"It is beyond comprehension that soldiers of the cross would be satisfied in retiring from the battle just before the trumpet blast of victory or just before admission to the coronation ceremony." This rich quote from John Piper aids me in setting the stage for my second thought on how I, as I reflect on my life, believe I can waste it. Last time, I noted that pursuing God should be my lifelong goal. Read with me a verse in Hosea 6:3- "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD..." Following on, running hard after is what the Psalmist was teaching in Ps. 63 when David said- "O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary. In one of my favorite chapter in Psalms, in 42, he writes- "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God."
Yes, I know that compared to the vast and immeasurable ocean of His glory and grace and power, it may look like I have a "thimble-size" grasp but I think it's not as important how much I know as it is how hard I am following on to know more of His heart and His love. From the same book of Philippians where Paul said that He was following on to know Him, I want to say secondly that I believe I can waste my life not only if I fail to pursue God but if I forget that my passion should be for Jesus Christ, God's Son, Very God Himself! All through Paul's writings, he emphasizes the Reason that he lives and in the first chapter of Philippians, we read that most familiar verse- "For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain." He reminds us in this chapter that his imprisonment is about Christ, that his rivals who preach out of envy are at any rate preaching Christ and he rejoices about that fact. And in verse 21, he shows that he has a "holy indifference" (Matthew Henry) regarding whether he stays on Planet Earth or leaves for Heaven because life isn't about him but about HIM!! If living glorifies HIM more, then he's ready to live and if by dying, Christ is glorified, then "beam me up, GOD!"
Danny and I watched the Passion of Christ a couple of weeks ago and parts of it were hard to watch as the Savior was ridiculed, mocked, scourged, spat upon, and ultimately crucified on a cruel and lonely cross and that film couldn't touch what really went on that day at Golgotha. I was reminded of His passion for doing the Father's will and dying for me, an unworthy wretch of a sinner. Yes, that is who I am, I don't buy into this pseudo gospel today which claims we are really good and a good environment will further breed that into us. That sounds good and soothes our already over- inflated egos but the Bible doesn't teach that, Saints. Paul saw himself as the chiefest of sinners and I believe that we all see ourselves as that too. It was for me that He died and how that love should constrain me to live passionately for Christ and His cause. We all are passionate about something. I don't use this illustration to criticize because lost and unenlightened souls live thus but when I see grown men sitting in bleachers in -10 degrees and snow falling all around them and their bare chests have their team logo on them, I understand that many are passionate about their sports teams. And, by the way, they endure those elements for 4-5 hours and pray for an overtime while we, as God's people, hope the worship service doesn't go over an hour. "Oh me", maybe we sigh.
There are many examples I could use today of people being passionate about many things and maybe will, God willing, next time but I will close with the thought-provoking challenge to search our hearts and see if our lives are summed up in Christ, if we live that others know that Jesus Christ is our Passion, that He is our Reason for living, our Hope while dying and our Everything in between.
Lord, may it be!