A Political “If-Then” of Jesus that Helps Me Today

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then my servants would be fighting…”

We do well to remember the “if-then” of our Lord before Pilate only moments prior to full implementation of the Father’s eternal plan of Redemption at Calvary. The darkest hour for man was in fact destined to become the most glorious of all. Heaven and earth kissed when righteousness and peace joined hands: His kingdom came in power and in particular at the declaration of Sonship via the Resurrection. If we do not heed the “if-then” Kingdom clause of Jesus, we may well find ourselves in the least case distracted from the King’s true business, and in the worst case… we may find ourselves inadvertently positioned alongside Pilate as judge of the King and His business in a moment of clarity consumed by mob-rule insanity. It happens. I think we have recently lived, (are living?), through it?

Never underestimate the subtlety of the serpent to distract gospel-focus from the Light and souls of men, and make it all about the earthy.

We live in rapid-fire, culturally-charged, ever-changing circumstances that lend themselves to no one’s security and to ever man’s danger. But into this crazy world, amazingly Light entered, and the Father has said, “This is My Son, hear ye Him.” (This is what the Father pronounced in response to Peter’s plan to stay on the Mount of Transfiguration and construct three earthly tabernacles, one for Jesus, Moses and Elijah.) God “Deep-6ed” that plan before the words had scarcely stopped ringing. NO EARTHLY KINGDOMS! And we still are trying to construct both religious and political tabernacles and shrines and legacies…

Now today we have the Trumpers, we see the crestfallen Hillary disciples, we hear the disillusioned Berney followers, and there are multitudes of others who feel neglected or disaffected by earthly rulers and political parties and intrigues. Did we really think a political party or one person could offer a lasting change or a viable solution to an age-old heart problem? Well, unfortunately I suppose most do neglect the King of kings. The gospel of God and the Kingdom of God preached in power, lived in purity, and coming in glory is the hope of the Nations. We would be wise to heed the old song,

“Kings and Kingdoms may all pass away;

But there’s something about that Name.”

O Lord God, You have spoken to us in Your Son in these last days. Grant grace and principled obedience to treasure His words and build our lives upon the Rock of abiding obedience in Him that we may know joy in this dark world which we see to be filled with sorrow, yet with True Light shining… enough to see the King’s Highway. Grant that we recall and practice “Thy word as a lamp and light to our feet and path,” and as that abiding Rock that shall never pass away “though grass withers and flower fades.” Our endurance and preservation as the Sons of Adam can only be saved and reconciled to Thee in the One who said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” O Father! May we seek that King and kingdom!

If His kingdom is not of this world, then where is my heart and where is my heart’s treasure?

Lewis… illustrates the principle.

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

CS Lewis

The Weight of Glory

I suggest you read or listen to this famous sermon or essay of Lewis. The Weight of Glory. 

Staying on Point. Complete the Mission!

He said to them, “Do not delay me, since the LORD has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master.”Genesis 24:56

  
(Another George Dobbs Photo)

Abraham’s oldest and most loyal servant has completed precisely one-half of his assigned task: he has located Rebecca, the God-chosen bride-elect of Isaac, the son of promise remarkably born of Abraham and Sarah in their old age. The servant now purposes to stay on point by completion of his task via a quick return to Abraham and Isaac with his prized beauty. Rebecca’s mother understandably has scruples over such a speedy, “shotgun-styled marriage” of sorts. Rebecca’s opportunistic brother Laban likewise wants to delay nuptials by hindering her return to Isaac for perhaps less than legitimate or honorable reasons. We can easily speculate that perhaps he hoped to garner more gifts of gold and silver from Abraham’s faithful servant before their departure for marital bliss in the Promised Land.  (We definitely see in his subsequent future dealings with Jacob in matters pertaining to his daughters, Rachael and Leah, that he is a man given to money, manipulation and deceit. Put the guy in front of a camera and he could have had a brilliant career as a televangelist!)

Abraham’s wise servant having clearly discerned the hand of God, perhaps even recalling his master’s recent charge and assurance that “God will send His angel before you” is having nothing to do with delay. Rebecca is called alongside to affirm her desire with the servant’s intent, which remarkably but not surprisingly perfectly coincides with his plan… “Let’s get the heck outta here now!” Thus a speedy return is determined to be right, and the matter is settled. They immediately leave bound for the Land of Promise in obedience to their perception of the revealed will of a God who has clearly ordered their steps in this matter. Delay is out of the question! Abraham is aged and Isaac is waiting as he mourns the loss of his mother. (A mother’s departure is always painful and untimely even for adult sons. Rebecca’s mother here exhibits another type of pain as leaving and cleaving is fleshed out of and then into the mother-daughter relationship.)



Consideration…

God is interested in our attentive, trained sensitivity to the details of the leading of His Spirit in our lives by our subsequent timely, responsible, obedient faith-walk. God leads or prompts but we still must respond. The call of God’s will does not mean God removes all obstacles nor all adversaries, rather expect them in abundance from near and surprising sources. Some adversaries have valid concerns and need only time and patience to become advocates assured of God’s wisdom in a matter. We also do well to anticipate adversity from those who have some power by virtue of inherited positions of authority. 

