Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Surly goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Ps 23:6

We already know that there will be trouble in our lives because of our desire to serve God. This is a fact of living in a world that sold out its birthright in order to go about living on its own. There is an antagonism that exists between people who know Christ and those who do not accept the deep and intimate relationship that He enters into with us. The fallen world does not get the desire to be so close to Christ, and in fact it hates it; more so, it hates the God that we serve. Yet, God promises us these simple truths from the Psalms.

I think that as we keep our eyes focused on Christ, we keep our hearts centered in His reality. Then we don’t hear the negative voices and allow them the same access to our minds. They can scream at us with all the angry vigor of before, but there is a greatly decreased impact. As we look upon God, He shows us the image of us that He sees; for, in and through Christ we are beautiful, capable, confident, loved and loving. We are now surrounded by His glory, and we are filled with His grace. The goodness and the mercy that are following us about are for our benefit, and these characteristics of God are also granted to us as our own so that we can bring them into our contact with the rest of humanity.

God takes us from our place as residents of the rubbish heap of ruin that sin has made out of creation, and He moves us to a place of honor at His side. Our new position in Christ creates a reality that makes the place where we are in our daily lives into God’s palace; thus, we are always living in the house of the Lord. We are continually seated at a banquet where the tables are filled to overflowing with Christ’s goodness, mercy. grace, peace, and love.

I have given them your word, and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

John 17: 14,15

Jesus was in deep prayer to the Father when he said this. When we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior, we change sides in the eternal conflict; we toss aside the uniform and the colors of Satan’s army, and we are re-clothed in the exquisite robes of God’s own warriors. The Word of God becomes the pledge of allegiance of our hearts. All of this places us into a position of conflict with the forces of evil that are truly alive and continually active on the earth.

Although, God may hate war in the form of the angry, greedy, and self-empowering human-to-human conflicts that we engage in, he sets up a state of constant warfare between his people and Satan. This is the type of war that Jesus is praying about. In fact, God is delighted when the world hates us. If there is never any conflict, are we really engaged in the battle that confronts sin with God’s truth? I think that a lot of Satan’s anger with us is triggered when we seek to use one of God’s greatest distinctives in our interaction with life. That is, when we choose to love, to care about and to care for others. Satan doesn’t serve people; rather, he demands service to himself. In Christ, we serve a Lord who humbled himself in service to all who allow Him to do so.

Jesus asked the Father to leave us here to continue to tell and to show the world that there is an answer to the life crushing demands of Satan; however, he also asked God to protect us as we live here on this life or death battlefield of the soul. We can go through every day being proud to serve, confident in our direction, and secure in our safety, for Christ, Himself, is watching out for us, and the power of God Almighty is in, with, and surrounding us.