Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tension part 3

There is in this life our position as users, consumers. We are resident in a society that requires and leaves us with little alternative than to consume. How in this context do we remain consecrated, and sanctified while constantly being saturated by culture? Which example in the prior post is the one which defines our earthly existence? All of them?

The example to be followed is the one presented by Jesus. So how did He interact with His culture? How was He relevant? He came preaching the Kingdom of God to a people who were expecting a military overthrow of the oppressive forces to which they were in subservience. Their expectations were never realized while Jesus was with them. In that aspect He was not relevant, however, He was culturally significant. Unlike myself, he was not a consumer, He moved constantly, never vacillating (I can't say that), He was focused on the Father's work, exclusively (I can't say that), He entered into relationship with people and lived with their misconception of Him, without rebuking and admonishing, only supplying for their immediate needs. Those with whom He developed a deeper relationship He taught patiently and in His omniscient understanding and sufficient grace allowed them to remain in positions of false assumption, knowing that the fullness of time would reveal the truth. It is interesting to note that in God's economy, nothing is diminished in the follower, even while waiting or growing or whatever, wisdom is found and duty is carried out, in all conditions of life, when we realize not to throw away the comfort we have, because we never have all that we may or would.
Even in this culture, where assaults upon Christian and Judeo-Christian beliefs abound, we have protection and freedom, our exiled position is shown in that context. We are bombarded from all sides with the attacks upon the basic foundations of life as explained in the Bible, and in that context we are the army of God battling for the occupation and conquest of the land to overthrow Satan, while living with the residual, partisan and militant influences of the embedded remnant. This places us in tension, whatever position is chosen whether it be cultural, counter-cultural or anti-cultural, we find ourselves making concessions to that culture which we would desire to subvert, thus making ourselves ineffective in accurately reaching, touching and affecting the culture around us. In accepting a position in relation to culture we compromise God's calling, and refute God's claims on our lives.

We are to be the planter, the man living and working, sowing seed, not indolent in duty, but diligent in his obligations, living in country, presumably affecting change or supporting ascendant truth, exerting force or exercising ability to change the development of the fluctuating aspects of the generations like thought, decisions, behaviours and conduct.

We are to be men, 1 Corinthians 16:13,14, "Watch, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men (be brave, act manly), be strong. Let all that you do be done with love."

We are to be intentional and purposeful in planting seed, knowing the field is fraught with dangers, errors and sin. The sower must be ever watchful of the things (darnel,tares) which would bring reproach upon the Bride of Christ, the Church. This is Kingdom living in tension. Awakening to watch and be alert to the inherent dangers of our surrounding culture, standing, not tottering or vacillating between opinions of truth, removing the effeminate, tolerant nature of abdication from the courageous, unflinching, spirit of power given to us. 2 Timothy 1:7,"...for God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and a sound mind." Acting without timidity, cowardice or fear, taking upon ourselves the position of Moses, who stood in the gap, fearing the destruction of the Church as the greater loss, as compared to the sacrifice of ourselves in its defense. In the things of this nature, those that are detrimental to the Church, there can be no ground given.

The issue of Kingdom living and the tension, result from the areas that are not so clearly defined, the ambiguous, indistinct, indefinite terms of our empirical reality. It lies pervasively in our decisions of how we choose to interact with those forces around us, it confronts us in the daily decisions we make regarding our position concerning marriage, divorce, re-marriage, pre-marital sex. extra-marital sex, spousal abuse, pornography, materialism and racism, as opposed to the position of grace, mercy. love, justice, etc..

It resolves itself in our position on What holiness means to me/you personally? It is not resident in a form of personal morality, personal religious relevance, subservience to a set of rules and regulations governing life (or the appearance), belief in the Christian morays or even belief in God. It is found in the personal relationship, it is found in the union that I/we have with God through Jesus Christ. Therein lies the tension, this is not a transferable, or easily translatable concept or belief that can be applied to another person by osmosis, it is by direct injection only, and that injection is from God.

Kingdom living is about holiness, "I will be your God, and you shall be My people," says Yahweh in Leviticus 26:12 & Hebrews 8:10. The pronouns speak the loudest, 'God' says 'I' and calls you to be the 'My people". The emphasis can also be placed heavily on the phrase 'My people', God calls us/me to be a people 'set apart' (consecrated), for ourselves, for others, as a part of the Bride (the Church), and for the sake of the world, "...a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9 "Be holy, because I am holy", says the Lord, attain to that level of separation from the pursuit of anything that drives a wedge between you and God, that all within the realm of your sphere of influence will notice.

"I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received" Ephesians 4:1, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service, and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable will of God" Romans 12:1,2 " Continue to work out your salvation in fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose." Philippians 2:12,13