Archive for the ‘Growth Points’ Category

Seeing Ourselves God’s Way

June 14th, 2013

Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7

At the Fall, the spiritual sensitivity of the human race was forfeited. What was originally the center of human life became not only peripheral but altogether dead, unable to function at all. Our direction every sense has not only been off a degree or two, but going in an entirely wrong direction.

In our evaluation of one another, we rely too heavily on our senses: how we appear, what we say, whether we are intelligent, clever, funny, exciting, or pleasant according to our misshapen senses. We cannot see one another as God sees, and thereby we get everything else wrong also. And in evaluating ourselves, we form our earliest impressions of who we are, of our true significance and value, based on how others have treated us, what they said about us - and therefore we get everything wrong about ourselves as well. It is misshapen at the best, and completely false or focusing on insignificant traits at the worst.

The physical world is, of course, real. What our senses detect is not non-existence. It is just misshapen in significance because we have omitted the most important factor: the mind and soul and spirit. We can detect some of these. We can observe some character traits of one another, but only to the slightest degree, and even then we can be easily fooled.

God, in contrast, sees us from the inside first. He makes His evaluation on the basis of whether we have faith in Him, and in the conversion of our hearts to Christ Jesus, our spirits come back to life. Our hearts how are not merely crowded by the physical realm. Our thoughts are now no longer bullied by the worldly opinions of others on our worth, or even our own ideas about who we are. Now we have an entirely new basis for evaluating ourselves and every other person on the planet - the spiritual basis of knowing God through Christ, of being a new creation in Him, made new by the power of His Spirit.

When Samuel came to the house of Jesse, he was naturally led to consider Jesse’s sons on the basis of physical traits alone. His eyes fell first on Eliab, the eldest, and his handsomeness, his height, and his seemingly regal features impressed the aging prophet. But God said to Samuel, “I have rejected him,” on the basis of his spiritual deficiency. God directed Samuel to young David, the youngest, the seemingly least of kingly material, the least significant. But what David did have was of the utmost importance to God - a heart that worshiped God, that sought to know Him, that sought to obey Him.

The heart that responds to God’s revelation of Himself with faith and obedience is the most precious asset that anyone of us can have in the all important estimate of the Almighty God. All spiritual growth begins here at this point, and by the inner workings of God we can be shaped into the right people, into the right person.

Growth Points

The Sacred Center

May 13th, 2013

Even though he slay me, yet will I hope in Him…

Job 13:15

There must be a center to our lives or we will fall apart. We cannot hold the circumference without holding the center, and whatever the center is must be sacred to us. Unfortunately we live in a world where the center has been abandoned by many, the idea of the sacred ridiculed. There should then be no wonder that morality is so easily and quickly abandoned today.

Isaiah, by the inspiration of God, wrote of his day:

So justice is driven back, And righteousness stands at a distance; Truth has stumbled in the streets, Honesty cannot enter (Isaiah 59:14).

Once the sacred centered is abandoned then what will take its place? Selfishness, ego, self-worship, fear, pride, lust, sentimentality - whatever it might be will be far less than God, and will result in us being far less than God intends us to be.

Is there a sacred center to your existence? Is there a line that you will not and cannot cross? Is there within you some thing from God, the inspiration of His Word and His Spirit that has revealed to your heart who He is, that holds you together? This was such a center to Job that even during his greatest agony, the center held, to the point of saying that even if God killed him he would still trust in God.

The sacred center is held not for God’s sake alone, but for ours. It was the “Rock” that Christ spoke of to Peter that He will build His church upon, the Rock was Himself, but it was also in some way the very personal and mysterious revelation of this reality to human hearts, so that they clung to Him when all things were shaken. It is the Rock we build our house upon that withstands the fiercest storms, that keeps us upright when all else is washed away.

This sacred center is known is the deep mystery of God’s dealing with us, and it is often stated in simple, yet profound words - such as, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Such a simple faith, because it is of God, has the power to hold our beings together when all else tries to tear us apart. This was the hope spoken of by the psalmist who wrote these words, seemingly uttered to himself:

Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (Psalm 43:5).

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