Man of Sorrows

Our Lord is a man of sorrows (Is 53:3); grief is His companion. He weeps over our sin and stubbornness (Lk 19:41-42) and He’s looking for us to be afflictedManOfSorrow with Him. (Ez 9:4)

Does human brokenness move us to grief, sorrow and weeping? (Ps 119:158136) Or does a certain smugness, contempt or disdain pollute us? When we sense someone’s in error, is our first instinct to triple-check ourselves, hoping we’re missing something? Or do we jump too quickly to find fault? When we must discuss another’s brokenness, is it reluctantly … with tears? (Php 3:18-19)

ManOfSorrowsLoving our neighbors as ourselves means being as grieved in others’ failings as we are in our own. In seeking holiness and truth we often find ourselves confronting and exposing brokenness, but enjoying and feeding off of this is ugliness, enmity and pride. (Php 2:3) As C.S Lewis so elegantly observes, we must not wish black was a little blacker, for soon we’ll be wishing grey was black … and in the end inherit darkness.

The high calling of God is perfection (Mt 5:48), so through Christ we strive after it by faith. (Col 1:29) Christ’s love shines through holy sorrow (Ec 7:3); without it we’re nothing. (1Co 13:1-3) Let’s fellowship with Him in His suffering (Php 3:10), giving all diligence to add this virtue to our faith. (2Pe 1:5-7) It may not seem possible to get there from here, but God is willing and able to help us. (Ep 3:20)

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Right In Our Own Eyes

When we feel strongly that something’s right or wrong, how do we know we’re right? Do we just presume so, based on how strongly we feel?

HelixNebula
Helix “God’s Eye” Nebula

If we’re not consciously referencing God’s standard of right and wrong as we make moral judgments … aren’t we just making up our own? (Pr 21:2)

But isn’t God the only One Who has the right to do this? Aren’t we constantly usurping that right? Trying to put ourselves on the throne instead of God? But isn’t this Satan’s way? (Is 14:13-14)

God’s definition of sin is Torah. (1Jn 3:4) Are we hiding it in our hearts and asking Him to conform us to it? If not, what are we doing?

When God judges the world, I expect He’s going to use His own definition of sin, not ours. Wouldn’t it be tragic to face the God of Heaven and be so completely wrong about absolutely everything? (Pr 30:12) When He’s made His laws so accessible to us? What will be our defense? (Ro 3:19)

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.(Mt 7:7-8)

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Let Us Draw Near

Jehovah, being central in all things (Ro 11:36), calls us to Himself. But most of us don’t seek after God as He is (Ps 53:2-3); we’re content with shallow sentiment and ritual when our hearts are far away. (Mt 15:8)

Mt Ararat, Turkey

It’s tempting to deceive ourselves into thinking we’re close to Him (Ja 1:26), imagining a god we can be fond of (Ro 1:21), as if He were a doting grandpa or a cute puppy … when in reality He’s a consuming fire (He 12:28-29); it’s an awesome thing to fall into His hands. (He 10:31)

Being close to God is not about feeling fond of Him; it’s not in sentimentality. “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” (Ps 24:3-4) If we are not pursuing holiness as a manner of life, we’re nowhere near God. (1Jn 3:10)

Let’s draw near to God! (He 10:22) Value what He values; love what He loves and hate what He hates. (Mt 16:23) Pursue truth (2Th 2:10)seek His face (Ps 27:8) and keep His commandments. (Jn 14:21) Serve Him with fear … and rejoice with trembling (Ps 2:11), humbly thanking Him for everything. (Ep 5:20)

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.(Ja 4:8-10)

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Seek My Face

God commands us to seek His face. “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.” (Ps 27:8) What does this mean, and how do we do it?

Phoenix Nebula

Seeking God’s face is the seeking of God Himself: it is laying down our self to seek Another, the heart of a greater Self. It’s connecting relationally with God, abiding in Him, heart to heart, abandoning at our core all that’s not of God. (Ps 73:25)

When we look into another’s face, when eyes meet eyes, two souls meet in a way that’s not physical. There is a relational connecting, a vulnerability, a seeing that is deeply intimate.

As we behold God’s face He transforms us (2Co 3:18), to deliver us from the shame of Eden, that shrinking, that hiding that springs from the shame of sin. (Ge 3:10) God frees us of the dominion of sin, and thus from shame (Ps 119:6), so that we may look into each other, and into Him, with confidence and joy. (1Jn 2:28) This is our destiny. (1Co 13:12)

Are we content with anything besides God Himself? (Ps 42:2) Have we abandoned self-love in order to seek His face? (Jn 12:25) Are we, with every fiber of our being, distilling every place to this one? (Ps 42:1)

Are we willing to live anywhere else? Pursue anything else? (Ga 5:24) Be anything else? Not if we’re children of God. (Php 3:18-20)

With all our finding then let’s find the face of God; let’s continually behold Him (Ps 27:4), that we may both know Him (Jn 17:3) and be known by Him. (Mt 7:23) And in that great and final Day when God’s face is finally unveiled (Re 20:11), destroying all that can be destroyed (He 12:27), we will be at home. (Da 12:2-3)

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Keep My Commandments

Every heart responds to the Creator in one of two basic ways: thankfulness and joyful obedience — or distrust and disobedience. (Ro 1:21)

We all start out in sin, as rebels hating God (Ep 2:3), but God transforms some of us so that we begin loving Him, trusting Him, thanking Him and obeying Him from the heart; He quickens our spirits to love Him, to delight in His Law, and starts writing His laws into our minds and hearts. (He 8:10) We then begin to enjoy obeying Him: a transformed nature, a new creature, is evidence of our redemption. (2Co 5:17)ButterfliesFlower

Jesus said: “If ye love me, keep my commandments;” (Jn 14:15) we love Him by keeping His Laws (1Jn 5:3), Torah, which are good. (Ro 7:12) So Jesus didn’t abolish Torah (Mt 5:17-19); it’s still God’s definition of sin. (1Jn 3:4) Though we aren’t justified by obeying God’s Law, we’re deceived in thinking we’re in a right relationship with God if we’re still willfully disobeying Him. (1Jn 2:4) We can’t worship in truth until we’ve learned His commandments(Ps 119:7)

As we seek to make our election sure, here’s an easy litmus test: if there are parts of Torah we still don’t like, that we disdain and deliberately refuse to obey, then we’re deceived, carnal, out of step with God (Ro 8:6-7); the stubborn, willfully disobedient soul has yet to be redeemed. (Ro 2:7-9) In other words, What’s the point in pretending to be transformed … if we aren’t acting like it? (1Jn 3:7)

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Lest Any Man Fail

Having my heart established with grace is a goal in which I am making progress daily, looking to ensure that my heart is stabilized only in and by grace, the enabling power of God. I am no longer content to live unsettled and uneasy, nor in smug self-confidence; perfect peace in God is my daily objective.WoundedSoldier2

Yet even as I grow here, a related command in Hebrews intrigues me: “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.” (He 12:15-6)

What does it mean to establish grace in community? How does this form, and how does it relate to the foundation of the church? Am I to discern if another is failing in the enabling power of God? And if I do, what is a godly response? What is a root of bitterness? And help me understand … profane person. And how are these symptomatic of failing of grace? What is God calling us to here? How do we go about it?

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