Today's Reading: Samuel 4, 5, 6; Luke 18:1-23
Good morning my friends,
Have you noticed some of the weird uses of crosses these days? I still find it odd that some people choose to use it as jewelry, wearing it as a necklace or as ear rings. I have also seen it in piercings and tattoos. People even use it as a means of decoration. Often it is used in the form of a lucky charm, something that will bring good fortune and success. It is not unlike how the Israelites treated the Arc of the Covenant as they went to war.
The Israelites were losing in a big way and they new they needed something extra. They should have inquired of the Lord. They should have prayed. The should have sought direction. Instead they looked for a short cut. They looked for something that would not require a relationship. They wanted success without a personal cost to themselves. A relationship with God requires a personal cost of commitment and time in relationship building. What they wanted was a lucky charm that they could pull out whenever they wanted.
They looked to their past and remembered the success the nation had in the past. Instead of examining the "why" and discovering the relationship with God they instead focused on a symbol of that relationship. They brought in their "lucky charm" expecting it wold bring them victory they needed. It did not. They were completely defeated and even lost their "lucky charm".
Most of you can see whee I am gong with this. Most of us do not have a genuine relationship with God. Oh, we believe and we know he is present and he is watching, we just do not spend time with him. WE will sing worship songs to him. We will consider his instructions. We may even take the time to read a bit from the Word and say a hasty prayer, but we do not enter his presence and dance with him. WE do not allow him to embrace us and speak encouraging words to us and to renew us. We do not enter in because we are afraid of such intimacy because we will also have to confess our offenses. It is easier to carry a cross with us, or keep a Bible in line of sight. It is easier to rely on our "lucky charms" then to know our awesome God.
However, in John 15 Jesus made it perfectly clear that relationship with him requires an intimacy that goes deeper than anything we have ever experienced. He says "Remain in me and I will remain in you". We often speak about how Jesus resides in us through the Holy Spirit in us but Paul also teaches us that we reside in Jesus. Paul explains that when we accept Jesus we die; it is the only way to be separated from our sin nature. However, we cannot remain dead so we are then raised again but the only way that can happen is if we are raised in Jesus. It is like wearing clothes. We are clothed in Jesus Christ. So he is in us and we are in him. It is in this intimacy that we walk and talk with him every moment of the day, never being separated from him.
Our strength in Jesus Christ is not found in "lucky charms" but in relationship. Try it today. Take the time to enter into his presence; talk with him; dance with him; sing with him and feel your energy and hope renewed. Do not be afraid of intimacy with Jesus Christ; it is the only way we can truly know him and the true power he offers us.