The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Higher Thoughts, Higher Ways"
"Ways and thoughts higher than we can imagine forever course their way through the being of God, including and especially a meekness and lowliness willing to bear a cross for the needs of others."
Our consideration of God's loving unselfishness last week led a good friend to respond in precisely the manner we hoped when raising the issue: "I hadn't quite thought of it in that way."
"The love of Christ passeth knowledge" (Ephesians 3:19).
We return to the matter in order to consider and confirm our friend's thought. We do not innately view our Heavenly Father in terms of perfect, infinite, and eternal unselfishness. We know He is love, and that He reveals such goodness in terms of kindness beyond all our understanding (I John 4:8). However, to perceive His character as forever devoted to others so conflicts with our own experience that we tend to project our sensibilities onto the Lord. Thus, to perceive and interpret the love of God as Scripture defines requires, for most of us, a monumental upheaval regarding how we think, and most importantly, how we relate to our Lord and His truth. The prophet Isaiah greatly helps us here:
"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:7-9).
Such affirmations of God's great desire to bestow mercy upon all require that we remember the holy means that makes possible its bestowal. "They crucified Him… My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:35; 46). On the cross of Calvary, man and God poured out their wrath upon the Lord Jesus Christ, making possible the reception of mercy by the former, and the bestowal of mercy by the Latter. God determined such a way of atonement, the sole way of grace whereby He could redeem sinners, while being true to His nature - "just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:26). Only a heart of unselfish devotion to others could possibly have purposed such a means of mercy. A mere trace of self-centered egotism would have nullified the possibility, which would not have even crossed the heart and mind of God if He were not who He is. "The Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting" (Psalm 100:5)
May we frequently remind, encourage, and challenge ourselves and each other with affirmations of the sublime unselfishness of God. "Charity (love) seeketh not her own" (I Corinthians 13:5). When we pray, or read the Scriptures, or trust the promises, or obey the commands, or warn of chastening, or alert the unbeliever regarding "the wrath to come," we do well to remember the character of the One in whose heart a self-centered, egotistical inclination has never passed (Luke 3:7). Ways and thoughts higher than we can imagine forever course their way through the being of God, including and especially a meekness and lowliness willing to bear a cross for the needs of others (Matthew 11:28-30).
When first we see the Lord Jesus "face to face," it will not be long before we divert our gaze to the hands and feet that still bear wounds suffered for others, and for ourselves (I Corinthians 13:12). In that holy moment, we will know the nature of our God in far greater measure than ever before. We will also know that our first gaze promises an eternal journey into the Heart where narcissistic self-centeredness has no place. Yes, this day and forevermore promise ever-growing discoveries of an infinitely sublime goodness will lead us to echo my friend's perfect response to the truth - "I hadn't quite thought of it that way before."
"God… is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us… His greatness is unsearchable."
(Ephesians 2:4; Psalm 145:3).
Weekly Memory Verse
For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.
(II Corinthians 13:4)