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True Wealth

Today God has given me something in Revelation 3, verses 17 through 19, which say:

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. (Revelation 3:17-19)

A couple days ago, we talked about how you could be the poorest person in the World, but still be rich if you had Christ. Well, thing about that is, it works the other way ’round, too. If you don’t have Jesus in your life, it doesn’t matter how rich you are, you’re Spiritually poor. This is why God counsels them to “buy from me gold refined by fire,” because His “gold” is Spiritual. His gold represents a life lived closer with Himself, and with a greater amount of fellowship with Christ-something which is far more valuable than any Earthly gold. He also counsels them to ‘buy’ from Him “white garments,” so that their “nakedness”-i.e., their sin-may not be seen. He also tells them to buy from Him ‘salve’ for their eyes, so that they’ll be able to discern right from wrong, given that sin often times blinds us to the wrongness of our actions.

Hopefully this is nothing new, though. Most Christians know that their relationship with Christ should come before money, family, friends, etc., and that we need Christ to cover over our sins, and that apart from Jesus helping us to see, we would be Spiritually blind. The really interesting bit about this passage, however, is that He tells the Church in Laodicea to buy from Him the gold, garment, and salve. We all know that God is no peddler, why should He be when He made everything (including money) in the Universe? Moreover, Spiritual things are not easily purchased… You’ll be hard pressed to find cream in your local drug store that can allow you to see your sin clearly for what it is, or a robe that can cover your sin entirely.

So then, how do we buy something from someone who already owns everything we could give Him? We don’t. We couldn’t if we tried, because we humans are physical beings (up to the point when we die). It’s just as impossible for us to purchase something Spiritual with something physical as it would be for fire to purchase water; the two just don’t mix. That is why it took Christ, being both fully God (Spiritually) and man (physically), to purchase what we could not. It seems that God is telling the Church to “buy” the various items, in order to get them to realize that, in spite of their Earthly riches, they could not buy this with money. He’s showing them here the pointlessness of wealth that isn’t coupled with a love for Christ.

No currency in the World could have bought what Jesus bought for us with His death and Resurrection. It’s only by His paying the greatest price that we could be given a relationship with God; it’s only by His blood that our sin could be entirely covered, as by with a robe; it’s only by Him being made blind in death that we should be able to see clearly. So then, let’s give Christ the glory, and stop focusing so much on the money we do or do not have. In the end, it really won’t matter how much money we died with, but it will matter if died without having a relationship and love for Christ.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2013 in Delivered Through Love

 

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Faith: Passive or Active?

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” (Luke 8:22-25)

The disciples were acting just as anyone else would. If any of us thought we were in a life-threatening situation, and had Jesus with us, I’d guess that every one of us would do just as the disciples did; wake Jesus up, and ask Him to help us! But Jesus rebuked them, for, of all things, a lack of faith. If anything, it seems as though the disciples are demonstrating faith when they wake Jesus up. If they didn’t think He could do anything, they may have just let Him keep sleeping. The reality though, is that Jesus wanted to teach them a lesson: complete and utter dependence upon Him. Jesus would not have let them drown, no matter what things looked like at the time.

But now, have we learned that lesson as well? We have Jesus with us just as much as the disciples did; His very Spirit lives in us. And our Spiritual storms are certainly just as big as the physical one they experienced. But, should we really do what the disciples didn’t, and simply wait on Jesus to act? Should we really let go and let God? Well, faith does not always require inactivity on our part. Sometimes there is simply nothing we can do, and in those times, yes, we are to simply trust God to do what will bring Him the most glory through us. This is the kind of scenario which the disciples found them-self in; unable to do anything which would help. Which is why Jesus rebuked them for not having faith that He would keep them all alive.

However, in times where we can do something, we should. If we can stop someone committing murder, then we should have faith that God is using us to stop the potential killer. We obviously shouldn’t simply stand by and watch. But, sometimes we aren’t sure if we can, or if we should act. In those times, it’s best to follow Jesus’ example:

Jesus had a passive-faith, in which He did not do anything to stop events playing out as God intended, during His “trail”. He had an active-faith that what He was doing was God’s (i.e., His own) will when He looked at the state of humanity, and chose to sacrifice Himself in order to save them.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Delivered Through Love

 

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