Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Unbelieving Believers

"For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us;"  Romans 8:18

It IS a second!~  It's LESS than a second!  Compared to eternity?  Are you kidding?

But then, people don't really believe in eternity.  Not really.  No, this life is all there is.  The pain, the suffering, the focus on self instead of God.  People don't really comprehend the pain and suffering Jesus--the one man in all of time who least deserved it--bore for our sake to have eternal life.

"Eh . . . what's the big deal?  I'm poor, I'm lonely, my back hurts . . . I want comfort now, in this life!"

In fact, our present angst, suffering, unhappiness etc., comes from the fact that we really don't believe.  Not REALLY.  Oh, there is a sort of intellectual assent and certain vain sense of "being" right', unlike the "heathens" . . . but day to day, moment to moment . . . we don't think about God, about Jesus.  We don't really believe too much in Hell.  It's all a bit vague and far off.  Meanwhile, the present discomforts are foremost in our minds, looming large, dredged up day after day, bandied about as a much used flag of self pity.

If we DO think of Jesus, it's in considering how He might help us out.  How can He alleviate this or that material concern?  Maybe even, how long will it take Him to set it up so I can achieve my dreams?  Me, me, me.....What Has God done for me lately?!

How casual and dismissive are we, every day, about the PROFOUND, LOVING, PAINFUL sacrifice He made for us, so that WE CAN LIVE FOREVER . . . AND EVER . . . AND EVER . . . EVER . . . IN PERFECTION . . . IN LOVING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE . . . WITH OUR SANCTIFIED BROTHERS AND SISTERS . . . FOREVER . . . AND EVER! ?

Oh I have little doubt that if I told someone they were about to suddenly inherit 5 million dollars, their countenance would immediately change . . . to a beaming smile, then maybe a laugh, then crying and leaping . . . and maybe even shouting and dancing . . . . Until they received that money, let's say in a week or so, they would leap out of bed in the morning, planning, excited, looking forward to collection.  Any present pains would fade and oh, the good cheer such a person would spread through the day, encouraging others, excited every moment like a little child before Christmas!

Then why are so few that excited about eternal life?  Which is a far, far, far, far, far, far, greater future!  Perfect health, no more tears, loving fellowship, adventure in a Divinely created world or plenty, joy, perpetual youth, beauty . . . FOREVER!

Because . . . despite the claims . . . of  being a "Christian" . . . people don't really believe.  They love this life and the present self-centered comforts MORE than Jesus, than God, plain and simple.  They read some scriptures . . . know a few by heart . . . . But . . . don't really internalize them and TAKE THEM TO HEART.  They really don't trust Jesus.  They doubt He takes care of them, continuing to trust in the flesh, in man . . . .

Oh, some do.  They are laying down their lives in jails, prisons, being tortured, executed, raped, robbed, beaten . . . REFUSING to deny CHRIST . . . right now, all over the world.  THEY truly understand and believe that "the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us" and their lives exemplify it . . . and great will be their reward.

But, no worries--never fear you folks feeling left out of that glorious martyrdom . . . .
The Lord chastises those He loves; especially those who complain and take His sacrifice for granted.  He brings in plagues, foreign armies, earthquakes, occupation . . . to give so-called "believers" a chance to prove . . . if they really believe . . . or not--whether it is just words and a lazy smugness OR whether the disciple is ready to take up the cross . . . and FOLLOW Jesus . . . FOR REAL.


David said...

All of us, in our fallen natures, hate any form of suffering as our flesh shrieks and demands a reprieve and a return to its place of temporal comfort. We have been lied to so effectively, for so long and so thoroughly that if we only believe, we should become...if we want it bad enough...free from suffering. Unscriptural hogwash. How could so many before us, including Christ, Paul and multitudes of others, have been perfected through suffering and not us? Our comforts and isolation from suffering is even now being jerked out from under us for our salvation, not our destruction. If modern believers refuse to repent and take up their crosses daily, they WILL be included in the GREAT FALLING AWAY. If we can see the truth that we can only be perfected through suffering. That brokenness and humility come through the heart being rent and torn, then mended and put into His image and order. Then we shall taste the beginnings of His Glory, His Peace, His Love, His Patience, His Grace, His Longsuffering...yes a first fruits of all His virtues. Even to the point of all this world's sufferings becoming GLORIOUS, as Paul alluded to. Crazy??? No... TRUTH. As we walk out this Truth, slowly and incrementally, our faith strengthens, Grace forms within us and the Kingdom of God begins to be seen and His Peace begins to be entered into. Suffering cannot be our focus. We must look past these momentary afflictions. His Glory must be sought out like rubies, fine gold and that perfect pearl even to the selling of all that we are, and to the death of self. OUCH...but a wonderful ouch. David

Lee in TN said...

Bro T,
Thank you for this reminder! Oh but a brief moment our whole life is here compared to eternity!

Reading today at lunch as I usually can do...after re-reading this posting of yours, picking up some Fenelon and ran across this letter, echoing your point -

"I sympathize with all your distresses; but we must carry the cross with Christ in this transitory life. We shall soon have no time to suffer; we shall reign with God our consolation, who will have wiped away our tears with his own hand, and from before whose presence pain and sighing shall forever flee away. While this fleeting moment of trial is permitted us, let us not lose the slightest portion of the worth of the cross. Let us suffer in humility and in peace; our self-love exaggerates our distresses, and magnifies them in our imagination. A cross borne in simplicity, without the interference of self-love to augment it, is only half a cross. Suffering in this simplicity of love, we are not only happy in spite of the cross, but because of it; for love is pleased in suffering for the Well-beloved, and the cross which forms us into his image is a consoling bond of love." - Fenelon, Letter 19



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