Sunday, March 25, 2007

Will the visible overcome the invisible?

Why do some Christians seem to be able to more fully express the life of Christ than others? Why is it that folks who have called themselves by the name of Christ for most of their lives produce so little fruit? Why do some who haven't known Him for long seem to ooze Christ from their pores? I have long wondered about this strange observance. I know that there are probably many reasons why a believer does not seem to grow and I certainly do not intend to over simplify the complexity of human beings.

We are by nature autonomous or at least like to think we are. We don't like anyone telling us what to do or how to do it and we certainly think we can figure life out on our own. I have already learned myself of the danger of living out of my feelings. Indeed we do not perceive reality as it really is but we perceive our perception of reality. That perception is colored and tinted by many, many factors. This is why the scripture speaks so plainly about renewing the mind with the truth. We do not know who we are without the truth. Without truth we are completely under the power of feelings, and perceptions that usually come out of our family origins.

A friend reminded me of Proverbs 27:17: "Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." She stated that a big problem is that many of us are rubbing up against plastic, not iron. We do not have other people who are challenging us in all areas of our lives and spurring us on in the pursuit of God. We have superficial relationships that center around common interests or mutual arm's length interaction.

At the moment I am reading Kenneth Boa's book "That I May Know God." He states that we must live life with consistent discipline and exposure to the word within the context of the fellowship of like-minded believers. Without these "the visible will overcome the invisible." This is a profound statement.

In our time we live under the tyranny of the urgent, or at least what we deem urgent, and we are impatient. If we live in this way the temporal will slowly overcome the eternal in our lives. There are so many things determined to have our attention each day. Some of these things are good and some are not so good. Work, accumulation and entertainment have taken the place of seeking God and His people. Though my own life is rather simple in comparison to the lives of others who are raising children or have more responsibilities, I still have to fight to discipline myself to turn and face the Lord daily instead of chasing after whatever shiny thing happens to catch my attention each day. Some days it is easier than other days and some days I fail. But I find an emptiness and dissatisfaction in my life when I have spent my days focused solely on the temporal and have failed to connect with other believers and get the word of God into my heart and mind.


Dorothy Carroll said...

Colossians 3:1-2

One of my greatest temptations is to wallow in the world surrounding me, without ever looking up to see where God is or to evaluate my own spiritual progress. As I roll around in the muck and mud of life, my ability to serve God, let alone my ability to experience Him, begins to atrophy.

Jennifer Knapp sings, "It's better... to be deaf, dumb, and lame than to be the way I am." The longer I live, the more poignantly aware I become of the limitations of my perceptive ability. I long to SEE, but my eyes are dark. I want to HEAR, but my ears are muffled. The things I surround myself with often serve to confine me, and I make choices that hinder the small perceptive ability I do have.

I think it is interesting that people's lifestyles mar their own physical abilities to perceive. We tint our windows, sit too close to the TV, listen to music overly loudly, use products that destroy our planet's protective atmosphere, and indulge in practices that propel us to early death. Doesn't that lay bare our lusts and desires? Perhaps our motion toward physical imperceptiveness winks at our magnetism for a life lived unaware of God. Naturally, we move toward darkness. It is only the Lord who can intervene, setting us finally on the road toward glory, the path of light and life.

Along our way, God has given us many beautiful signs and experiences, which can intimate what his glory is like. But how often do we meditate on these signs or try to evaluate what they reveal about God? The Word of God, the conviction of His Spirit, and His work of creation are our primary opportunities to transcend the distractions we obsess about in our flesh. But how often do we take the time to engage those wonderful opportunities?

jjay said...

Thank you, Tracey (& Dorothy Caroll). So beautifully put. Has given my soul food for thought, to ponder over today.
Colossians 3:23, II Timothy 2:15