Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Using "Cross"-Examination for Self-Examination

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Hebrews: 12:12-17 Wherefore

I believe that the Bible is the Holy Spirit inspired Word of God, and the Bible tells us that Jesus is the Word of God and that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I praise and thank God for that because I have no desire to serve a God who is like me; forever changing my mind, my look, my habits, my thoughts, my beliefs...I am so different today from who I was ten years ago, and I know that I will not be the same ten years from now as I am today. God does not change. What He said 5,000 years ago stands true today. You cannot change the Word of God to suit your mood or your lifestyle or your hairstyle or your lack of style.

When I read over the Book of Leviticus, it never fails to slay me at how many laws the Israelites were given. The priests were entrusted with so many things to consider, memorize and put into effect for the purification and remission of the peoples' sins. A lot of these were for health and cleanliness purposes, and all were for the benefit of the Israelites and even now many of these things are advocated for health and safety reasons.

Then, thank God, the Word became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ who summed up all the law and prophets in two commands: to love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, soul, mind and spirit and to love your neighbor as yourself. But He also said in Matthew 5:18: For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

I am not a Bible scholar, so Reader beware, this is what I get from this. We are accepted by God by grace through faith in His gift of redemption - Christ's death on the cross, and so, we have been given the Comforter, the Holy Spirit of Christ, to walk with us every day through this life. That indwelling of the Holy Spirit tells us what to do and how live and when we don't listen to Him and we fail, we know what we've done is wrong. So, we don't have to memorize the laws and offer sacrifices; a broken heart and contrite spirit is the only sacrifice God wants from us and true determination to listen to Him and follow His counsel all the days of our lives. That being said, we know what's right and wrong in God's eyes, and so, not one tittle or jot of the law will be done away with. We will be convicted of doing wrong and required to repent and sin no more.

There also comes in to play within the design of mankind that our Creator worked into our DNA an inherent knowledge of right and wrong; good and evil. Hebrews 12:14 tells us that we are to follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord!

Just think about that for a minute: we are to be holy, as He is holy, or we will not get to see Him! And, at least for me, verse 15 tells me that I need to be looking at myself diligently to discern if I have any "root" of bitterness in me so that I don't fall short of the grace of God AND also, I am to be checking myself, making sure that I am pure, faithful to God only, and that I don't consider my birthright, in Him, to be profane!

Have you ever noticed when you plant something how the roots of it extend outward and down-ward, becoming very large and hard to remove from the ground because there are so many little shoots that cause the thing to take on a life of its own? Well, bitterness once it takes root, causes all kinds of disobedience, resentment, anger, hate, jealousy, self-pity, etc.

If I'm not careful, I could end up like Esau, who gave away his inheritance for a single bowl of meat stew. And what was His inheritance? Well, to put it simply, think of Jacob who ended up receiving the blessing and the inheritance. He became the father of the 12 tribes of Israel, being in the lineage of Jesus and according to Genesis 30:43, he was very wealthy; and needless to say, he is much more famous that Esau, isn't he?

It is in this diligent self-examination that we discern if we are keeping the faith, remaining in Him and trusting Him to lead us, direct us, provide for us and love us. God did not, does not and will not approve of fornication -- whether we are fornicating in the here and now or whether we are unfaithful to Him and are playing the whore by having other gods or idols that we love more than Him.

And just like my Father in heaven, as a parent, I look at my children and think about how they treat their inheritance, and it is not just the money or things they will inherit, but my faith, my trust in God, my love for God, my love for justice and doing good; how do they treat that? Is it something that they, too, can give theirs hearts to, or is it "profane" to them?

It is, therefore, vital to the one who longs to follow Christ to be in "the Word" daily, with praise, thanksgiving and prayer, to examine oneself with the eyes of the Holy Spirit, to repent when we find that we have sinned, and to trust Him to show us the way down that straight and narrow path that so few choose to travel.

And if you find yourself in deep distress about the things of your life, it is my opinion that that is one sure-fired way to know that God is dealing with you about some unconfessed sin in your life or some area of your life that you have not given Him control of. Don't rest, search "His Word", pray, ask for Him to show you what your sin is or where you need to get rid of you and surrender to Him. Don't stop until you do all that is necessary to do away with it or surrender it, for there is no greater joy, and peace beyond understanding for those who persevere, endure and overcome. It always comes back to the cross. Jesus said that He is "the way, the truth and the life" and that no one can follow him unless they are willing to "die to themselves", "pick up their cross" and follow Him. His way is not the easy way, but it is the sure way.

1 comment:

  1. Whoa. Your counsel hit the bulls eye for me this morning as I have been somewhat unsettled lately rather than peaceful in my walk with the LORD. I know that searching in the Word is the wise thing to do, but I just needed that nudge out of my introspection. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.