Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Life Well Lived

A life worth living.
A life well lived.
By Jesus
(according to Luke 12)

Out of the gate the first thing a life must be is a real life, a genuine life, the same inside as out.  (vs 1-3)  What you show on the outside must come from what is inside.  It will anyway.  If you love the praise of men and mask yourself to become something men love and praise, at some point it will fall apart, the mask will come off and all will see you for what you really are.  If you love people genuinely and want to serve them, people will know that too.  If you love yourself and guard yourself above all, then no one will know you and by that they will know what you are.  And if somehow you come to the end of your life with everyone fooled… you haven’t fooled everyone after all.  For God will strip away all that isn’t real and naked we came into this world, naked we will stand before Him.  So the next logical thing in life is to…

Live a life in fear.  But!  Fear of the right things.  “And I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after these things do not have anything more to do. But I will show you whom you should fear: fear the one who has authority, after the killing, to throw you into hell!”  Makes sense.  Life is at best one hundred years.  Eternity is forever.  Life, no matter how bleak and abusive your life, is lived with at least the partial blessings of the Lord.  “because he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust.” (Matt 5)  There is still the possibility of love, of hope, of redemption.  Hell is the absence of all God’s blessings.  It is total separation from God and the knowledge of that separation!  So it only makes sense to fear the God who has the power to send you there.  But what is the fear of the Lord? 
If you, O Yah, should keep track of iniquities,

O Lord, who could stand?
But with you is forgiveness,

so that you may be feared.” (Ps 130)
Fear is… knowing God forgives?  Even though we don’t deserve it?  That’s fear?  Really?  That sounds more like…gratitude!  Maybe even love!  Certainly respect! 

So we’re living out of our hearts and our hearts are cultivating this spirit of thankfulness for what Jesus is doing for us, so if we do not fear death and man, then we will not be able to stop ourselves from acknowledging Jesus!  “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before people, the Son of Man also will acknowledge him before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before people will be denied before the angels of God.”  Jesus is how God can forgive us.  “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev 19)  So we are to be prophets!  Well, no wonder Jesus didn’t want us to fear death and man.  Prophets, as he goes on to explain in verse eleven, have a nasty habit of getting themselves dragged before men who kill them.  But we live out of our hearts and in verse twelve, we see our hearts have become a temple of the Holy Spirit, speaking through us.

So a life well lived is that of a prophet!  Genuine, fearless, grateful, full of the Spirit!  But that life is still lived in this economy…
“the ground shall be cursed on your account.

    In pain you shall eat from it

    all the days of your life.
18 And thorns and thistles shall sprout for you,

    and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow

    you shall eat bread,

until your return to the ground.

    For from it you were taken;

for you are dust,

    and to dust you shall return.” (Gen 3)
But Jesus!  He has tried to break our fear of men and death and now in verses 13-34 he wants break our fear of money!  He says, 29 And you, do not consider what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not be anxious. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek his kingdom and these things will be added to you.
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, because your Father is well pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give charitable gifts. Make for yourselves money bags that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven where thief does not approach or moth destroy. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  He’s promising to take care of us!  How crazy good is this God?  Forgiveness, provision?  What are we so freaking scared of?  31 What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also, together with him, freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring charges against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies. 34 Who is the one who condemns? Christ is the one who died, and more than that, who was raised, who is also at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will affliction or distress or persecution or hunger or lack of sufficient clothing or danger or the sword? 36 Just as it is written,
“On account of you we are being put to death the whole day long;

    we are considered as sheep for slaughter.”
37 No, but in all these things we prevail completely through the one who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8)   No wonder Paul can go on this tirade!  It’s praise!  It’s joy!  What are we so freaking afraid of?  The rest of the chapter is Jesus showing us what will become of those who live like this and those who don’t.  We who know so much, have been offered so much, have no excuse for not living a life of genuine prophecy!  The gifts are already ours!  We don’t have to wait until death, until Christmas or until Sunday!  We live this now!  Anything else is a betrayal!

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