I am writing this on day 48 of lockdown, that is 48 days since we have met together with anyone, gone to church or family and if you think about it, that it is now longer than the time Noah spent in the Ark! No wonder we are all doing things we never really done before.
This week I made a rash decision, I decided to give a positive comment on a facebook site for the new ` Chosen` free you tube presentation. I have watched it twice and thought it excellent, so I thought I would just add a few personal views to their face book page. Well you never know what one single action will do. As you might expect (and I didn’t, as I did not post this on my personal site) there were a few comments back. Most I ignored but one I felt drawn to replying to. It personally challenged the character of Jesus.
There were then a few posts to and fro between us discussing the nature and validity of the Bible etc. I prayed before each one and felt led to reply. They were reasonably good natured (from the person) and I felt I could stand back and answer unemotionally as I was defending the Lord and the Bible. I did feel the person was slightly goading me from time to time but was completely able to detach from being drawn into attacking the person on a personal basis right up until the last posting when he chose both to attack me personally and be inaccurate in detailing my actions and motives.
Well this was the moment the little green imp of anger and resentment jumped on my shoulder and even though I knew it would be wrong, unhelpful and really against what the Lord would want me to do I really just wanted to tell this person they were WRONG!! And to stop twisting the truth blah, blah, blah, and to defend my actions publicly…...I didn’t.
Thank you Lord, for reminding me I needed to get showered and ready at that moment. Off to the shower I went and as so often happens in the quiet and isolation of the shower the Lord quietly questioned why I so wanted to put things right. “Because they were wrong Lord and didn’t represent me truthfully and sought to damage my integrity”.
Then these words came so powerfully to me ''let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant'' (Philippians 2:5-7 KJV)
Reputation: I was thinking about maintaining my reputation, the comment was personal, it was against my character, my integrity. When the Lord chose to remind me, that for me “Jesus gave up all His divine privileges” (NLT) for my redemption.
Our Pastor has been encouraging us to return to the cross the truths of the cross and lay everything down at the cross and go back to the place where we first met Jesus, and connect again with the simplicity of giving everything to Him. And here was I thinking about defending myself over the smallest thing.
I then started to think about Jesus and His selflessness. When you read Jesus prayer in John chapter 17 you realise the agony of His journey, to want so much for His disciples, for those He knew would believe and follow after He had gone. He wanted so much to know that He had fulfilled His mission, that He had brought Glory to His Father and to experience the awful wrench that He was now leaving these precious followers in a world that would hate them because they would share such an important message. And He also knew what was ahead.
Isaiah tells us He would be – despised and rejected - a man of sorrows - oppressed and treated harshly – His life would be cut short midstream – die without descendants - buried like a criminal -and what`s more it was His Fathers plan do all this to Him to crush Him and cause Him grief. He would be left with nothing and even His reputation would be destroyed, so that the Lords plan could be fulfilled. The only blessing was that He would see all He has accomplished by His anguish and be satisfied, because of His experience He would make it possible for many to be counted righteous for He would bear their sins. He will lose His reputation so they can gain salvation.
His prayer in the garden of Gethsemane was very real ''Father if you are willing please take this cup of suffering away from Me, yet I want Your will to be done not Mine'' (Luke 22 v 42 NLT). The suffering was not just pain but the public removal of all credibility and reputation. He was tried and executed as a criminal.
Our pastor was right when he said that we need to come to the cross, to lay down our all at its foot; rediscover our first love there and the simplicity of giving all our sinfulness to Jesus and receive all His purity. As a new Christian it's hard to do but in many ways it's simple. It’s a simple transaction (although not cheap by any means) we give our old selves we get a new self, His self, a new life.
After many years following the Lord I think it's harder. We've accrued so many 'good things' about ourselves including our reputation that we cherish and hold on to but the best reputation in the world can still get in the way of what Jesus might be wanting to do now and next. Good reputation can block true repentance and only in true repentance can true forgiveness flow.
Oh Lord today thank You for teaching me such a lot from a simple facebook interaction. My prayer is that this process won't just be for today in the heat of the emotion, but day after day as You seek to bring Your people to a new awareness and obedient walk with You. And thank You that You counted equality with God not something to be grasped but gave up everything for me.
Author: Jan Pearson
May God bless and enrich your life
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