ARE CHRISTIANS CALLED TO SELF-EXAMINATION?

Isn’t it interesting how the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians “each man must be careful how he builds” on the foundation which is Christ? He told the Corinthians they were God’s building and Christ was the foundation but they should be careful how they build because the materials were either gold, silver and precious stones or they were wood, hay and stubble. At first glance this may look as if Paul is telling us to examine ourselves to be sure of what materials we are building with but as you read a bit further he also tells them “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise….The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.”

As you read the first part of 1 Corinthians 4 you see that Paul himself didn’t even examine himself. He said, “For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.” Wow, so let me see if I’ve got this straight. He tells us to be careful how we build but don’t think, or reason, the way the world does because things may not be exactly the way they appear. In other words, those things that at first glance may appear to be wood, hay or stubble may in fact be gold, silver and precious stones. The reasoning of man can’t show us this only God.

Walking by faith rather than sight means we can’t always know, or see with our natural eyes, what God is up to. He may take something that we think is insignificant and change someone’s life forever and, on the other hand, some things in which we place our greatest emphasis may simply blow away in the breeze. This is why he says, “wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.”

While not examining yourself may sound dangerous to some it truly does leave things up to the Spirit of God. In the Psalms David understood this principle therefore he prayed like this, “Examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my mind and my heart” (Psalm 26:2). Once again he says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23-24). You see we have to learn to leave the examining to God. When we take it into our own hands we will inevitably have a bias opinion and we will find ourselves justifying our behavior and either blaming others or crediting ourselves. This is what it means by the reasonings of the “wise”.

A friend of mine, Brian Coatney, has said many times he lives his life in green lights. He said occasionally he’ll run into a yellow light and maybe even a red one; but until the Spirit shows him to slow down or stop he lives safely in the green. While this may sound dangerous to some my thoughts are how else are we going to travel? I mean there is no end to the swirling thoughts and ideas that come with attempting to reason these things out. So let’s be done with our reasoning and trust what Jesus said the Spirit would do. He said, “He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment…and “when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come”(John 16:8 & 13).

Either The Spirit will show us or He won’t, but I’m thinking He will. What do you say we learn to look to Jesus rather than ourselves?

Louie

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GOD OF ALL CREATION

Lately I have been pondering a few things and one of them is about how all of creation is an expression of God. The Word tells us “since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made.” I heard once that about 80 to 90 percent of communication was nonverbal. In other words, we speak to one another with our eyes, hands and body language most of the time.

God being invisible to our physical eyes speaks to us through his creation in much the same way. The plant life, birds, fish, and all of the stars, moons, planets and Sun tell us something about God, not to mention gravity, wind, storms, life, death and the list could go on and on. It seems as though Paul was correct when he told the Athenians that “in him we live and move and have our being.” There truly is no where we can go to get away from him and his speaking to us.

The glory of God is the point isn’t it? I mean, what else could there be as the meaning of it all. He is the creator and sustainer of all things and everything was made for his glory. There is a promise in Numbers that the whole earth will be filled with his glory. In the seventy second Psalm there is a prayer that the whole earth will be filled with his glory.

The promise and the prayer apparently are true already according to some Angels. Isaiah saw in a vision the Angels crying out “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.” Did you catch the difference? From the Angel’s view the earth is full of God’s glory, present tense. It seems as though their eyesight might be a little bit better than ours or else we don’t really perceive the glory of God that surrounds us everyday.

It’s clear from just looking around that sin and rebellion has taken its toll on creation. There has been a cataclysmic upheaval in all of our surroundings easily seen in earthquakes, famine, super storms, disease, and every other form of death imaginable. The scriptures tell us “all of creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”

We are living in a time of restoration and one day everything will be brought back into its pristine condition. Back to a time when “the morning stars sang together and the trees clapped their hands.” We can only imagine what things will be like once Christ returns and sets everything right. We are told, “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.” For now we may only see glimpses of the glory, we can look at the heavens and be filled with the hope of his promises. Even though decay was introduced into his creation, the heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of his hands.

Every good thing given and every “perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” The fact that there is good left in this world is a reason to have hope. William Law, wrote long ago telling us that everything here in the temporal realm came from God’s eternal realm or nature. He said “All that is sweet, delightful and amiable in this world, in the serenity of the air, the fineness of seasons, the joy of light, the melody of sounds, the beauty of colors, the fragrance of smells, the splendor of precious stones, is nothing else but Heaven breaking through the veil of this world, manifesting itself in such a degree, and darting forth in such variety so much of its own nature.” I don’t know how to add to that, so I won’t. I just want to see and enjoy the God of all creation and his glory in everything, and I hope this has helped you to do the same.

Louie