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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Have you seen Jesus?

I love this song!  It's one of the most powerful, amazing songs I know.  Trying to picture myself as Mary, seeing Jesus in the garden...  the imagery just blows me away!  But, it also raises an interesting question...

I've been noticing a trend lately, and I just don't understand it.  Christians, professing Christians, whose eyes are so focused on the world, that they don't seem any different from it.  It's something that boggles my mind.  The darkness of modern media, the immoral sensuality of the world's standards of dress, even the way we treat each other, putting ourselves above everything else (even, for the most part, our children!).  We have such a beautiful option!  We have Jesus!!  Why would we keep our eyes on the things of this wicked, sinful world, when we have Jesus??  What's the attraction?  What's the draw?

Then, I realized it.   I'm sure it's not true for everyone, but it does make one wonder how many it's true for.  Many, many professing Christians have never seen Jesus.  We're confused, as to what Christianity is, and as to who we're professing to follow.  We've never "looked in His wonderful face."  We don't know how!  We've been introduced to prophecy, doctrine, even the Bible.  But we've never understood, never truly seen Jesus!

Some of us think we have, yet, we hold onto the things of the world, anyway.  Some of us equate our knowledge of Scripture to knowing Jesus.  James 2:19, Matthew 4, and Luke 4  show us the fallacy in this thinking.  Even Satan knows Scripture, and quotes it, regularly, usually twisting it to suit his purposes.  It's the oldest trick in the book.

So, what does it take to see Jesus, then?  Matthew 6:33 (NIV) tells us to "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness."  Christ is always there, waiting for us, but we must seek Him.  We must turn our "eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face."  Psalm 63:1 (NIV) says, "O God, You are my God; Earnestly I will seek you."  Even David, a man after God's own heart, had to seek his Lord, daily!

Next, we have to keep seeking Him.  Daily, hourly, every minute, every second.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV) tells us to "pray continually."  Does that mean we're constantly on our knees, praying great, elaborate prayers?  Of course not!  I'm a woman of God, following His command to be a keeper at home, be fruitful and multiply, and, as such, raise our 5 children to His glory.  I do have time set aside for prayer and seeking, but all day, every day?  No way!

What it does mean is that we stay in constant communication with God.  When the ones I love most are around, I might not drop everything to entertain and talk to them.  If I did, nothing would ever get done (especially considering the ones I love most are my children and husband... so they're always around!).  I do, however, keep constant conversation going, even in the midst of my business.  It's the same way with God.  I might not stop whatever I'm doing to kneel in petition, but I do talk to God, constantly.  Not "flare prayers" (although, I will admit, I pray those, too, in the midst of my worldly crisis!), but thanking Him, asking Him for guidance, petitioning to Him as I need, and simply conversating with Him, the same way I would my best Friend, and my Abba.

The final thought I would have, is that once you have your eyes on Jesus, keep them there!!  It's so easy to get lost in the cares and concerns of the world.  It's so easy to be seduced by the things that seem good, but, truly, is there anything good in this world?  What does Scripture say?

"Do not love the world, or anything in it.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father, but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever."  1 John 2:15-17 (NIV)

"And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

It's very apparent, but a reading of Scripture, that we're in a war.  There are no neutral sides.  There's no "middle of the road."  It's the ways of the world (run by Satan), versus the ways of a holy, all knowing, loving God.  To say that this worldly thing or that is OK, it's neutral, it's "Just a show, just a book, just a song..."  shows a woefully inadequate understanding of Scripture.  God has won the war, on Calvary.  But, the battles rage.

In World War II, after D-Day, the tide of the war turned.  The Germans knew they had lost.  Did they lay down their weapons and call it?  Of course not!  Did they release all of their prisoners of war, all of the concentration camp inmates?  No!  They got desperate, and continued to fight, and stepped up their evil exterminations. They knew they had lost, but they sure weren't going down alone!!  They would take every soul they could with them.

It's the same evil measure that Satan uses today.  He knows he's lost.  He knew it at Calvary.  He knew it when Mary came to the tomb.  He knew it as Jesus showed Himself to the disciples, and as Christianity spread throughout the world.  Do you really think that he's going to lay aside his arms, and surrender?  Absolutely not!!  The same pride that caused his fall from heaven has now been turned completely to this world.  He's going down, and he knows it, but he's going to take as many of us down with him as he can!!  And one of the best, most proven ways to do that is to claim that the things of this world are "neutral." 

"It's just a book..."

"It's just a movie..."

"It's just a song..."

"It's just a piece of fruit..."

Do you see the connection??  

It's not easy to fight the onslaught!!  It's not easy to go against the tide!!  It's not easy to be called "fanatical," "legalistic," or otherwise "weird."  It's not easy to stand alone.  The hardest thing I've ever learned is that God was serious when He told us that we have to live in this world, but we are not to be of it.   (1 Peter 2:11 calls us "aliens and strangers in the world." NIV)  That I am supposed to be "peculiar," as it says in 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV).  (1 Peter is a great study, in and of itself but verses 4-12 are particularly good for this topic.)  So, how do we handle this onslaught?  How do we stand firm, in the face of such opposition.

It comes back to the original thought.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the Light of His Glory and Grace

We cannot hope to overcome the world, if our eyes are on the prizes the world sets in front of us.  We cannot hope to die to self, if we're focused on ourselves.  Only when we see Jesus, and keep our eyes on Him, only then is it that things start to make sense.  Only then, can we see the big picture.  And then will we enjoy the "transforming of the mind" Paul spoke of in Romans 12:2. 

Seek Jesus.  Cling to Him.  Keep your eyes on Him. 

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