For the Kingdom of God is...righteousness, shalom and joy in the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). ~Romans 14:17 (CJB)
Have I told you what a joy and pleasure your presence is? It is! And I thank you for joining me on this journey...
I trust that your studies over the last week have been fruitful! I hope that your journaling was also a breath of fresh air, whether a new discipline or an old delight!
This particular journey we are on in search of The Promised Land is not for those of us who think we may have already found It, and are happy to simply look upon from a 'safe place'. It's also not for those of us who don't think we need It. It is for those of us who are continually seeking It and dare to enter Its Beautiful Borders. For only in our continual seeking do we bridge the gap from 'merely looking upon' to 'entering and taking possession of'.
If there is one thing I have learned in my journey with The Messiah Yeshua, it is this:
While it may be SAFE to simply look upon The Promised Land, it is certainly NOT SATISFYING!
It cannot be. Journeying with The Messiah (Anointed One) is a GREAT ADVENTURE because HE is not simply taking us to the next thing, HE is bringing us 'from glory to glory'. He is forming His Kingdom within us. This Anointed One has anointed us (for something); therefore, we cannot be satisfied with simply 'looking upon' The Promised Land! (That is where many of us stop.) We were meant to take possession of ABUNDANT LIFE. His Spirit is preparing His Bride for His Coming! And any GREAT ADVENTURE requires TRUSTING FAITHFULNESS (i.e. 'perseverance' even if you have to persevere SCARED out of your wits!)
Let's face it, sometimes we just don't dare charter into unknown territory! I mean...have you seen those Giants?
Along life's way, you have already experienced and have come to realize that many things (seen and unseen) attempt to keep us from possessing our Promised Land...thus, the great struggle you may be feeling to possess is not futile, it is required...Let's dig!
Let us first consider and appropriate the mandate to be transformed (Romans 12:1-2). Have you really thought about your own transformation lately? At this point in your Christian life, do you think it is even necessary? I mean, you are already doing so much already, right? And yet...dry, dry is the ground, nothing grows, nothing new may be found!
Do you find yourself often looking at other Christians who seem to have achieved some sort of Christian Hedonistic utopia always rejoicing (even in their trials)...and you just don't get it? And you really, really want to get it? Furthermore, you really, really want to have it?!
Next, have you pondered the transformation of your local assembly? Is it even possible? I mean, it seems it has become pretty much acceptable to remain the same, right (also known as 'lukewarm')? The same ol' gossip, the same ol' cliques, the same ol' songs, the same ol' sermons, the same ol' lessons, the same ol' walls, etc. Is anything really changing? Am I?
"Am I?" That is the question to be asking, isn't it? Just as Jesus openly rebuked Peter as he questioned the graces of his fellow disciple, John (John 21:22), so Jesus speaks to us in like manner, "What is it to you? You, follow Me!"
"You, follow Me!" That's it! Those joy-filled ones are joy-filled because they have learned a Divine Truth. They have learned that they cannot afford to forget the rich Word of Christ: "You, follow Me!".
They have learned that hurrying to the end of life's rainbow that doesn't even exist in search of the coveted treasure of 'abundance' that is not even there is chasing the wind because
It's not simply about the Destination (that is FUTURE GLORIFICATION given at Christ's death/resurrection), it's really about the Journey (our SANCTIFICATION given by Christ day by day)!
Did you notice that Christ was never in a hurry? My entire life, it seems, I have hurriedly rushed around while waiting to live. Is this you? And waiting for what? That doesn't even make sense, does it?
Christ wants us to be JOY-FILLED presently (that means now!). The Father desires for His child to LIVE! so HE sent His Son Who just happens to be LIFE (John 14:6). His Son came to give us HIS Shalom (John 14:27) through which OUR JOY IS MADE WHOLE, COMPLETE, and LACKING NOTHING (John 15:11).
What good is my Christian life if I do not have it...meaning I am not living life? What good is my living if I am not changing? For to change is to truly live.
"Because I live, you too will live."~ Yeshua to His disciples (John 14:19)
Christ spoke this to His disciples before His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and sending of His Holy Spirit!
Paul spoke about our Promised Land/Abundant Life this side of the Cross when he wrote...
"For to me, to live IS Christ" (Philippians 1:21)...BECAUSE "I have been crucified with Christ, so that my proud ego no longer lives, but Christ LIVES in me...(Galatians 2:20)"
This whole matter of transformation - the new life - then, is a mandate. In fact, it is the very reason why many of us are not LIVING (as CHRIST lived - full of righteousness, shalom and joy!) and it has had its fatal consequences. For we have turned the Divine Command into a mere suggestion. And if change is to happen around me as I would love to see in others, it must first BEGIN in me.
What are we to do when our lives in Christ become stale? We have to first ask why.
The LORD most often will not change things around you UNTIL He has first changed you, have you noticed? Afterall, it's YOU HE is after (for good, of course!).
You know all the others you keep looking at with a longing to be as free as they are? I beseech you as Paul did in Romans 12:1-2 to LOOK at CHRIST instead, and hear Him say, 'You, follow Me."
As with anything else, our search for what is lacking in our Christian living (Divine change) begins here in our 'presenting'. And in order to present something, we have to first be present.
The Greek word for 'present' here in Romans is paristemi.
Para - near, in vicinity of, (close) proximity, before, in the sight of + Histemi - to stand, abide, bring, continue
Thus, paristemi literally means 'to stand in the sight of and to continue to bring'. It is the exact Greek word used in Luke 2:22 when Mary and Joseph brought the Baby Jesus to Jerusalem to present Him to the LORD. It is used also in Paul's speech to the Corinthians when he passionately told them that he was 'jealous over them with godly jealousy' because he had espoused them to one husband that he might present them a chaste virgin to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2)!
It seems the proof is not in the pudding afterall...but in the presenting...
Do you stand in the sight of (God) or do you hide like Adam and Eve? Just something to ponder...
If you think your own personal transformation is impossible and/or optional at this point in your life, in a kindly manner I tell you, you're wrong (x's 2!). That kind of wrong theology caters to our laziness. The kind of heart transforming, LIFE-INFUSING change that Christ talks about begins with the offering (the presenting). HE does everything else. Change is an inside job and HE cannot change something you have never brought before Him.
Oh, and one more thing. I'm not trying to tell you how to live...I'm just encouraging you by way of reminder TO LIVE!
Next week, we will look at some of the reasons why we don't choose LIFE; as well as how to avoid these traps and schemes. In the coming week, may ADONAI find you and me 'standing in the sight of' Himself that we might RECEIVE all HE desires to give us!
Meanwhile, GET LOST in God's Word, and you will FIND all you've been looking for!
Til next time...SHALOM ALEICHEM!!!