Thursday, January 15, 2015
What Does Your Treasure-Hub Say?
Recently, when I was back home for a few days from one of my working excursions to St. George . . . my oldest son Alexander and his wife Skye (I call her Skyekhina to differentiate from our Sky) visited and while I was playing in the family room with her too cute and smart pre-toddler Indy . . . I noted the ongoing lively conversation in the kitchen. What were the ladies talking about? God, Jesus, Christian things. . . .
Al and I had just had our own excited exchange about how wonderful it is to be locked on to the Truth and how He works things out always for the best spiritual good. And I was pleasantly amused to think how awesome it is that when we get together--while we do catch up on the latest mundane happenings ("How's work? How's so-and-so doing? How's the new place?" etc.)--the bulk of the discussion is about ie., sermons heard that were great, about what God has done in this or that situation, about the challenges of dealing with the corrupt, fallen world as a Christian . . . about how to live rightly in an increasingly anti-Christian culture . . . about certain points of theology . . . and so on.
And I thought, this is good. I thought of Luke 6:45--"The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."
It was the most natural and typical thing to be happening, same as usual when we get together, and I believe how it ought to be generally when believers mingle. If God really is the center of your life, the Lord of your reasoning, of your mind and emotions, if and as you so claim it, then it only makes sense that when you get together with the like-minded, this is where the conversation goes . . . as it shows what is truly foremost in your hearts. If politics and worldly leaders and events are what you're focused on, that is what you'll talk about. If covetousness, competition, jealousies and schadenfreude rule your minds, then gossip fills the air. ("schadenfreude": pleasure derived by someone from observing another person's misfortune.)
Now we do talk of current events and what's happening with friends and family . . . but it is always in the context of how, as a testifying Christian, we deal with such things. And no, it is not, "aren't we great? We're Christian and everybody else sucks" lol. It is more like "Oy, as Christian I really struggled with this part of me in that situation. I need to do better, but God helps me so much to get over myself" etc. Every time we do get into these discussions, which is every time we're together, there is always talk like, "Oh my goodness, the way I use to be, the way I use to think before I got saved--I was so lost, so selfish, so tormented, the old me would have ________ . . . but He has taken so much of that away, by His grace. . . ."
I'm not stupid enough to be relating this in order to say, "wow, look at us . . . look how spiritual and together we are." Rather, I am just wanting to give glory to God for what He really does in transforming the lives of those who love and serve Him. It is all Him. I, we . . . take no credit whatsoever. And it is certainly not to say that we have no challenges or problems or struggles and that all is smooth sailing. On the contrary. Being a believer in this world at this time . . . is to be constantly at odds with society, with the world. It is to be ever persecuted, attacked, shunned, marginalized, lied on, maligned, cheated . . . whether in obvious and overt ways or subtly and behind the scenes. The difference is in how we react to the antagonisms and slightings; how we are encouraged and challenged to fight evil not with evil but with longsuffering, understanding, compassion and even love.
"If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." --John 15:19
I'm also offering this vignette up as a tip or kind of heads up. What spills out of your heart when you get together with fellow folks who claim themselves "believers"? Is God at the center of your excited discussion? As the passion in the expressive tones rises . . . is it because you are recalling what the Lord has done or is doing in you and/or others?
"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." What you tend to talk about most shows what you have been putting your heart on; what is closest and most constant on your mind.
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." --Luke 12:34
Usually what is traded are lists of the latest material possession acquired. Or new employment status. Or things or money lost by an unfortunate occurrence. Or what "lucky" thing just happened for someone else; or, in gleefully recounting the recent misfortune of some enemy or competitor.
Does God EVER come up in typical ongoing social discussions? Is the name of Jesus heard ONCE in a hundred thousand words babbled about current or family events?
Which is astounding if He is not . . . considering that our whole purpose and design made for this life . . . is to glorify God and live with Him forever!
If that is truly the purpose of life (which, as a believer we must admit that it is) then how is it that we so rarely even think of Him, let alone talk excitedly, passionately about Him and what He has done in and for that very purpose and meaning of our lives?
Making yourself think and talk about God . . . because you know you should . . . does not rectify the situation. Instead, the lack thereof is an indicator of where your soul genuinely stands. Is it in the world? In the happenings of yourself and others? Then that is what will pour out of your heart when communicating with others. But if your treasure truthfully is stored in faith--in the glory of God--then thoughts, emotions and talk of Him . . . is what will spill out.
I believe one of the most powerful and important prayers and beseechings is . . . is to pray for having the love of God. That is, to ask God to give you more of a hunger and passion and yearning and love for Him. Pray to get the love of God. Pray that you not be lukewarm, mediocre, average in faith. Pray to burn, to yearn, to thirst after righteousness. Pray that He instill in you a greater and greater desire to know Him, please Him, seek Him.
If you are feeling dry, somewhat nonchalant, tepid . . . in your passion for God, yet know that you should be feeling more intent and earnest . . . then pray for a new intensity. Ask Him to give you greater hankering and devotion to fulfill the very meaning and central purpose of your existence!
If you are steadfast and not lazy in this, this is the thing that if you ask for it . . . you shall receive. If you seek this, you will find it; if you knock, it will be opened.
Nothing is more important in these dark times, or in any times . . . than that you seek to have a daily, intense passion for God--that He is the center of your life, the primary meaning and the purpose. Everything else should relate to this. He must be the hub of all your thoughts, emotions and activities. Everything else are spokes radiating out from this hub . . . and then the wheel turns and you progress, you finally move. For that hub . . . is an eternal thing. It will not pass with the passing of life and the present age and world. It is the one thing you can take with you. That wheel is the wheel that will continue taking you through eternity, beginning now . . . if so you make it now! This "hub" is your loving, devoted relationship with your heavenly Father, Creator of you and all the universe. . . .
If He is truly at the center, at the hub of your heart, wherein your treasures are stored, whereat nothing can take it nor corrupt, then this reality will naturally be shown and heard as it spills forth when you gather with the saints. If this is not happening--if no such fruits are there--then pray to get it so that it is. This is the first thing to be done; and by-the-way, this is the foremost "prep" . . . considering the storm clouds we see gathering . . . and for all that follows. . . .
so be it, so do it!:)