Perhaps opposition may be experienced from other insignificant spectators who think they have a “dog in the fight” as they stand on the sidelines offering needless and worthless commentary. We are called to stay focused on God’s purpose and glory. Obedience to the will of God always supersedes man’s opinion. On some level I am not required to offer explanation for why I am doing what I am doing beyond the revelation of God and His Word to me in my life. A gracious but firm “sit down, shut up and stand aside,” may become necessary with some of the more obnoxious irritants. I have found I personally still struggle to refrain from commentary about others as God’s wisdom in their life may be contrary to my opinion (or desire). My opinion is not critically significant in most cases. God’s glory in our obedience is. The call to stand and see the salvation of the Lord takes great pains to implement and patience to… well just waiting and standing. (I am sure Moses would validate that it is difficult to stand and wait when an army is bearing down upon you.)

Resistance to the will of God is expected and normative to those whose senses are not trained in matters spiritual. Yes, and we know that resistance to the will of God in the spiritually mature can only be overcome by grace, and this presupposes faith-works in its completion. We do not naturally gravitate toward obedience in response to the call of the cross but by grace alone. Grace eventually teaches us to love and obey the cross as we submit to His will to be done, not ours. We also have and do nothing that makes an indelible mark upon eternity except it be done in faith. God is not interested in glorified efforts of our flesh. Without faith it is impossible to please God. The flesh profits nothing. 

When God clearly shows us the way to walk… when God speaks and we hear His voice say, “This is the path, walk ye herein,” at some point hesitation or timidity becomes sinful procrastination that opens the door of rank disobedience. Waiting upon the Lord becomes sinful neglect after we hear Him say, “He has told you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Justice, mercy and a daily dose of relational faith are all safe bets in doing the will of the Father. 

We are called to faithfulness in doing God’s will even if we have to go alone and even if we have to turn to the right or left as this faithful man replied to Laban. (I have found lots of Laban’s. Lots of them. They hang out and around serious-minded believers often offering irrelevant commentary calculated to hinder obedience to a lifestyle characterized by a faith-walk. Their way is always best. They often refuse counsel even in the context of Biblical principle clearly laid out. They are easily threatened and insist upon their way or the highway. They love to exercise both real and pseudo-authority by being wordsmiths skilled in manipulation of the masses. They are men of sight, not men of faith.

And then of course the world is filled with obvious unconverted opportunists such as The Donald Trump’s who wear a thin veneer of religiosity for personal gain and power. I think even Liberty University picked up on his pretense. But I digress… Let me return to matters eternal.

A pastor friend once offered a profundity in a sermon in response to the difficulty of a believer being obedient to the will of God in the workplace where rank ungodliness abounds. He said, “What did you think they would do, not tell dirty jokes just because you are there? Did you actually think that they would rather sit around singing hymns? That does not matter and that will not change; you are called as salt and light. You are to be lights in the midst of darkness holding forth the Word of truth right in the midst of them, and when the occasion arises to speak the Word… boldly in love affirm what the Word of God proclaims about a particular situation or abomination. It is then that you might expect the conversation to terminate.” (Andy had a way of saying things that one can never quite escape. And he was so correct on so many things.)

Obedience to the will of God involves a cost. Remember Christ? Remember He said to “Do this in remembrance of Me”? Do you remember what the bread and cup represent? His broken body and blood? Remember too… He did it for joy set before Him as He submitted Himself to the will of the Father as He loved and died for the unlovely.

Abraham’s servant was the point man on mission operating under the auspices of his master’s desire. Jesus of Nazareth likewise operated under the decree of the Father in speedy purposeful obedience which merited the Father’s commendation of, “This is my Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” And this is why we need Him. As we flail about seeking the will of God with occasional aspirations of obedience to it, we often fall short of the mark. At times we even neglect to pick up bow and arrow to shoot at the target of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus to “be perfect as He is perfect.” Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ who has won us an obedience by merit of His perfection of always doing the things in timely manner to validate His credentials as the only begotten of the Father. We stand in Him and in His work alone.

We need Him. We need Him even when we believe we are recipients of the grace to have a good day of speedily doing the revealed will of the Father as we “return to our Master’s house,” to complete the task. Perhaps we then need Him more as we have then become recipients of more grace and have acquired more debt. We know this for sure: God’s will becomes transparently clear as we offer ourselves as living sacrifices with renewed minds, and as we show ourselves as examples of those who believe. How else will the kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven?

The purposes of God were advanced by the diligent effort of this one faithful man to accomplish the given task. He would not relent but knew full obedience to the assigned duty was satisfied only upon his return to his master whom he knew to be a man who owned the promise of God. Eternity hung in the balance of his resoluteness to withstand adversity and reasonable arguments to delay in doing the right thing. He stands in scripture as a model man of God who could not deviate from his mission. We too must aspire to be single-visioned recipients of grace to stay-on-point for the glory of God as we move toward completion of our life mission.