Wednesday, August 28, 2013

That's Insane!

Insanity: life based on what isn't there; an alternate reality.

If you're like me, you've brushed elbows with people who "aren't all there." The things you and I see, touch and feel aren't as obvious to these individuals. The circumstances of life and rules of society bend and bow as they stagger to stay inside moving lines.

Reading the book of Romans has reminded me that a life of faith is based on a reality that is not what we see, feel, hear and touch. How different life would be if I lived according to the reality of God's Word.

For example, Romans 4:19-21 says, "Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb, yet, with respect to the promise of God he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised He was able also to perform."

Abraham’s life and faith did not depend on what God gave Him--what he felt, saw, touched--but on who God was and what He promised. Abraham is know for his faith, for acting on what he did not, could not, see. Without the promised goods in hand, Abraham lived as if he had already, or absolutely would, receive them.

Often, too often, I expect an answer before making a commitment. That’s not faith. Sometimes, I live as if God must prove Himself. Only then will I yield allegiance. That is not faith. That is limited, human life and expectation—earth-bound living.

But faith? Faith is living out the promise before it's consummation. Faith is living on a partial return—making decisions and choices as if the total is in pocket. Faith in anything is not faith, it's foolishness. Faith in the promises of God is wisdom.

It is living as if my sin is forgiven—gone, without penalty. It is living as a member of heaven, praising God, leaving worry behind, rejoicing in victories won, sharing battle wounds and stories of God’s provision. It is living as if God has righted all wrongs, the debt is not mine to collect, the grudge is not mine to hold.

How would life change if my sin was done, gone, paid for? If I walked as I will in heaven? If I lived knowing all wrong against me is paid for, settled? What would life look like if we really, truly, lived by faith? Would we not be insane, living an alternate reality—here, but not all here? But by faith, we have the confidence and assurance that it is just the opposite. We live out an unseen reality; and life without faith is a fa├žade; a tunnel of carnival mirrors that distorts and deceives. The free, Spirit-filled life is anchored in the reality of Christ, His death and resurrection. It is upheld by the promise of a future in the presence of our all-loving, all-knowing God and Father.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

"In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

"Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

"And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:3-23)

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