Thursday, July 2, 2009

Devotional 020709

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I enjoyed some quiet time at the dental office early this morning. I was thankful for all the good things that our loving Father has bestowed upon us. It is His grace that we have teeth to eat and taste buds to enjoyed food. No matter your diet is Eden buffet (fruits and vegetables) or Noah’s feast (all you can eat meat of different kinds), God equips us with the sensations and ability to enjoy them all. Of course, life is more than eating. We are thankful for the way He designs and creates our body so that we can enjoy the pleasures of life within His plan. Praise the Lord!

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple… any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26-27, 33). If the closest relationships of life clash with the claims of Jesus Christ, He says it must be instant obedience to Himself. Discipleship means personal, passionate devotion to a Person, Our Lord Jesus Christ. There is a difference between devotion to a Person and devotion to principles or to a cause. Our Lord never proclaimed a cause; He proclaimed personal devotion to Himself. To be a disciple is to be a devoted love-slave of the Lord Jesus. Many of us who call ourselves Christians are not devoted to Jesus Christ. No man on earth has this passionate love to the Lord Jesus unless the Holy Spirit has imparted it to him. We may admire Him, we may respect Him and reverence Him, but we cannot love Him. The only Lover of the Lord Jesus is the Holy Spirit, and He sheds abroad the very love of God in our hearts. Whenever the Holy Spirit sees a chance of glorifying Jesus, He will take your heart, your nerves, your whole personality, and simply make you blaze and glow with devotion to Jesus Christ.

The Christian life is stamped by 'moral spontaneous originality,' consequently the disciple is open to the same charge that Jesus Christ was – that He was not consistent to the religious law and practice of His time. But Jesus Christ was always consistent to God, and the Christian must be consistent to the life of the Son of God in him, not consistent to hard and binding doctrines. Men pour them selves into religious doctrines, and God has to blast them out of their prejudices before they can become devoted to Jesus Christ.

It is hard to differentiate our devotion to Christ but not to a set of laws or doctrines. We understand the concept but hard to put it to practice. We tend to operate within a system of principles. We learn the teaching of Christ from the Bible. We put His teaching into our lives as guiding principles. We follow His commands and obey His commissions as our purpose of life. We thought those commitments expressed our devotion to Christ. What else do we need to do in devoting ourselves passionately to Christ? I guess it is the motivation behind all these activities. We don’t follow His principles and pursue His cause for their own sake, or for the sake of showing off our devout life like the Pharisees. We do all these for the love of Christ. We really don’t know how to love Christ. It is the work of the Holy Spirit who teaches us how to love. This love for Christ is beyond those big principles or great missions for His Kingdom. It is expressed through the daily chores or little things that you do for the love of Christ. Brother Lawrence felt the presence of God in cleaning his kitchen for the love of Christ. There is definitely no law or principles in binding him to do so. It was a “natural” out flow of a “supernatural” experience from within a person’s inner sanctuary. It is for that love of Christ many Christians were willing to die for Christ. Indeed, martyrdom is an expression of a passionate love and devotion to a Person, and to us it is Christ Jesus our Lord.

Love you because our love for Christ,

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