Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Devotional 230609

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Thank God for another wonderful day. Such balmy weather makes you feel like working out door. I need to stop thinking about it. Otherwise. I will not be able to concentrate in my meditation and work. I just praise God for giving me the sensitivity to appreciate His creation, which is a gift from our loving Heavenly Father.

"He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not" (Isaiah 53:3). We are not acquainted with grief in the way in which Our Lord was acquainted with it; we endure it, we get through it, but we do not become intimate with it. At the beginning of life we do not reconcile ourselves to the fact of sin. We take a rational view of life and say that a man by controlling his instincts, and by educating himself, can produce a life, which will slowly evolve into the life of God. But as we go on, we find the presence of something, which we have not taken into consideration, and that is the problem of sin, which upsets all our calculations. Sin has made the basis of things wild and not rational. We have to recognize that sin is a fact, not a defect; sin is red-handed rebellion against God. Either God or sin must die in my life. The New Testament brings us right down to this one issue. If sin rules in me, God's life in me will be killed; if God rules in me, sin in me will be killed. There is no other possible outcome than that. The climax of sin is that it crucified Jesus Christ, and what was true in the history of God on earth will be true in your history and in mine. In our mental outlook, we have to reconcile ourselves to the fact of sin as the only explanation as to why Jesus Christ came, and as the explanation of the grief and sorrow in life.

We have problem to admit sin or recognize ourselves as sinners. Many pre-Christian friends are stumbled by our emphasis on facing he reality of sin, and refused to embrace this relationship with God through Christ. To them, sins refer to those behaviors that violate the law of society, or those actions that hurt others like killing and stealing. They may not realize the fact that sinful behavior begins from within. Apostle James said, “After desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:15). Deep down inside us we have this rebellious instinct against God. Out of this instinct of rebellion, we tend to challenge any “absolute authority” over us. We fail to do what God intended for us to do. We fail to live up to God’s expectation for us to live. And these are all part of our sin. Some of you may immediately respond with this question, “why do I want to live up to God’s expectation? Why is He so authoritative and make us surrender to Him?” This is human nature to react with such attitude or question – and we call this nature: freedom.

It is this nature of men that put men into a lot of trouble and despairs. If we abuse this nature of freedom that God endow in us, we run into all kinds of problem for ourselves and conflict with other people. This is exactly what Paul said in the book of Romans, “Although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another” (Romans 1:21-24). God still honors His endowment for us even though we abuse it. He just wants us to exercise this freedom to enjoy and fulfill His wonderful plan on earth for us. But the bottom line is whether we are willing to kill our sinful desires with this freedom on a daily basis. This is something I also need your prayers. After all, I need someone to hold me accountable too!

Love you as a recovering sinner in Christ,

No comments: