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Archive for February, 2009

The New Scenery of God

February 28th, 2009

The world and its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.

1 John 2:17

 

Already lust is dated and old, not just the thing we lust after but lust itself. Unholy desire for the unholy is in itself passé and decrepit. We are deceived into thinking that desire is new and modern, one of Satan’s best tricks, but there is nothing new under the sun.

 

The scene of a drama is ended, the stage lights darken, the actors exit and as our eyes adjust we can see forms of people in black coming on to the stage and carrying off the scenery and the props never to be seen again in the play. That is the biblical image of what is happening in the world, and it is important to grasp the tense. This is not what will happen one day, though it will be completed one day, rather this is what is happening right now. Just as in a drama, one day the lights will come on and there will be another set and new scenery. We live in the time of seeing the old scenery carted off and, like the drama, it requires unusual vision to see it happening.

 

Doing the will of God requires faith. God looks at the heart and he is describing the heart of faith that results in actions and a different lifestyle. That person remains forever.

 

Malachi prophesied of the coming of the Messiah, “The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings” (Mal. 4:2). The work of God’s redemption has already begun. The good work that belongs to the future kingdom of God is already happening in the lives of those who believe. The wings of the sun is those first stretches of sunlight that streak across the sky in the early morning that announce that sunrise is not far away.

 

Child of God, do not be discouraged. The work begun in your heart shall be completed. The enemy that knocks upon your door is already losing his strength. The lust that wars in your heart is likewise passing away. The promises of God in which you have placed your hope shall be fulfilled, and you shall live to see it. As Job wrote, you too shall say, “I know that my Redeemer lives and in the end he will stand upon the earth, and after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh will I see God” (John 19:25-26). Death will be a door through which you pass into a bright future with God that shall never end.

 

Prayer:

 

Lord, let us listen to your voice today and know that this is the voice of eternity. Let us lose our love for the things of the world and see how quickly they wilt and fade. Let us see how You are eternal and invest our hopes and loves in You. Amen.

 

 

 

Evening Devotionals

Relationship at the Foundation

February 28th, 2009

Because everything that belongs to the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle – is not from the Father, but is of the world.

1 John 2:15b-16

 

Desire unfulfilled dominates the world’s affections. It leads us to idealize having more and to vaunt ourselves over those who have less. In the marring of the original image of God we have been left foundationless yet pushed along by a desire to build our lives like tall and impressive structures.

 

The lust of the flesh is that which feeds our appetites, which feels good to our senses. These are senses, however, that are un-surrendered to God, and as such are never truly fulfilled. Solomon called this like chasing after the wind and feeding on it. The lust of the eyes is that which we find attractive, pleasing in appearance, and beautiful. It is a nobler malady, but a malady nonetheless. The pride in one’s lifestyle is the heart that has deceived itself as to its own importance.

 

John has actually drawn an inclusive circle around all the people in every society. In Greek culture you could spot those overwhelmed by the lust of the flesh. They would be among the prostitutes, drunkards, gluttons, and idlers. Those dominated by the lust of the eyes, however, would appear to have more disciplined lives and might be focused on the arts or architecture. It is not that these things are bad in themselves, no more than is food that should be enjoyed (1 Tim. 4:3-5). The matter is one of worshipping the creation instead of the Creator. The leaders of the society, however, the most respectable among them, could be dominated by pride.

 

But these three matters go to the heart of each of us for they are things we each must deal with and we have each witnessed a leader among us filled with pride getting cut down for underestimating the power of a lust-based temptation.

 

We must keep these drives in check but the solution is not mere moderation for moderation’s sake alone. The secret to fulfillment in life is more than just controlling our baser desires, like penning in the wild dogs of our souls. If that is all we can think to do sooner or later one, if not more, will leap over the fence. It will do so at first in private so no one will see, we think, but eventually we will find that we are dominated by these things. There is more to life than keeping our desires in check.

 

The secret to fulfillment is relationship with God where the real needs of the human heart are met, where a foundation for real life is built. Then every appetite, every thought of beauty, and every accomplishment is surrendered to Him. He is the Bread of Life to our souls, the face in whom we see the Father, and the One who lives and reigns forever. “Lord, who will we go to?” asked Peter of Christ, “You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68) 

 

Prayer:

 

Lord, let us not be dominated by unquenched desires. Let our hearts be captured by You, our wills surrendered to You, and our lives lived in Your presence. Amen.

 

 

Evening Devotionals