Monday, March 6, 2017

“The Exaltation of Christ - Blessing and Challenge"

"The Exaltation of Christ - Blessing and Challenge"     
    "He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence" (Colossians 1:18).

    The preeminence of the Lord Jesus Christ in God's purposes constitutes both a blessed and challenging truth for born again believers.  First, we rejoice because of love for the Savior who sacrificed so much to redeem us from our sins.  "We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19).  The more we know of the Lord Jesus, the more we desire to join our Heavenly Father in honoring His Son.  The indwelling Holy Spirit also works in our hearts to fulfill His primary intention, as prophesied by the Lord: "He shall glorify Me" (John 16:14).  We cannot help but look toward the day when "the Lord alone shall be exalted", and we presently seek to foreshadow God's "eternal purpose in Christ" by living in a manner that furthers the preeminence of His Son and our Savior (Isaiah 2:11; Ephesians 3:11).

   However, great challenge lies in the truth of Christ's exaltation.  God's primary work to honor His  Son decentralizes all others, including ourselves.  This involves not only His blessing in our lives, but also much difficulty.  The world in which we presently live does not honor the Lord Jesus.  It rather "liveth in wickedness", the evil of honoring anyone but Christ (I John 5:19).  Thus, we swim against the current of the age as we unite our hearts with the Father and the Holy Spirit in their determined purpose to exalt the Son.  Moreover, trusting and submitting to the Lord Jesus involves our walking the same troubled path He paved during His earthly lifetime.  "Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:27).  If we wonder, as did the Psalmist, why we experience some of the challenges that confront us - "I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me?  Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?" - the answer may well be that the glory of the Lord Jesus makes necessary the strange and uncomfortable ways God must sometimes execute in our lives (Psalm 42:9).  Our own blessing and comfort is not the first priority of our Father's purposes.  He first works to advance the cause of the Lord Jesus.  Such intention always benefits us in the ultimate sense.  In the present hour, however, that purpose may well lead to necessary difficulty.  "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together" (Romans 8:16-17).

   We do well to daily pray that the Lord Jesus will be glorified in our our lives.  This elicits peace and joy in the heart as we fulfill the very reason for our existence.  However, such request also leads us into the realm of challenge.  Our Father's Christ-exalting intentions call us to bear many crosses purposed to reveal the risen Christ in our lives.  God's will does not revolve around us, a most blessed relief to all who realize and embrace the truth.  But also, a most formidable reality that makes necessary the power of the Holy Spirit to enable our faithfulness to the Father's purpose of preeminence, the preeminence of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"A bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him."
(Matthew 17:5)

Weekly Memory Verse
   He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.
(Proverbs 11:28) 

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