Friday, October 21, 2011

The One That Satisfies All

I have been thinking about a scripture I ran across that describes my condition.

“Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body [is] not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.”

'No I am not a glutton and I am not a fornicator'…you and I might say but that is really not
the point of this scripture yet being either describes perhaps where our focus is. Much of the time we are focused on worldly provision or a particular appetite we have. In each case we are a dry spirit looking for shelter. Yet each point of our misplaced focus, as Paul has concluded in this scripture, possesses a mislaid purpose of what comprises us: the inner discontent of not finding peace. We strive and struggle to fill a void within us. That void that cries out to be filled and we spend countless hours and efforts to do nothing but pursue it and believe that if we can reach that Xanadu, we will be free - our burning thirst quenched, our hunger filled and our desire satisfied. Yet repeatedly we find at the end of our pursuit the ragged hole of disappointment and so we begin to chase the wind again having caught scent of something else we think or hope will fill that void. This is the state of mankind to a great degree. We are a miserable lot and there is no home yet in sight. But in this scripture, the Lord unlocks a very simple and profound secret. There is a oneness here in this scripture that whispers to our inner man the incredulous truth that in Him we find all that we are looking for and yet that is not the half of it. In this scripture we see something else that is too good to be true given our experience; we see the purpose of the Lord Himself described and we must reach the conclusion:

He seeks us, desires us and, dare I say it, finds it His main mission to be in us.

As much as we think we have sought Him, we must also look again and recognize that He finds His place, yes His true and real place, is within us. The stinking stuff the hands of the Trinity formed from the dust of the ground and kissed His life within us and we became living souls. The reality is it is His burning desire to be with us. It is not His need but it is His purpose as it concerns us the objects of His love. This is the conclusion of a Ragamuffin like me. I do not have to strive to find Him, I have to realize He is striving to find me. This opens a different world to us. We have settled for a conditional God and have made artificial barriers to Him. There is one and only one condition: That we are convinced He loves us and that we are willing to trust that love enough to surrender all we are to Him – blemishes and bumps, bruises and the stink of the human condition. He will take it from there.

The Judgement Seat Revisited

I have rethought the judgment seat of Christ (1 Cor 3:10-15)…you know the event where we present ourselves and what we think we have done for him and He strikes fire to it. As the story goes, what is not burned up is what we keep…Good for us. But looking a little closer, notice in that passage the six elements that describe the potential possessions presented to the fire: gold, silver and precious jewels versus wood, hay and stubble. I might be taking poetic license with another scripture here but in the context of what this entry is about, I think it applies – judge for yourself. There is a large contrast between the first three and the latter three. One set endures fire and is actually improved by it while the other set is consumed totally. In the scriptures there are three elements that will endure and they are found in the last verse of the love chapter: 1 Cor 13:13. These three elements that will abide – that is to remain as one is and not change, to be constant: are faith, hope and love. These are the only elements we can possess that will make it unchanged and even improve in the fire. This gets us down to the real issues about exactly what we will bear before him and have it preserved. Let me pose it this way:

On that day I am convinced we will be asked questions that will reveal really what we truly walked in:

Did we truly realize that Jesus loved us and that we walked in that reality?
Did we have our hope in life totally pinned on Him?
Did we have faith in Him in all our circumstances and life-flows?

As Paul has stated with an iron stylus, only these abide. Gifts or giftedness, spiritual power or the lack there of will be a non-issue on that day.

These are not trivial questions nor are they inane. It gets down to the other question:

Did we really know Jesus?

If all of the above three cannot be answered in the affirmative, then we cannot answer the last question nor should we even broach it.

So if the ‘body is for Christ and Christ for the body’ this is more than a trite scripture for a piece of needlepoint or one of those precious moments figurines. It is the power of God unveiled and revealed. This causes us to approach the frontier that perhaps we thought we could never attain to or experience; the real and true Christ within our flesh and blood body. It does not get any more real than that. We have the potential to realize that the most important consummation that will ever take place for anyone or anything has already taken place from the moment we believed. It is our basis and foundation for the rest of our lives…the reality that our body is for Christ and Christ for our body.


Ask yourself the question: ‘Can I know Jesus in that way?’ Oh yes, He has already prepared a way and the last vestiges of your fortress heart is to open up the gates and let Him in to all you are right now, not the cleaned up version you let everyone else see because on that day what you truly are will be revealed by fire and your faith , hope and love for Him will be for all to see….

we* are - the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life's tribulations, but through it all clung to faith.
Brennan Manning