Tuesday, November 30, 2010

While We Were Sleeping....zzzzz......

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”  He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.  “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”
- Mark 14:32-34

I heard a fantastic sermon this past Sunday but not everyone in the sanctuary got as much out of it as I did.   I was feverishly taking notes in an attempt to absorb as much as possible when I heard what I thought was a really loud "mouth breather" somewhere near me. I looked over my shoulder to find a teenage boy "sawing logs".  I wanted to shake him, wake him and say, "Bro! You are totally missing this. This guy is throwing out pearls here....wake up!"

I couldn't help but think of Christ praying in The Garden of Gethsemane only hours before His capture while His church slept....
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if  possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba,Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 
- Mark 14:35-36

God's answer to Jesus was definitive when Jesus returned.....  

 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour?  Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 
- Mark 14: 37-38

Peter, the very man on who had recognized Jesus as The Christ, The Son of The Living God, by direct revelation from God (Matt 16:8) and was a part of Jesus' inner circle throughout His short ministry was asleep at this, the most crucial time in history.   How?  He and the other disciples were without the thing they needed most.  They had an outward relationship with Jesus but lacked the inward dwelling of The Holy Spirit.   In commenting on their "weak flesh" Jesus detailed their inability to do that which God would have them do.  They had responded with faith to Christ's call to follow Him (physically) but lacked the supernatural power required to obey God (spiritually).   Consequently the pursuit of holiness was beyond their reach.  Still God had a plan....

But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 
- John 16:7, 12-14

Without The Helper how could the disciples ever truly follow?  How could they "put off the old self that is that is being corrupted by deceitful desires and be made new in the attitude of their minds putting on their new selves created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness?" (Eph. 4:22-24)   I know that I'm far too prone to self-deception and like like the hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing states "I feel it".   I actually sense that I am prone to fool myself into believing my ways are God's ways when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 
- Isaiah 55:8-9

Thank God then that it is His Spirit within me that quickens my mind to His thoughts and leads me to walk in His ways.  In His Spirit I'm roused from my worldly slumber and awakened to the reality that the creator of the living universe now makes His home the heart of every man, woman and child who has received His Son.

But without The Helper..... I just get exhausted trying (and trying and trying...) to win favor with God and others and feel good about myself.   An exercise in futility.

On The White Album's I'm So Tired, The Beatles, perhaps unknowingly, but deftly summed up the end result of modern man's idolatry of romantic love (read  relational salvation through human striving).  The line "I'd give you everything I've got for a little piece of mind" is especially striking.   Wow!  How easy it is to be swept up by such an honest and passionate profession.

But wait!  In Christ God has radically reoriented our  perspective.   In God's economy it's Him alone that does the giving and therefore Him alone that does the saving; To the degree we allow ourselves to be captured by such grace our new selves  can find peace resting in His Spirit while our old selves rest in peace!   In this newness of life our relationships have a hope that is not centered in man but in Almighty God.  These relationships don't "wear us out" they bring us to life!

Now if we died with Christ,
we believe that we will also live with Him. 
- Rom. 6:8

In Christ alone do we have true peace of mind.  Jesus slept as  the storm swept in and the waves crashed against the boat.   We too can rest easy knowing that though our best efforts will always fall short of the glory of God, His power begins to move within me precisely when my strength ends....it's at our point of helplessness when The Helper begins to do His greatest work in our lives.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
- 1st Cor. 12:19

This Week:

* Tyler Men's Gathering - 7am Wednesday AM
   True Spirituality, Chap. 13 - The Substantial Healing of The Church
   2 American Center, 5th Floor (Ritcheson Law Firm) 

* NEW MEN"S STUDY NEXT WEEK! Spiritual Warfare and The Man of God
   Pick up a copy of The Screwtape Letters

 * The Magills - Two private events - please pray for our time with these groups of couples....

Support B3 Ministries HERE!

No comments:

Post a Comment