Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Living Epistles

The world is a busy one.  Color-coded calendars, barking dogs, bickering children, ringing phones and racing thoughts are just a part of this life.  But is that alone what we’re supposed to attain to each day?  Is a marked thru list of achievements the goal?  No.  We may accomplish a thousand tasks in one day, but accomplishments alone won’t bring us to ‘our goal’. 

Our goal - that which brings shalom (peace) to our minds and chockmah (wisdom) for our day - is to be CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF OUR REDEEMER YESHUA.  

26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, ~ Romans 8

 Yeshua came to offer a NEW HEART.  But many of us are settling for just a NEW IDEA.  Paul lends great insight into the matter...and it’s not anything new.   Paul tells the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 3:3) “You make it clear that you are a letter from the Messiah placed in our care, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on stone tablets but on human hearts.” 

Ah, that’s the difference maker isn’t it?  The NEW HEART Yeshua offers happens INWARDLY.  That INWARD WORKING manifests itself in TRANSFORMATION BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD.  What does that look like?  Well, it’s humility expressing itself in the active, authentic love and acceptance of others (and thus, your God).  It benefits others.

The NEW IDEA, however, is merely an external piece of advice.  That lowly external working manifests itself as a compilation of information gratifying the flesh (knowledge puffs up).  It benefits only you.  That looks like pride parading itself as haughty, self-service with a passivity and apathy for others (and thus, your God). 

The NEW HEART is conformed to the Image of Yeshua and that holy Image will be expressing itself in an active love and acceptance for those in your sphere of influence.  The NEW IDEA is conformed to the image of well, Cain - a self-absorbed, jealous man of low character who killed his own brother because his ‘offering’ of a wicked gift was not accepted by his Loving Father ADONAI (who graciously intervened by appealing to Cain’s conscience in an effort to help him ‘choose well, choose the better way’...but he did not [Gen. 4:7]). 

I suppose we have to first take a look at what we’re offering then, right?  I suppose if we take Paul’s advice, we need to acknowledge that we truly are ‘Living Epistles known and read by everyone’.   The Greek is 'epistole Christos' or 'Anointed Epistle/Letter'.

Once when my children were small, they each sat at the table with markers and crayons scattered in the center.  They masterfully tended their creations that were to be specially made for Mom.   They completed their ‘offerings’ at just about the same time and in an effort to get their offering to me first, they rushed towards me and began to trample one another using harsh words and hitting and yelling.  All of a sudden, my pride for what they were making for me turned into a deep sadness....and I could not accept their ‘offerings’ with a joyful heart.  They each looked at me with great confusion as I tried to, best I could, explain to them that I couldn’t receive their gifts until they were once again united in the beautiful harmony I saw they had at the kitchen table just a few moments earlier.  I helped them to understand that my heart was hurting when they fought and were in such discord.  Somehow, their little minds understood and with their limited understanding, they made up as best they knew how.  With a pure, joyful conscience, I was then able to receive their gifts with great gladness!  And they were happy as well.

And ADONAI helped me to understand that day the Truth of Genesis 4, the Ten Words (Commandments), and the Living, Anointed Epistle HE had created - predestined - us to be...conformed to the Image of His Holy Son Yeshua.  That kind of offering is wholly acceptable...

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