Sunday, November 16, 2014

The End Times.9

"You will be betrayed, 
and condemned to death, 
and hated by all nations for my name's sake. 
Remain watchful, 
and pray always 
that you may be counted worthy 
to escape these things 
that are coming to pass, 
and to stand, 
before the Messiah, 
the Son of Man."

If I'm "praying always to be counted worthy" how will that impact the way I live?

Will it give me more or less confidence in what I believe?  
In what I do?  In how I love God and others? 

A rookie wide receiver for the Detroit Lions football team was
asked what he felt was the key to his continued improvement. He responded, "I just do whatever (All-Pro receiver) Calvin does.  If he runs extra sprints, I run extra sprints. If he spends more time catching balls, I spend more time catching balls!" Clearly the extra work is paying off as his quarterback and coaches have more confidence to throw him the ball.

He is counted worthy for more trust to be put in him!

Sometimes, I fear, we see no correspondence between the things of earth and the requirements of heaven.  Our trust is in the "works of Christ" rather than the Working Christ!

In his Revelation, John records an extraordinary encounter with the Living Savior, his Lord and close companion, the Son of Man, Jesus.  
"And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as one dead.  And he laid His right hand on me, saying, 'Fear not; I am the first and the last and the Living One.'" 
The One for whom John had toiled, sacrificed, loved and devoted himself for so many years after walking faithfully as few others had during those earthly years, knew the Perfect Way to reveal himself anew to his faithful friend.  But the blinding light of his heavenly majesty produced terror in John.  Why?

There are, no doubt, many factors that can account for the way he responded to this glorious revealing of his Master: his age, his exile, a lapse of memory recalling a similar moment on the mount of transfiguration.

But perhaps more importantly,
he had not yet learned that glory itself is a part of our inheritance...a natural condition of our being made in the image of God, a glory of the most glorious heaven can show!*

Jesus laid his hand on his friend to remind him that the only way to overcome our fear of exposure to all that is not worthy in us is closest contact, Oneness, with Life.  For is it not true that we fearfully run away from suffering, the suffering & fear that exposes our lack:

  • of character
  • of love
  • of faith
  • of perseverance
  • of obedience
  • of self-denial
rather than running, confidently, to the Source of all that we desire to be?

For if it is not in our nature, at the first sign of fear, to draw closer to our source of strength and power -- for what is Strength & Power but what is Good? -- then how small is our strength, our faith, our endurance.  How much more training and perfecting in the suffering is necessary to make us worthy?

More importantly, how little can we be counted on to stand against Evil in all its forms?  The strength of Fearless Love in us is manifested and measured by betrayal and condemnation from a world system dominated by fearfulness.

Hold that thought...I have a few more laps to run!

*thoughts from MacDonald, The Fear of God, Unspoken Sermons II