Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Living Our Potential in Christ

I love my wife.  God certainly knew what He was doing in bringing us together.  We are certainly not the same, but we certainly complement each other. Compatibility is not about being the same, it is about being complimentary.  We do share many similar interests, the first and foremost being our love for the Lord.  If anything, her love and faith for the Lord are an inspiration to me.  Sometimes I wish I could just rest in faith the way that she does. It is not that I do not have faith, but she is more on seeking and I am more on acting.  Sometimes seekers seek forever and sometimes actors act impulsively without seeking enough.  Do you how see how beautifully those two contrasts work together?  Another contrast that we have is that she sees the good in everything, whereas I tend to point out the bad.  Once again, we see contrasts that can work together.  She holds me back when I am being impulsive and I urge to act when I think the seeking is done.  She points out the good in places where I sometimes get lost in the bad and I help her see the dangers in accepting the bad.  If bad is accepted, it grows like a cancer and can affect the whole body.  The Bible tells us that a little leaven leavens the whole lump, and that is why it must be eliminated. 

I am not saying that these contrasts always work perfectly together.  It is not that God did not know what He was doing when He brought us together, but it is about each of us having times of stubbornness in our own ways to where we refuse to see the value in the other.  God knows what He is doing, but we do not.  It is a matter of dying to our selves and seeing each other for the one flesh we are now.  Sometimes I want to act when she wants to take a step back.  Sometimes she refuses to see the bad and sometimes I refuse to see the good.  Sometimes she rests comfortably in faith where I can not help but to see a glaring problem with our chosen course.  When that happens, there is conflict.  Being that I am more stubborn than she is, I will admit that more times than not I am the one with most of the blame.  I do know, though, that as we grow together in the Lord, that the harmony of our spirits will also grow.  I look forward to growing together with her and all the adventures that will come with it.  She is my other part, my missing rib, and the very special gift God gave me as my partner in this life. 

The body of Christ, in a way, also shares this kind of relationship.  I am not saying we are married to one another in the church, but just as husband and wife are one flesh, the church is one body.  We are the body of Christ, each with our own parts to play.  We all have different personalities and gifts and they all need to work together to to glory of God.  Jesus said that a sign to the world that we are His is our love for one another.  It really is that important.  That is why gossip is such a terrible sin.  It shows a complete lack of love and causes division in the body.  That is why any sin that causes division is such a terrible sin.  And that is we must be so vigilant to take away the bad.  This is true from removing sinful practices from our own lives to removing an unrepentant sinful brother from our fellowship.  Both are necessary because, as I said, it will grow like a cancer and affect the whole bunch.  This is true because just as stubbornness causes conflict in marriage, stubbornness causes conflict in the church.  If you are too stubborn to repent of sinful practices, it causes conflict.  If a church is too stubborn to submit to the Word of God and remove an unrepentant brother, it causes conflict.  Sometimes removal causes conflict, but that is again because of stubbornness of people who refuse to accept it, regardless of what it says in the Word. 

And that brings me to my point, please do not take the things that I say in this blog is merely looking for bad.  I know it seems that all I see is bad.  Surely it is true that I see the bad in bad behavior or bad doctrine, but that is only because I see what things could be without the bad.  In other words, my heart is not focused on bad but on potential.  If I correct someone when I think they said something wrong, it is not because I just like to criticize but because I want them to be right.  If I write about some bad behavior prevalent in the church, it is only because I see the potential in what their lives could be if they were living right.  Think how powerful a church would be if it was unified in right doctrine and right living.  Think of the witness, think of the souls saved, think of the lives affected for Christ, and think of what that kind of world would be.  Think of the apostolic church, where they lived their love for one another.  All they had belonged to everything else and they went on in one accord and, by their witness, they changed the world.  Jesus is the stone upon which we were built, and they are the foundation built upon that rock that we continue to build on even to this day.  It is through these founding saints, that God wrote the New Testament.  My first prayer is for the Lord to return in my lifetime, if not today.  If the Lord tarries though, I pray for one last glorious gasp of life from the church before getting swallowed up in the Great Apostasy.  I pray for one more glorious revival sweeping not just my church or my town or even my nation, but the entire world.  And I pray that through that revival, an awaking like none other ever before will come.  Oh how glorious that would be!  To see the spirit of God poured out upon the whole world, saving souls by the millions!  But that begins with us living like the light and salt that we are in Christ and it that requires us to begin to live in unity with one another in right doctrine and right living. 

I will end where I began, with a picture of a perfect marriage.  Only this marriage is one we are all a part of.  As the church, we are the Bride of Christ.  Our wedding ceremony is being planned as we speak and the program is already outlined for us in Revelation.  Jesus already did His part.  He sacrificed Himself for us.  He died so that we might live.  His blood has cleansed us from all unrighteousness and made us perfect in the eyes of God.  He made us His bride by His blood and there is nothing we can do to add to that.  We are His betrothed, made perfectly righteous in His blood.  Nothing I write or say has anything to do with making us any more righteous nor does any behavior I write about make us any less righteous if we are in Christ.  It is only by His blood that we have any righteousness.  So while we can not make ourselves any more righteous, we can certainly live more righteously.  Jesus did His part in this marriage by creating that bond through His blood and making us worthy for His hand.  Now it is time for us to do our part and live what He has made us to be.  It is time for us to live like the bride of Christ, to be the salt and light that He made us, to express the love that He has loved us with, and to share the good news of the wedding to come.  I know when I was engaged, there is not a person we did not tell of our upcoming marriage.  We need to be that excited about Jesus, not for the purpose of bragging about it, but for the purpose of inviting others to be a part of it.  With the Holy Spirit living in our hearts, our potential is so much more than what we are.  We will one day realize that potential when we are in our new glorified bodies and we begin our lives with God, in paradise for all eternity. Please, stop living as what you were before Christ, live as you are in Christ.  As for your potential as the bride of Christ, I will let the Bible answer that question. 
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.  Ephesians 5:22-27 NKJV

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