Sunday, April 8, 2012

That Glory May Rise

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down." Matthew 4:5-6

The highest point of the temple overlooked the Kidron Valley with a dizzying drop that had once caused the Jebusites to feel completely secure from their enemies. It was also known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2) where God would judge the nations of this world. Atop its pinnacle now stands a young carpenter in the middle of a test. "Throw yourself down." We know He does not. Not yet.

Fast forward three miracle filled years and that same carpenter is in the same valley in a dark night of the soul, faced with the terrifying will of the Father to throw Himself down for real where no angels would be summoned to His rescue. We know He does.

With out raising a hand or a word in His own defense, the One who made murderous waves smooth sailing, skin eaten to the bone new and supple and who turned four days dead in the Bethany heat back into Lazarus; that Blessed One laid down on the ground of Calvary and was crucified for us, died and was buried. We also know that 'He rose again on the third day according to the scriptures.'

We know that after His Resurrection He meets several of His close friends who do not recognize Him. There are many reasons why that could occur but the one that keeps coming to me is that obedience is transforming. Jesus was obedient as no one has ever been. 'Obedient to the death of the cross.' He threw it all down. Absolutely every shred, every vestige of His own life and will, Christ threw down and down and down. There was nothing left to surrender. He was absolutely empty with not one self willed thought left to speak up. No wonder He was unrecognizable.

Obedience transforms us. It releases us from the clutches of other influential forces that age us and make us unloving and petty, self protective, ineffective and unchristlike.

Obedience transforms us so that we can transform the world around us. Obedience makes room for the unrestricted, unhindered plan of God. Obedience stands on the shoulders of faith and calls to grace. Obedience makes everything different in ways that need to be different. It doesn't always make everything easy.

It is Easter Sunday and the day is a celebration of the power of God to transform death into life, to change obedience into the miraculous. The One who was thrown down has risen up!

The power to transform us is here every day not just this day but because of this day. Obedience transforms. It makes the old- new, the useless- productive, the bitter- sweet and out of death it makes life, all for the sake of love.

Christ loved us and He loved the Father. Obedience without love is tyranny. Obedience with love will not leave a vain thing standing.

As we move into a new week let's consider Paul's encouragement to grow up in obedience. To throw down what wants its own way in opposition to Christ.

The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. 2 Cor 10:3-6

If you ever wanted to change your appearance now is the time.

Obedient love transforms and beautifies the transformed.

What do you need to throw down so glory can rise?

I answer for myself:



Picture from a card Jan Collins gave me of Deborah Gone To War

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  1. Obedience is always better than sacrifice. . . something on which God and I are still working in me. Blessings!