Not long ago I asked our son, David, if he wanted to go and see the house we will be moving to. He seemed interested, even thought it was getting dark. He did look confused though when I took him to two rows of bricks surrounded by earth and asked him, “What do you think then?” He smiled, half laughed and looked a bit caught between bemusement and embarrassment as to what on earth he was meant to say! Until that response I did not realise that was a ridiculous question to ask him! There was almost nothing there to think anything about! However that did not stop me asking him a second question: “It’s nice isn’t it?” Well, now there was more than half laughter!
For me however, I have seen an example of the finished thing in a Showhouse. It is easy for me to look at the plot and to imagine the finished house. Please don’t go all cynical and email me about snagging and builders and delays and so on. Don’t be too quick to pour scorn on me and burst my bubble of joy and excitement! Actually I know all about such possibilities… but nothing you may say can take away from what I can see when I look at these two rows of bricks. Actually I confess that I go and just look at them reasonably regularly! Such are the things one finds time to do when one is retired on health grounds…
You might dismiss such visits as crazy, but actually they are motivated by a type of faith. After all according to Hebrews Chapter 11, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen.” I have no doubt what will appear in that plot, despite any setbacks, delays or whatever. I can see it with at least some degree of clarity.
I wonder if you have something in mind when you think of God’s purpose being increasingly completed in your life? I do. According to the bible it was a purpose decided in Eternity which is the same for very believer. We are predestined to become like God’s Son. That is the main purpose of our being on earth and becoming followers of Jesus. Every other difference between each of us is incidental or at least much less important compared with that. So, have you got in mind an image of Jesus? As I have asked before in a blog does it fit with Matthew Mark Luke and John, or does your image that you have picked up from someone,somewhere, somehow, need questioned or even abandoned as non authentic?
Biblical faith in God does not mean anything at all that I can imagine I can have. There was a teaching going around like that in Charismatic circles twenty years ago, but that is not faith in God. That is more like witchcraft, a seeking to manipulate spiritual power to my advantage. True faith according to the bible comes from hearing the Word of God. It is a response gifted by the Spirit of God to hearing the Word of the Lord, and the Word of the Lord on the eternal purpose for a believer’s existence is that here on earth we should become like God’s Son. One day, when the process of transformation on earth has reached its limit then it will be time to go home through the valley of the shadow of death to become a completed work. Or it may be that The Hope of Christianity will be fulfilled during your life time and mine with Christ coming again. When that moment comes in the providence of Almighty God, the bible tells us something will happen: believers alive on the earth will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. Despite all that we maybe do not know about heaven or eternity to come the bible says we know this, that when Jesus appears, we will be like Him.
It is good to believe for what God says He can and will do. He can and will make us increasingly like Jesus. That is the goal to which we are to orientate our faith. I hold that vision for me. I have held that vision for the church for many years now. A vision for a church that looks like Jesus where the lost are saved, where people find fullness of life, the sick are healed, the oppressed are set free and the Word of the Lord causes as much amazement to hearers as a miracle. At times I have seen that being within grasp. I have been in moments now and then when all I can say is that it seemed as though God stepped down from heaven to make his Name known on the earth. But usually at such moments people get in the way with another vision, or franchise and package something that God is doing as though it belonged to them.
Is your vision for you and for the church simply “Jesus”? No point to prove to anyone; no agenda to manipulate in the church; no other passion than that individually and together we would become like the Son of God?
“Oh God, have mercy on your church and on each one of us. Nothing else matters than the glory of your Son in our lives and in the Church. May the Lord Jesus become our only obsession. May Christians speak about His excellencies when they gather together. May His name be upon our lips as we speak to a needy world. Jesus, all for Jesus, all I am and have and ever hope to be!”
Don’t fight the wrong battle for the wrong territory or life goal! There is nothing that has happened to you good or ill that God cannot take and work for this good purpose; to make you and I like His Son! Even those things that are hard to bear, that may have happened to you this very day, look on them in this way: “Even if the devil of hell meant to destroy me through this, I trust that my God and Father can use this to make me like His Son; that is my only battle I set myself in whatever may be happening in my life!”
“But you don’t know Kenny what happened to me today or recently, or way back in time!” You are right, I don’t: I understand the resentment that might be bubbling up slowly as you read this blog today. But I am reminded of Richard Wurmband. Tortured for Christ, when released he used to quip that the Communists were very good to them in that they even gave them musical instruments to praise the Lord – the “clink clink “ of their chains, which Christian prisoners used to provide musical accompaniment as they sang together, “This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made.” Perhaps when you hear that story, any rising anger against the principle of this blog may sound more like an embarrassing whimper….
God bless you as He takes all things and works them together for His good purpose; to make you like the Jesus we read of in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Do you actually know what He is really like or are you mesmerised by another Jesus? It may be time to start reading the book and by that I mean in this instance the New Testament from the beginning again. May faith , true faith ,come to you by the Word of God…..
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