Saturday, July 16, 2011
LIVING LIKE THE TIME IS SHORT.
LIVING LIKE THE TIME IS SHORT
“What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short.
From now on, those who have wives
Should live as if they had none;
those who mourn, as if they did not;
those who are happy as if they were not;
those who buy something as if it were not theirs to keep;
those who use the things of the world,
as if not engrossed in them.
For this world in its present form is passing away.
I would like you to be free from concern.”
1 Corinthians 7:29-32
What an important and overlooked instruction for all of us today.
The time is short. It was short for our brothers in the 1st century, and it is short for you and me in the 21st century. We have a very brief time in which to do the work of Christ on the earth, and then we pass into eternity with Him.
Where does our passion lie? Is it with the “dailies”? Those myriad of concerns we busy ourselves with? Our husbands, wives, children, our jobs and careers, our health, our jobs and careers, the things we buy or sell, the things that will crumble into dust or become someone else’s property as soon as you and I depart this temporary shell of a body?
Where does our treasure lie? Is it in the paycheck we receive each week, every two weeks, each month? The government check that covers the bills? The investments we’ve carefully planned? The house we’ve bought and spent so many loving hours caring for and keeping clean? The cars we’ve got in the driveway? The schools our children attend?
Where does our heart reside? In this world that is passing away? With our friends and biological families, our neighborhood, community, even our earthly nation?
Many of us, probably all of us, can answer yes to these pointed questions, squirming uncomfortably in our chairs, and reluctantly admitting to having affairs of the heart to some extent with this world.
Paul was giving us a powerful lesson in a few short sentences here.
If we want to be free from concern, and to live without fear, then we must live with less, and learn to hold loosely onto what we do have.
The man or woman of God is married to Christ first, and so Christ must have our primary attention and allegiance, not our spouse. We belong to Christ, bought and paid for, and our bondservant’s heart must cling to Him first. We must always obey Him above all others. We must always cling to Him before earthly love, money, possessions, family, and even national heritage.
Too many of us get up in the morning and set about a busy schedule fulfilling the expectations of a dying world.
We’ve been taught that we are to please our earthly “masters”, such as job, or education, or money, or family, or taking care of our possessions, or….whatever controls your actions is your master. You are a slave to whatever determines your decisions.
Christ would have us take back the ownership issue and put it in His hands. As I brought out in another recent teaching, Christ came to bring fire and division on earth, not peace, according to His stated Word. This means, in reality, that many today who are living to please others would experience instant heat and displeasure from the world if they were to start living as if Christ were Lord, not only of them, but of this world.
I see this as my challenge. To live wholly in Christ, to let Christ live wholly in me, and to let go of my “clinging” nature that wants to have a smooth, peaceful, earthly existence. To let the dynamic and fearless Spirit of God fill me, and to become that strong rock, that shadow in a weary land, that powerful warrior in Christ He wants me to be.
Witness Christ, and His earthly family. He had to ignore their opinions regularly, because they didn’t believe in Him. He still took care of them, and loved them, but didn’t let them come between Him and work the Father had for Him to do. So we must love and take care of our families and be a positive influence and friend to our co-workers, our neighbors, and all those God brings to us. Yet in the end, some will hate us, as they hated and turned on the Lord Jesus, and try to throw us off cliffs, or get us crucified.
We belong to Christ, and His work, the work the Father gives Him, is our work. He will order our days, and He will be Lord of the details for us. We must obey Him first, and stop trying to please men, or women, or children, first. Christ is first, and then all others.
Because if we don’t show them Christ, and His love, and His priorities in this life, then we have led them by example down the wrong path, and instead have become their enemies, though they will love us in this life for that bad decision.
Remember, the time is short. Live lightly on this earth, and you will be like a deer on the mountains, walking and leaping and praising God, having concern for only His Kingdom, as He takes care of you and yours, and gives you the strength to work and love in this world.
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