sense of triumph in our hope [in Christ]."

There it is again. "IF". Am I a member of God's family only "IF"?

Well...there are conditions. Isaiah laid it out somewhat for us.

Isaiah 59:1-2 (AMP) - "1 BEHOLD, THE Lord's hand is not shortened at all, that it cannot save, nor His ear dull with deafness, that it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear."

The answer to this problem, and how we reconcile the verse without us thinking that God is fickle in someway toward us, is to simply not read more into than what it says.

Our God given freedom of our own will and purposes allows us to not hold fast and firm, or to not be joyful and exultant and confident and triumphant in hope. No body is going to force you to enjoy Jesus. If you love Him and are in vibrant relationship with Him you just will be. If not, you won't. No one is holding a gun to your head. You are not forced to be, nor forced to not be. It's YOUR choice. God is not fickle. He loves us. All the time. We are fickle. We provide the "IF", not God.

Take a gander at some of the social networks like Facebook. Keep your eyes open for how many "believers" glorify alcohol and drinkfests as their coping mechanism rather than glorifying Jesus as their source of joy and peace. I'm not talking about a person who takes an occasional glass of wine or beer, I'm talking about people who profess to be followers of Christ and glorify their winebibbing and boozing to the point of posting pictures of their empty bottles and glasess as if they were showing off pictures of their children!

Something is in disarray within the Kingdom when that occurs. There are brothers and sisters in Christ who are dancing over the line from "we who are" to "if we hold fast and firm". Who has the guts to tell them that? You? Me?

That's why I don't like "if". It rips me from my comfort zone and calls me into action.

It's not just boozers or drug addcits. It's anything that causes one to not continue and contend in the faith. It's anything that even insinuates there is any other possiblity than Jesus Christ that is sufficient for your triumphant joyful association with God.

It's never Jesus and.... It's always just Jesus. What Paul meant here is that "if" you find yourself departing from that, you will find yourself down the road looking back to where you used to be (and should always be). And in reconciliation with Isaiah, you could really find yourself so far down the road that the self imposed great gulf becomes so wide that God can no longer hear you.

Maybe that's the answer for some today. If you are wondering why things are going wrong, why sickness rather than joy prevails, why there is never enough money, etc., etc., etc. and why it seems God is not close...it could be you've gotten real far down the road. Maybe, just maybe, God can barely hear you, or not even at all.

He's my good and great Father. Jesus is my benefactor and provider of salvation. The Holy Spirit is my Comforter and Advocate. All of that tremendous love and power is not enough if I choose to go another way.

Which way for you today? What path? Did what I say shake you? Or did it anger you? Did I stir remorse? Or wrath?

I really hope it didn't even apply to you. I hope you are so secure in Him that it has caused you to pray for others.

In it all remember simply that Jesus never fails.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin

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