Thursday, November 3, 2011

"The Brightest Moon"

"What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord" (Philippians 3:7-8).

Gains and losses operate differently in the spiritual realm than in the natural. Victories in the former may feel and appear to be defeats in the latter. Strength sometimes manifests itself as weakness. Joy finds its truest expression in sorrow. The appearance of need may actually be the treasure chest and forerunner of abundance. Tombs of mournful death become temples of glorious resurrection. Indeed, our very faith began in the life, death and newness of life of One whose seemingly ignominious end actually led to triumph and the inheriting of that "Name which is above every name" (Philippians 2:9).

"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).

"Righteous judgment" is whatever God declares to be true in His Word about any and every matter. For the born again believer in the Lord Jesus, this declaration proclaims that "all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). According to His perfect love, foreknowledge and wisdom, our Heavenly Father weaves all things into the tapestry of His perfectly intentioned purposes for our lives. The pleasant and the painful have their place in conforming us to the image of the Lord Jesus. Both are branches of the same glorious tree, and while the fruit of one tastes sweet and the fruit of the other bitter, both provide spiritual nutrients necessary for us to survive and thrive in that heavenly realm of our truest citizenship.

It's never easy to see God's light as it "shineth in darkness" (John 1:5). However, for the eyes of faith that look up in hope rather than casting the downward and despairing glance so natural to our flesh, the blackest night serves as backdrop for the brightest moon (orange, of course). Our Lord is loving enough, wise enough, powerful enough, and willing enough to grace us with His best when life seems to hand us its worst. We shall one day discover that our greatest gains came to us in our most difficult losses as the Lord Jesus revealed over and over again to reveal the triumph of an empty tomb, an occupied throne, and nail-scarred Hands that transcend our challenges so that "in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Romans 8:37).

"We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh."
(II Corinthians 4:7-11)

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