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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Friday, November 24, 2006

suffering sacrifice and service

I took an online course 2 years ago from a ministry called *Becoming Who God Intended* The course basically covered every aspect of Chrisitianity and focused on the Trinity and the relationship God desired us as His creation to have with Him. Our identity in Christ and connected to the Father and Holy Spirit was driven home and many examples were discussed showing how Jesus brings into His family and gives us the perfect love ,acceptance and grace we don't fully experience in our human families due to dysfunctional issues caused by our fallen natures and all the residue from having basic selfish, sinful attitudes which fight within us on a constant basis.The course delved into understanding the nature of sin and how we are set free by the Holy Spirit. Sin is way more than just doing a wrong act it is a complete maze of powerful moods and desires inner pain that seeks satisfaction from carrying out selfish actions and motivations to bring relief and anesthetize the pain we face.

My title of this post is reflecting on Jesus life and purpose in His role as Messiah, Lord and Savior. The Old Testament had many prophecies concerning the Messiah and His character and nature, Isaiah is one of the primary books in which the prophecies are contained and in which we can look back after reading the Gospels and discover their fulfillment. That Messiah would be a suffering servant and sacrifice His life are all vividly portrayed in Isaiah. In thinkingabout the growing amount of believers who are leaving or turning away from the institutional church I was reminded of how that course pointed out that we as His floowers were to reproduce the life of Christ in our own lives. Everything Jesus experienced as He was here He seeks to have us reduplicate ourselves, not necessarily in a literal physical way but on a very spiritual/emotional relational way.

He suffered rejection by friends and family, as well as strangers and even those who were supposed to be the ones waiting for Him the most!! He suffered physically, went hungry, homeless and was lonely as well. Anytime we go through times in life such as these, we have His example to rely upon as well as the Spirit to empower us and the Father to pray to to pour out our hearts too. He sacrificed Himself for us all, and calls us to show that trait as we live out our lives. Service was His modus operandi especially notable as He washed His disiples feet and fed the crowds that came to hear Him teach and seek healing from Him.

I just want to make these 3 attributes more and more a visible activity in my mind thoughts feelings and actions. I get caught up in selfpity over mistakes and sins i committed in the past or bad things that others did to me or i had happen and how they hurt me. Or i dwell on worrying how Ai may mess up ad fail Him in the future because i see or feel so much lacking as opposed to where i want to be or the measure stick Scripture calls me too. I need to live in the present and accept when i suffer, He is in it with me, giving me His Spirit to lead and guide me through, even with all my flaws and struggles. To be a servant no matter what is happening w hether good or bad and to know He chose to be a servant, even though He was God in flesh King of Kings and Lord of Lords...... He wanted to be the lowest of the low and found great joy as well as delighting His Father.

I think about these things and i want to make them become as natural as breathing, not even thinking about it just having it happen. So to easily distracted by the flesh and all that comes with it. I think those parts of Christianity who teach and preach that real christians experience wealth health and total victory all the time do the MOST damage to real discipleship. I see genuine lovers of Christ and people who endure great pain and loss all across the globe in every country, and who often are struggling with personal crises of fear, doubt and despair....... not due to lack of faith but just the burden of life and its weariness when the weight of its fallenness just keeps crashing down. Theology can seem dry and pointless at times when in the center of the tornado BUT it is the glimmer that points us to how we find relief and rest, even as the tornado lifts us up and throws us around...... THIS is what i want to have more and mnore of and pray the same for all of us as we seek to make sense of our lives in whatever condition they may be in. Grace and peace to all!!!!


At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Gary Means said...

I especially like your statement, "I need to live in the present". I concur wholeheartedly. It is so difficult for me to live in the present. But that's the only place we can meet God, the only place where we can hear Him. The present is the only place we can sin, the only place we can confess, the only place we can obey, and the only place we can love. But I find myself dwelling on PAST sins or thinking about FUTURE obedience.

Or, there's a related distraction - reading or listening to other people's stories and identifying with them so much that I am living their experience vicariously. Often this is when I read writings by great men and women of faith, some ancient, some contemporary. I find myself longing to be like them. And because as I read, I am saying, Yes! Yes!, I fool myself into feeling as if I am actually like that person; when in fact the evidence of my life speaks to the contrary. That is not to say that I cannot become like them. And the very fact that what they say produces a resonance or a longing, is a positive thing. But again, it's all too easy for me to divorce myself from reality, from the present.

I need to start where I am. I need to honestly, but graciously, examine precisely where I am and who I am. And then I can prayerfully compare that with who it is I believe God wants me to be. I will find some areas where He has worked wonders. And I will find many other areas where there remains much transformation to take place. It is then that I can go before Him in faith and adoration, in my weakness, and thank Him for what He has done, and give my weaknesses and failures to Him to redeem and transform.

I find that I am most in the present when I am deep in personal prayer, but even then I slide into the past or the future, or even totally unrelated thoughts. But still, I believe God smiles on me.

At 11:38 AM, Anonymous BarBarA said...

WOW Roberto and Gary!

Roberto, that was an incredible post. I don't know what to say except that I am so glad you wrote it cause I needed the reminder..big time.

And what Gary said was also very helpful.

Thanks. I'm gonna link here, ok?

At 10:30 PM, Blogger Robert said...

gary and barbara-

thanks so much my friends. You both always provide stimulus to me to seek God deeper thanks for your encouragement and prayers. link anytine you want barbara my sweet sister!!1


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