Monday, June 29, 2020

Holding On To The Old – Resisting The New

"But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their [the Jews] heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” – 2 Corinthians 3:16-18

It can sound so presumptuous to say that we have a greater spiritual revelation – those of us who have placed our faith in Jesus the Messiah. The truth of the matter is, that we do. There are those who struggle in their quest to know the creator God – Jew and Muslim, who both look to father Abraham but they both reject the idea that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6) acknowledging the Jesus did exist but relegating Him to the place of teacher or prophet – but certainly not God incarnate.  It is that veil that is removed – the veil that makes us spiritually blind and lame. It is that revelation that brings about spiritual transformation. Recall when John the Baptist confronted the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism …..

do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” – Matthew 3:9-11

The promise given to Abraham was a spiritual promise – not a natural one. But it is in our nature to try to understand what the Lord reveals to us in the natural sense.  That is at the root of the health and wealth Gospel.  Your physical and financial condition are not indicators of a heart right before God. There are many people that are physically healthy and materially wealthy that are not spiritually healthy and wealthy.  Jesus did not come to reveal the way to greater earthly treasure.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21

When the veil is taken away – the kingdom of God is revealed. We were blind but now we see.  Jesus said that our entire focus, our priority should be on loving God – devoting our lives to God and then that devotion will reveal itself by our love for others and the lack of love for the things of this world. Our struggle is that our tendency is to want to do both.  Accommodate our old nature and its devotions and be devoted to serving God at the same time.  We doubt that devotion to God alone is sufficient for us to get along in this life. But what is really going is that we do not want to give up our dependence upon the things of this world.

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” – James 1:6-8

Jesus challenged those who came to him wanting to know how to find eternal life or wanting to follow him.  He saw their hearts and the devotion in them and knew that their hearts were divided.  That they wanted the benefits of being a child of God while they enjoyed the devotions that they had in their natural life. Even our natural devotions to our families. The fifth commandment says to honor your parents. It is called the commandment with a promise. But that honor cannot be greater than the honor we give to God.

Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. …. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.’” – Luke 14:25-27,33

 Our love and devotion to our family looks like hate when compared to our love and devotion to God. 

Then another of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’” – Matthew 8:21-22

Or how about this one. 

So Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and your mother.’  And he said, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth.’ So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.” – Luke 18:19-23

Jesus addressed the last six commandments with the young man, how we relate to other people – but the young man was lacking with respect to the first four – the first four enable us to accomplish the last six.  (See Exodus 20:3-17 if you need a refresher) He loved money and the natural life it provided for him.  More than he loved God.

In the same way – our temptation is to love what this natural life has to offer – the values taught by man that are contrary to the Word of God. We are very likely to ignore the spiritual in favor of yielding to the natural. We who have had the veil removed though salvation by faith in Jesus, must resist the temptation to re-hang the curtain so we don’t have to bear the presence of the Spirit in our lives.  What old things are you holding on to? What new things are you resisting because of your worldly devotions. We all do it. God knows it. Yield to the Spirit and let Him do His work in your life. You are not a failure – it is part of the spiritual transformation in every Believer’s life. We are not perfected, but don’t be satisfied with your imperfection.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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