The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"This Man? This Me!"
"What shall this man do?" asked the Apostle Peter of the Lord Jesus Christ, after the Savior foretold Peter's challenging fate. He referred to the Apostle John, about whom the Lord, for all practical purposes, told Peter it was not his business to concern himself with John's destiny (John 21:18-23).
We all personally stand or fall before the Lord. The role we play in each other's lives in seeking to edify one another does not mean we divert focus from God's purposes in our lives by overmuch attention to how He works in others. "What is that to thee?" asked the Lord of Peter (John 21:22). Peter's business involved his own need to trust and obey God in the present and future, a challenge he had already found more than enough to confront. How the Lord would work in John could surely be a matter for Peter's prayers, and any service he could provide to John, as led by God. However, Peter's "this man" needed to be himself, in the sense of realizing his own need and God's will for his life.
Our greatest service to others directly flows from our service to God. As we walk with Him in faith and submission, the blessing of others becomes the natural, or supernatural, fruit of His working and our response.
"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit" (John 15:5).
Peter and John both learned this lesson. As they went forth to preach the Gospel after the Lord's death, resurrection, ascension, and giving of the Holy Spirit, their hearers "took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." Of far greater import, the Lord Jesus declared the same principle to be the basis of His ministry: "I speak that which I have seen with my Father" (Acts 4:13; John 8:38). This we must all seek to experience and express in our devotion to God and people. We must personally absorb our Lord's light and then reflect the illumination to others. We can only do so as we recognize our own challenge in walking with Him, and accept His particular purpose for our lives and service.
A final thought. The truth we consider especially applies to those times we see fault in others' walk with the Lord. We may well be called to provide the service of correction (Galatians 6:1). Often, however, we do not have that opportunity. In such times, we pray for our brother. Interestingly, we also pray for ourselves. A fault seen in others may not be one we share. However, we all face particular challenges in our own lives that require our Heavenly Father's ongoing attention and address. Seeking His working not only in our brother, but first in ourselves goes far in preparing us to provide genuine service to God and others. "This man" must be "this me." The ancient request of the Psalmist serves us well in our day regarding where we must maintain our first focus…
"Search me, o God, and know my heart. Try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Weekly Memory Verse
Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day.
shared with a dear friend yesterday that 99.99% of the Bible involves God's revelation and glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ. We exist to know Him, and to find in such holy light the reality, reason, and ramifications of our existence (John 17:3). The Holy Spirit who indwells us ever works to reveal and glorify the Lord Jesus (John 15:28; 16:14). However, I also mentioned to my friend that a .01% place exists for the believer's self-knowledge and awareness. To know God means we will know ourselves in the context of Christ, as it were. "Ye are in Christ Jesus… He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (I Corinthians 1:30; 6:17). Of all that God sees of us, we can be sure this is first and this is primary. Indeed, how can it not be so when we consider…
"He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21).
If God gave His Son to the cross to make possible and actual His giving of the Holy Spirit to our hearts, could it be that He sees us with any other essential focus? If He poured out His wrath on the Lord Jesus so that He might pour out the Spirit into our spirits, will He ever overlook this "hope of glory, which is Christ in you?" And if He left His beloved Lord Jesus to die alone in utter abandonment to make possible His presence within us, will He ever take leave of seeing us in terms less than "Ye are the temple of the living God?" (II Corinthians 6:16).
Find the most faithful believer on the planet in this moment, and you will find one viewed by God as united to the Spirit of His Son. Find the most failing believer on the planet in this moment, and you will find one viewed by God as united to the Spirit of His Son. Too much was sacrificed for the Divine gaze upon us to be other or less. Certainly, our faithful or failing response to Him matters much, and He works to enhance the former, and correct the latter. However, God's first gaze ever sees us in light of the cross, the empty tomb, and the Spirit of the crucified and risen Christ within us. We must see ourselves accordingly. "In Thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9).
This is the .o1% - how we view ourselves - based on the 99.99% - how we view God. But how important it is. To share God's view of Christ in us and ourselves in Christ will go far in motivating and empowering a corresponding life of faith and faithfulness. Moreover, our Savior suffered agonized abandonment on the cross to bestow such grace upon and within us. We will never throughout eternity, or in this lifetime, live a moment apart from the Holy Spirit's abiding and empowering presence within us. Yes, God gave Himself to dwell within our hearts when we believed. He will not leave. This is how He views us. This is how we must view ourselves.
"I am with you always… I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
(Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5)
"Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Weekly Memory Verse