Saturday, December 2, 2023
by David Brenneman
"And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” Luke 10:25-37
"What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself." James 2:14-17.
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You as a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me.’ Matthew 25:34-40.
When you consider the old statement made towards disciples in Jesus's day...and consider what is seen in modern boot camp training...you get the impression that those in training are going to have to get dirty to be trained properly.
In Jesus's day the saying for one who was chosen to be someone's disciple was "May you be covered in the dust of your Master". Following so close to what you were taught that you completely were in obedience.
It means also that those trained are expected to eventually get dirty while engaging the opposition.
We too, after coming to Christ, are beginning training. We're not to avoid situations and circumstances where the Spirit directs us to enter in. We are to obey and be the hands and feet of Jesus wherever the Spirit leads.
A life in Christ isn't all sunshine and rainbows. It's going to hurt at times in ways we're not at all expecting. We're going to face the enemy of God. It's a given because we belong to Christ Jesus.
We should not go through this life thinking that we've arrived, that now showers of blessings will only be ours going forward until we're called home or the Rapture of the Church.
We have read a lot of Scripture this day...and these aren't the only passages that point to this in the lives of Believers. Jesus said that those who live Godly in Christ Jesus are going to suffer. Life's going to hurt in choosing to follow Jesus at times.
We never read in the Bible of getting a trophy for participating. It's not a one and done thing. We aren't supposed to be the same people at coming to Christ as we will be wherever we see Jesus. Paul wrote in Romans of being a transformed life. A life that should be helping others both come to Christ and for helping others grow in Christ.
Both of these require the Believer to get dirty. It's going to change the hearts of the Believer helping as well as the Believer in need.
Growing in Christ IS the life of the Believer.
We aren't going to know, in this life, what our attitudes and our actions have REALLY done for the Kingdom of God.
Where do we get this? Read again what the people did in response to Jesus. "When did we...". They didn't see...but Jesus did.
Doing what the Spirit tells us and leaving the results to God is what the trainee is supposed to be doing. If ever you have seen a real boot camp...you know that single-mindedness isn't a healthy proposition. Doing exactly as you are told is what gets you through it.
At times we need to check ourselves. To be sure we aren't the Levite or the Priest...and be sure we're the Good Samaritan.
I have been told that I am very self aware. Spend a lot of time thinking about life and whether or not you're living as the Spirit teaches and you tend to lean that way. I agree with Paul...I don't want to run this race only to be disqualified at the end.
Life is more than we're capable of seeing or handling on our own. Life needs the guidance and teaching of the Spirit of God and our faith in what obedience to God's Word will achieve.
Trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus. Just be sure it's going to get you dirty. It's going to mean scars and wounds. It's going to require spiritual surgeries. Denying self and taking up our own cross and following Jesus is more than a catch phrase. The work of the Spirit of God in us is to remove what isn't needed to be like Christ and replace it with what is. We won't be left to stay the same. Jesus didn't die and rise again 3 days later to just hand out tickets to Heaven. Coming to Christ comes with the cost of our sinful life to have it replaced with a new life in Christ Jesus.
So be ready...we know not what the Spirit will present to us to be doing. Who's life will need our assistance. Who's suffering and needs an ear. Who's down and needs lifted up. It's going to mean getting dirty. Even Jesus had to have His feet washed.
All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.