I’m certainly no theologian. But because of the “business” I’ve been in for several decades, it has been incumbent upon me be somewhat of a dilettante in it. I’ve attempted to explore some of the mysteries of the scriptures and understand the difficult passages there.
It’s not the hard to understand or disputed passages that concern me. Rather, it’s the ones that are plainly stated..
You see, it’s the very clear imperatives that measure every life, the criteria that all are evaluated by. They keep me humbled, expose my deficiencies and ask the highest of me, for HIM and for others.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 (NASB)
16 Rejoice always;
17 Pray without ceasing;
18 In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit;
Here are a simple few of them, in my words: Always praise and have joy; Always pray and never quit; Always, in everything, have a gratitude attitude; AND NEVER hinder or squelch the work of the Spirit of God in or around you.
Pretty simple…plainly spoken… easy to understand and talk about…DIFFICULT to live. Probably, it’s just me that struggles with the basics…manifesting essential and validating virtues that should always be seen in the life of a believer…the convincing proofs of HIS presence in me, that require no words to defend or prove.
2 Peter 1:3-4 (NASB)
3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
Not only does Jesus ask these things of me, but HE gives me all I need to pull it off. 2 Peter 1:3a reminds me HE’s provided everything I need for life and godliness. How great is that!!? He tells me what I need to BE, and has provided the necessary resources to DO it. Phew!! So good to hear because I’m thoroughly convinced I don’t have the ability, and that, proven by my many failures. So, what’s MY problem?
Well, the hymn writer said of himself: “…Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for your courts above.” (Come Thou Fount, verse 3)
Yep! That’s me. But I’m learning how to “write checks” out of that resource He’s given; I am aware that becoming like Him (godliness) is a process. But I’m such a slow learner, a bit more recalcitrant than I want to admit, and humiliated by it; incorrigible…. Despite this, I’m finding HIS Life-force is at work and greater than my “less thans”. He’s letting me see that I am being changed. His compelling “energy” is indeed getting eternal things done in me…so exhilarating, humbling. Amazed by His kindness and enduring love, I continue to be.
I’m convinced He is able to change any leopard’s spots, even mine; in spite me, this dark world and our enemy, the devil. Need not succumb…but will continue to aspire…stretch toward the upward call of Jesus Christ in every thing. Even though I struggle consistently living the fundamentals, and chagrined to admit it, I know this acknowledgement is the wide door to His Kingdom (“…Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God….” Matthew 5), His rule and reign in me. Agreeing with God concerning my condition and predispositions, He forgives AND keeps on cleansing me from all sin (1 John 1:9). And one day, HE will “… Present me blameless in His presence, spirit, soul and body…my, our glorious hope!!
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NASB)
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
How about you…if you haven’t, won’t you join me and millions of others in this divine spiritual rehab, relentlessly amazed at His ability to change our lives, to restore us to His intended functions that have been marred by the damage sin brings, and all this, for His glory here, now and in the life to come. You’ll never regret it. Being changed,