Thursday, July 8, 2010

Right Angle

Going out into the world and preaching the Gospel can be a very daunting task. Nonetheless, Christ calls each and every one of His flock to share His gift with the world. When Christ, risen, came upon Peter who had returned to fishing instead of preaching the Gospel, what did Jesus say to Peter? John 21: 15-17

But still it seems there is a litany of reasons why it seems impossible sometimes to actually step out on that limb of faith and publicly share Jesus Christ. Fear is probably the most common of these obstacles. Too many times, it seems, we can be deceived by our own natures and fail to see God’s will. If we understand that sharing Jesus Christ is not of us; not about us; not for us; then maybe we can see God’s will in His plan to evangelize with the truth of the Gospel.

The world does hate the Gospel; let’s face it, the world hates Jesus. Didn’t you a sinner hate the Gospel before God apprehended you? And think about it, what other name is blasphemed more? People use God’s name all the time to swear, but many times those people have false gods anyway. It would seem, however, that when they take the name of Jesus Christ in vain, there is more of a direct intent to use the true God’s name in cursing with their hatred focused toward the Saviour.

There is good news about sharing the Good News, though! When we allow ourselves to be used by God as we love Him, He will show us His mighty work and the power of His truth!

There is a man who loves to have a sanitary and organized kitchen environment. He is quite careful about placing raw meat near other foods in the refrigerator; he won’t place non food items on the area of the counter where he rolls dough; when preparing raw chicken he takes many precautions regarding cross contamination; he is quite careful to avoid getting any hair in food; he will not use the dish rag for anything other than washing dishes or cleaning the counter areas. This man’s love of cleanliness is so genuine that he does not take care of all these things as a duty, but out of love for his work. Because of his love for that work, that same man, who has never worked or been formally trained in the food industry, was recently hired as a manager at a restaurant.

The restaurant that hired him, had many other managers before, but always struggled with the quality standards in their kitchen. Time and time again, the owner of the restaurant would send his acting managers to food safety training courses, and time and time again they would come back to the restaurant with a better standard then when they had left; but only for a little while. With each and every manager that went off to be formally trained in their vocation, it seemed when they returned they had acquired the necessary knowledge to keep good kitchen standards, but they didn’t have a genuine love for those things. As a result, as soon as the newly trained managers had any sort of unfavourable work conditions arise, like being fatigued, or stressed, or very busy, the standards of the kitchen would return to very near what they had been like prior to their training.

So the owner of that restaurant decided to hire a new, different type of recruit; someone who had never been in the restaurant industry at all, but someone who had a pre-existing love for food safety and cleanliness. When he was given the manager job by the restaurant owner, the man who loved his clean kitchen didn’t require much training at all. With some simple procedural training, he was able to keep that restaurant more organized and sanitary than it had ever been kept before. And because he loved his work, he didn’t labour out of duty, but out of love. Yes, he had to be disciplined in his work, and yes he had to perform duties in order to complete his daily tasks. But out of love, his work had much more of an impact than any of the previous, superiorly trained, managers who lacked love for their work.

The Lord loved us while we were still sinners; so much so, that He poured all of His wrath and justice upon His innocent Son and sacrifice, Jesus Christ. Jesus became filth for us. Jesus willingly took the punishment for our sin while He was perfect in word, thought and deed. He paid the price of our filth, for you and me. He was torn from His Father, because of who we are. He could have let us all suffer what we deserve, because we are filthy. We are the Romans, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, in our flesh. We must recognize our sin toward God, and hate the cravings our flesh. Without the redeeming justification of our perfect living Saviour, Jesus Christ, we would all suffer an eternity in Hell; a Hell that we deserve, a Hell that is a mere reflection of our evil nature.

But our merciful and loving God allows us to know life in eternity, glorifying Him; because He loves us. By that love and obedience for His Father, Jesus became our sin; He suffered in a way that is incomprehensible for the human mind. There was no self in Jesus, only love for God! If we even catch the tiniest of a glimpse of that love and devotion that Christ so mercifully displayed, how can we do anything but love Him in return? Nothing we have could stand in our way to serving Him, or would be too much to give up! We will die for Him when we know His love! We will no longer serve Him out of religious duty as to vainly attempt to make ourselves better, but instead we will humbly acknowledge our pathetic inability to do so, and rely fully upon His love and sacrifice.

Our faith comes from God above and then does a 90 degree turn of sorts. As we share Jesus Christ crucified, and His Gospel, God gives us His truth in His word in a very vertical sense. Truth comes from Him, not us. So as God shares His truth vertically from His word and testimony with us, and when we’re willing to be used of God, that truth simply makes a right turn and spreads horizontally from the vessels known as our mouths; as it reaches out to death and destruction around us. If we can simply see that when we share the truth of Jesus Christ that we are witnesses, and nothing else, I think we might find courage in the Lord. If we can see ourselves as an intersection where God’s road of truth turns to deliver His word to the lost and dying in this world, maybe we’ll be hard pressed to see ourselves at all. And wouldn’t that be a good thing? John 3: 30


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