Sunday, January 15, 2017

When life's blizzards blow.

Artic explorers impress me with their commitment as they face the harsh landscape with its
bleak weather. Watching videos of their trudging along and battling snow blizzards and possible dangerous ground conditions arouses respect and admiration.

In my mind they become metaphors for the Christian life. We are called upon by our Lord to be His adventurers in a spiritual and moral ‘artic region.’ We are not called to face the ‘blizzards or tread the dangerous countryside’ for fame and fortune. Rather, we are on a rescue mission under the supervision of our Commander. Our mission is to save those lost in the blizzards of life, to lift up those who have fallen into moral crevices plus establish a base camp for their welfare, nurture and resourcing.

To do that requires us to be properly trained, spiritually resourced, morally upright and confident in the leadership of the Lord Jesus. Aspects of these essentials are summed up in the motto for 2017 as written in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14. Last week we considered ‘be alert,’ today the key word is ‘stand!’ Over the next three weeks we will consider, ‘be courageous’ – ‘be strong’ – ‘love.’

It is interesting that the Christian life is expressed in words such as ‘sit – walk – run –stand!’  Watchman Nee in his classic book ‘Sit, Walk, Stand’ shows from the letter to the Ephesians the principles for a fulfilled Christian life and ministry. We need to ‘sit’ with Christ Jesus in His realm by faith. This equips us to walk in our calling and not become victims of adversaries, nor foul circumstances or moral crevices. As we walk in obedience to our Commander there will be times we have to ‘stand’ our ground as opposition to our message, values or endeavours rage around and upon us.

Within our life and service manual (Bible) we can find a number of passages emphasising our need to stand. They deal with all the issues with which we will need to deal as we undertake our commitment to mission. We are to have answers, found in our manual, for both inquirers and opponents. This means we must be convinced about what we believe and stand on the authority of Scripture. Our foundation on which we stand by faith is the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1). This great news of Christ’s coming, living amongst us, taking our sin and judgement at the cross, dying, being buried and rising again is matchless, priceless and eternal. It’s the message of being set free from our past and to know acceptance by the Lord God of Glory.

Why people fight against this liberating news defies logic. However, they do! That means we must combat their arguments. This is done through Biblical teaching of the promises about the coming of Jesus, the historical accuracy of the Bible and the required lifestyle found in Scripture. The book will unmask their errors, dismantle their arguments (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). It’s not much use having sound doctrine if it is undermined by a wayward and hypocritical lifestyle. It is our responsibility to stand faithful before the gaze and even the slander of opponents. That isn’t easy when the blizzards howling around you and the adversaries rage.

To be able to stand under such pressure demands your heart, mind and experiences to know the following: ‘I know the one [Jesus] in whom I have put my trust, and am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him’ (2 Timothy 1:12). It also requires us to be part of a band of likeminded people roped together by God’s grace and calling. They may be close at hand or on the other side of the world yet ‘chained’ together through prayer. Epaphras is mentioned as an example of this. ‘[He] who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus,  …is always wrestling in his prayers on your behalf, so that you may stand mature and fully assured in everything God wills’ (Colossians 4:12).

As the year runs its course get to know your Lord more and more. Then take to heart the imperatives of His calling. Only then what confronts you, me, will not blow us over or cover us with shame. Therefore, stand and having done all we have been asked to do, stand!

1 comment:

  1. 2 good reminders to start the year. Be alert and stand on the firm foundation. Look forward to the next three instalments.