30 November 2009

Rx from the Holy Spirit

The “advent season” is a natural follow-on in American Christianity to our celebration of Thanksgiving. This is a special celebration of God’s goodness for keeping us through another year, for supplying our daily bread. This day focuses on keeping body and soul together, and the Christmas marks the commencement of Jesus the Christ’s ministry with his birth. The many themes that surround this period, what King James simply refers to as “the fullness of time” I am going to leave aside for now, though all are worthy of study, reflection and prayer. Now I wish to focus on the present.
If you let the gospels speak to you, I think you will eventually come to realize that the gospels taken together is not a “Wish Book” of promises.

Putting aside for the present statements Christ made about Himself and the rest of the Trinity, and focusing on statements about the common man and "how he is to live" we find really very little. Familiarly, He commands us to repent, confess and commit to following the truth. Jesus Christ calls on our motives and relentlessly expects us to become “real” with the God whom we will eventually face in judgment.  Having said that Jesus speaks little about our day-to-day living, I think that there are two areas in which we err which he does speak to: our future in this earth and our behaviors when it comes to "success" and "achievement." It is possible to boil them both down to a prinicipled view of life which recognizes that all good things come from God, He is sovereign and He is worthy of more gratitude than we can imagine. So here are the two specific "concrete" things Jesus speaks to:

  • One is He never spoke of a person’s future outside of prayer or the context of eternity [even when he spoke with Peter, eternity was in view].
A perfect example of this is the Lord’s Prayer as the outline states, we request bread for today. Manna was eaten only on the day it fell—God prohibited the Jews from storing up for the next day any extras. Not that God is against leftovers for dinner—but He asks us to trust Him, at every level. Much more can be said on this, but I think gospel readers will agree.

  • Secondly, Jesus was a big fan of grateful hearts-and so is the Father. Here again many passages spring to mind, but the most easily illustrated in Luke 17:
“And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices, saying, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go and show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, with a loud voice glorifying God; and he fell upon his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were not the ten cleansed? but where are the nine? Were there none found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger? And he said unto him, Arise, and go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” Luke 17:12-19 (ASV, italics inserted indicate words spoken)

We read that the leper who returned full of gratitude, glorifying God and giving Christ thanks, was made whole after he was filled with gratitude and expressed it. Though this text has been used as a “lever” or “remedy” for “healing ministries,” I think that is the wrong focus.

Christ is bringing home a bigger point and that is that we are sicker than we think we are. Gratitude to God for what He has already done is the remedy for sickness of the heart. 
A whole heart may often be carried in a sick body, just as billions of healthy bodies contain sick, weak and divided hearts. Indeed, Christ continually challenges us this way: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:23-24).

Subjecting ourselves to a heart exam by the clear light of Spirit of Truth is the sole way to prepare our hearts for the Advent of the Christ.

(Charges due at time of service: your pride)