Thursday, September 17, 2009

Devotional - Of Pride and Prejudice

Good morning my friends, and what a wonderful morning it is. Another gift from our Father to enjoy freely. It is good to remember today that just as we have freely received we should freely give. Let's see what happens today by living that spiritual law. Meanwhile, we are continuing with Galatians 3.

Our North American society prides itself in its attitude of equality for all its citizens. But most of us know and have experienced the real truth, that certain groups of people are more equal than others. As much as our laws protect individual rights it still comes down to the attitude of individuals in society. Everyone has their prejudices, which is sad and can make for some very difficult situations at times. Fear is the biggest motivation for prejudice. We fear the unknown.

I wish I could say that the Church was different. It should be. But what God has intended is not always the reality of our experience because individuals and groups put self ahead of the Scriptures. The Church is a spiritual thing that impacts people in the mind, spirit and body so our understanding of equality in Christ should be impacting every member of the Body. God's heart on equality of his children is plan to know and understand:

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. vs. 26-29

This cannot be argued with. Our Father says that we have all come into the family the same way and are thus all one. We are all Abraham's seed due to Jesus and are all heirs of the same promise. We are all equal in relationship. There is no one loved more than another. He loves us all equally. There is not one more favoured than another, he favours us all equally. However, we have all been called into different works and different service but even in that there is equality:

The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. (1 Corinthians 12:21-25)

Our relationship with the Father is equal, our calling is different, but the importance of what we do in the Kingdom is equal. The only mention in Scripture about treating anyone with special honour is concerning those that have responsibility to train us spiritually:

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages." (1 Timothy 5:17-18)

This would be in the same sense that we are to honor our parents, not that elders are parents, but they are responsible for training us so we can reach spiritual maturity. But these individuals also have to give a greater accounting for themselves as well. Keep in mind this calling is given by the Spirit and is not determined by any man or any board. We are called by the Spirit, each one of us, according to the will of the Father.

The point here is that we are not as spiritually minded as we think in the Church. We still struggle with the flesh according to the prejudices that we have grown up with. This is one of the reasons Scripture tells us to work out our salvation daily. It would be a good exercise to reflect on this, write down your prejudices (being very honest with yourself) and then confess each one to the Father. Then ask that the Spirit would change you in these things to be like Jesus in his attitude toward people. He loves us all equally and we need to do the same, giving special attention to our enemies. Let us freely love as he has freely loved us.

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