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Thursday, October 6, 2011

LOOK AT YOUR SELF IN A FULL-LENGTH MIRROR


                           I Cor 13:12 "We don't yet see things clearly.
We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!" (MSG)  

Sometimes mirrors can give us a distorted picture of ourselves. There are mirrors that can make us appear as broad as a barn door.  There are mirrors that make us look as wavy those potato chips with ridges.  A makeup mirror uses magnification to make objects appear 8 times larger than they really are.  This is great when you need to see something small or do not have your reading glasses on to put on makeup.  I also remember walking around the house with a hand mirror.  These are limited to a small area.  You can even walk around the house with them turned upside down and get a very different perspective as you go from room to room.  The one I use the most, is the tiny mirror that comes with my facial powder that is compressed.  I can see just what I need to check my hair, or to make sure that my face is not shiny.  You can even buy a lipstick case with a tiny mirror inside that is just right to get a fix on those luscious lips that may need a touch up.  An even more limited view of yourself would be in that itty bitty mirror my hygienist uses to look at the back side of my teeth.  That allows her to see around in the crowded small spaces of my cavernous mouth.  That too is a limited view of who I am.

The other day, I was listening to a message from Tim Keller that really opened up my eyes. (a link of his message is at the end)  He was talking about a word that we don't often use in our everyday chatter, the word was justification.  I hear all the time people saying, "Oh, you are trying to justify why you did that."  In this case this means, we are trying to defend ourselves or rationalize.  The meaning in Christianity for justification is describing the change that happens to a human being when they identify with Jesus Christ, believe in Him, and embrace his message as truth.  In our moment of salvation, we become justified.

Most of my life, I have heard what Keller calls the negative side of justification.  That is, that when we accept Jesus as the son of God and savior of our life, then we have our sins forgiven, we have a place in heaven, and we are covered (no fees, no obligations, no works can earn this) because Jesus paid the price, so our debt for our sins is already taken care of by way of his blood shed on the cross. He has picked up the tab for us.  The negative in our life (sin) is taken away by Jesus. 

This is such a sweet mystery, a rich gift, so... why is this then called the negative side of justification?  It is labeled like this, because it explains how we move from death to life eternal, yet sadly, this is where most of us stop as Christians.  

Oh yes, we pray to ask forgiveness when we blow it.  We get involved in all the right things: to serve, to help, to demonstrate our love for God, and to share with others.  

What then is the positive side of justification?  I have heard and seen hints of this.  I have read about men and women of faith who I think had a bit of a grasp of this, but until God opened up my eyes to the reality of all that he meant.  

Now we see faintly in a mirror, but one day, we will see God face to face.  There is so much more for us because we are now alive in eternity.  So, so what about today?   Why did God use a looking glass or mirror in this passage and not a window?  I would think that if I was looking at someone else that I would look through a window to see them.  Keller draws us in to consider a concept that God has spoken to, but that doesn't quite sink in through our slow to believe, imperfect little skulls.  

How many times are we told that we are adopted sons and daughters of God?  Grafted into to the vine or the tree?  

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  
I Jn. 3:1 (NIV)

Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.  Romans 8:14-17 (NIV)

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.  Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."  So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.  Gal. 4:4-7 (NIV)


Now I ask you, at what point are we changed from death to life?  When is it that we become heirs, with the same rights as Jesus?  When is it that we are adopted and are now his children?  Not until we go to Heaven?  No!  It is at the point of salvation that we are changed.  We are covered with the blood of Jesus so that the principalities and powers see us in the righteousness of Christ.  God sees us as his children.  He bought us back, that is what redeemed means.  We stepped away from our position as sons when Adam and Eve sinned in Eden.  Their sin separated them from their position with God.  Still, God so loved us that he would not leave us out in the cold to be banished forever from him.  He made a way for us to regain our rightful standing as his children.

This brings us to an exciting conclusion.  The verse five of Galatians 4 said, "to redeem those under law, that we might receive the FULL RIGHTS OF SONS."  Then in verse seven, "you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir." 


Open up and wrap your mind around that one!  What are we doing sitting around stymied wondering what to do about the world problems or those right in front of us?  WE ARE TO BRING THE SOLUTION!!!  HOW? Start with prayer and intercession which are the atomic bombs in this world.  You could stop there if you really were dedicated and continued on and a multitude of strongholds, and wickedness would be stopped.  Then of course giving, helping, doing, speaking, and listening to the spirit as He leads through out the day.  Use those spiritual endowments that the Father has given us through Christ Jesus!!!


Let's finish my thought with the mirrors.  To me I was thinking of our self-perception.  We see through different filters depending on our moods, frame of mind, and what baggage we carry around.  Instead of looking wavy, or elongated, fat, or those kind of distortions... be bold enough to open your heart and ask God to show you who you really are and what he made you for on this Earth.  Be courageous enough to step into the ballet studio where from all four sides you can see yourself clearly.  God lift the scales off of our eyes and let us use our time here on Earth to benefit the Kingdom.  AMEN!


Share what God is speaking to you in the comment section or in reply to this email.  Click on the title of the blog today if this is difficult to read and go directly to the blogsite if you are in email.  (You have to understand that my blog prints on a black background online, so I try to add variety and brighten it up with different colors that look good there.  


Click on the link below if you would like to listen to the actual message from Tim Keller.  Go with God!



 

 
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