Saturday, December 25, 2010

LIKE WINE LEFT ON ITS DREGS

LIKE WINE LEFT ON ITS DREGS
A. Brother
  
“Moab has been at rest from her youth, like wine left on its dregs,
not poured from one jar to another—
she has not gone into exile.
So she tastes as she did,
and her aroma is unchanged.”
--Jeremiah 48:11

            There is no way to change into the image of God in Christ without a complete disruption of our restful, static lives.
            Would we become a sweet aroma to God’s sense of smell?
            Then we must be poured out.  Like Paul was poured out, his life being given for the ekklesia, the called out to be together people of God, as a living sacrifice we are to be poured out, unsettled, turned upside down and inside out, in order to become the sweet smelling aroma of Christ to His Father.  As Jesus was poured out, His life given freely for us, so we must give our lives freely for one another, sacrificing our own plans and dreams and goals to God in exchange for His Kingdom.
           
“Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”
--Luke 17:33

            Jesus tells us plainly that we are not to seek a life of rest and relaxation, finding our fulfillment on this earth in anything we build here.  We are not of this world, we are of His Kingdom, and so cannot feel at home in this body, in this society, in this time and place, no matter how we are urged to do so.
            Jesus calls us to a pouring out.  A pouring out of our own expectations and desires, our own worldly pursuits and dreams. 
            Jesus also promises us new wine.  A pouring in of the Spirit of God, with Kingdom purposes for us that are higher and purer than we can imagine. 
            However, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is impossible for us to receive new wine without first being poured out, being emptied of our old wine, which is the self-focused life we have been taught.  Don’t think you’ll receive any of Christ’s fullness until you are willing to begin to let go of it—all the wrong thinking, the wrong expectations, and the unscriptural pursuits we constantly engage in.

“You still lack one thing.  Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow Me…
How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!
…What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
Luke 18:22,23,27

          In this modern age, we have thought to reinvent the gospel, and create some palatable and easy truth for people to follow as Christians.  We are wrong, and it has cost many the Kingdom.  If we would follow Jesus, we will do it on His terms, not ours.
            We have sought lives of rest and fulfillment in this world.  So we have little of Christ, and we are much as we were before we supposedly came to Christ--we smell worldly and we taste worldly to our Father.
            There is no compromise if we would enter the Kingdom of God.
            There is a pouring out required, and it is impossible for us to do it ourselves.  God must direct this pouring out, this emptying process.  We are simply the obedient, willing servants who allow it.  We must let go of our idols—our desires for money, security, status, position, leisure, worldly pleasure—and seek the Kingdom of God first.  There are no assurances we will ever be “healthy, wealthy, or wise” in the eyes of the world by following Jesus.
            God does not regard our protestations and defenses as anything but rebellion and disobedience. 
            He is God, and He designed us for this.  He didn’t design us for self-focus and a life of rich leisure on this earth.  He designed us for this process of becoming Christ, being filled to all the fullness of our Lord Jesus and emptied out of our own inadequate and foolish self-will.  It is through this process of dying to self, and living to Christ that we become the sweet aroma of love, faith, hope and all the other fruits of the Spirit growing and maturing in God’s Vineyard.
            Make no mistake.  God will have His Way in the end.
            If you do not choose willingly to be poured out for Christ, then you will experience a pouring out and a smashing that will be terrifying to you instead of comforting.

“’But days are coming,’ declares the Lord,
‘when I will send men who pour from jars,
And they will pour her out; they will empty her jars and smash her jugs.
Then Moab will be ashamed of Chemesh,
As the house of Israel was ashamed
When they trusted in Bethel.”
--Jeremiah 48:12,13

            Leave your idols behind—your Chemishes and Bethels—to follow Jesus, before He sends His discipline to save you from yourself!



2 comments:

  1. I fear the smashings.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, my anonymous friend, we all fear them, I think. I know I do! Yet Christ will give us His courage to face them. He did it for us, we do it for Him and for each other. I pray we'll abandon our own methods and shortcuts to spirituality, and lean on Christ alone this year.

    ReplyDelete

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