Monday, November 10, 2008

Image or Power?

No fingers are being pointed at anyone with the following thoughts except for those which are pointing back to the writer.


From our earliest days we have learned the lesson of presenting ourselves in ways that don’t reveal the inner issues. The conflict that rages between our true selves and the image that we present bring stress and turmoil beyond our awareness.

Far more destructive is this inner conflict that it diverts us from the glory that our God has redeemed us to.

The apostle Paul, writing to his friend Timothy in his second letter to him, alerts him to coming challenges:

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come…”

Certainly there have always been “difficult times” in every age and in every society. The difference in what Paul is writing his friend about is that he is addressing issues that will arise within the Church not in society.

“For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…”

An ugly list isn’t it? Surely, this can’t be talking about God’s people; it must be addressing those who don’t know Jesus yet. Unfortunately, that would be an incorrect assumption. You see, the characteristics listed do indeed describe unredeemed man but that is not just an issue for the “last days”. That is the standard by which man has lived throughout history.

Paul’s next comments indicate that he is not talking about a lost world but, instead is addressing a “lost” church.

“…holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power…”

No we cannot excuse ourselves by looking at the list and selecting some, or even most, of the list that doesn’t apply. The fact is that any one of the traits listed would indicate that we are more in love with ourselves that we are with Jesus.

“holding to a form of godliness” how close this one cuts to the bone. Does our relationship with Jesus make any difference in our day to day lives or are we only living in an image?

How can we truthfully answer such a question? We have come a long way in our present circumstances so how can we accurately evaluate our postion?

“they have denied its power”.

When was the last time that you experienced His power?

Paul addresses the believers in Corinth with the following words: But I shall come to you, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant, but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power. 1 Corinthians 4:1—20

God never intended that Christians should cower in the recesses of our society. Hi intent was stated right up front:

…you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…Acts 1:8

It has been a foolish exchange, this trade of power for self-delusion and self-interest. Perhaps it is time that we cancel the trade and return to that which was bought for us with such a high price!

The benefit is immeasurable: …(He) is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or imagine, according to the power that works within us. Ephesians 3:20

The choice is clear, the price has been paid, the gift has been presented, the guarantee is assured, the results are eternal.

Image or Power?

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