I so appreciated the hard Biblical truth brought to light in Amy’s sermon this past Sunday!
In it she reflects upon Mark 8:31-38. She discusses how often we hear the word of God but do little with it, which she says is not real hearing at all. She postulates, to have biblical hearing of God’s Word one must go beyond mere hearing to a life of obeying.
Several people rightly confessed in the sidebar chat-space this past Sunday morning that this teaching is convicting! But in our Lord’s goodness we do have a choice, either: one wants to save their worldly life of pleasure so they must lose their heavenly life, or one loses their worldly life of pleasure for the sake of Jesus Christ and the gospel and their heavenly life will be saved! (Mark 8:34-38)
I genuinely want the latter, so I began reflecting on this important choice by pondering Amy’s personal challenge question to each of us: “What in this world do you really want?” I must admit some of my wants are not as pure and lovely as I would like to admit.
So I asked myself, where do I go from here? How am I going to grow in Christ-likeness through this teaching? And while I know each of our journeys is different, I thought I would offer up some of my reflections that are helping me live into this all-important life altering choice!
Paul came to mind first because despite the many trials and sufferings he faced as he lived a Cross-shaped life he teaches the Ephesians that as they too suffer, like he has, they are to concentrate and pray, asking God, through His Spirit, to pour out from His glorious riches into their inner being the strength and power they need. Paul teaches the Corinthians as they suffer for the Gospel they are to never give up, even though their bodies are dying, their spirits are being renewed every day remembering that their present trails are small and will not last for long, yet they produce for them a glory that vastly outweighs the trials, and they will last forever!
Next my thoughts went to Isaiah 58, which speaks to how a wrongful fast, which is sinful, dries out the spirit and separates one from God. Yet to rightly fast by extending mercy and grace towards those who are heavy laden will ultimately refresh the soul and draws God close in the time of need. What Isaiah is saying is my light will break forth like the dawn only after I go out and do rightly not that I first become righteous and then I am ready to help those in need. It is in the doing that I will be transformed!
Jesus, Himself told His followers, “do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…but store up for yourselves treasures in heave…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt 6:19-21) Jesus’, Paul’s and Isaiah’s teachings give me hope in what I too can and want to do as I move forward in joining Jesus in dying to myself as I follow Him.
Justin’s Ash Wednesday’s post spoke about why we are to focus on our mortality and that is so we can live wisely (Ps 90:12). My earthly life will not last long but if I have biblical hearing towards Mark 8:31-38 and I choose to pick up my cross and live a life dying to self for the sake of others then I know I will be living my life wisely, emulating Jesus in the time I have remaining.
I pray we may each live wisely, with biblical hearing where we not only hear the Word of God but obey it going forth as Jesus modeled growing in our Cross-shaped life, a life lived that is pleasing to our Lord.