March 30, 2007

His turn is coming

When some family and friends ask about the dramatic change in our granddaughter, I’m freely able to tell them that just saying the name of Jesus set her free from emotional bondage. (She is not yet professing faith, but she is no longer depressed and suicidal.)

With others I don’t feel the same freedom. For a while, I felt guilty that I was not sharing the power of Christ or glorifying Him with what has happened, but at the same time tried to be very careful not to misplace the credit elsewhere. Then God reminded me that it is not wise to “cast pearls before swine” and even though I cringe at that figure of speech, I know that a few people in our family would simply scoff, not glorify the Lord.

In fact, some of them think Christians, including me and maybe especially me, are foolish and weak, mere nothings in their scale of who is important. What we believe is put down, and one of them has called our faith “crazy” and of no value.

This morning my reading is at the end of 1 Corinthians 1, and a passage that used to bother me. I didn’t want to be included among the people that it describes. Now, I know that I am, and instead of feeling put down, these words are a blessing and a comfort:

“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, 'He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.'”

Whenever I am considered foolish, weak, base, and nothing, even by my own family, these thoughts ought to come to mind. It is of no consequence what people think—God chose me to be His child. He uses me to do His will, and allows me to share in His work, but the best part is that I can honestly glorify Him for all that He does and is doing.

The world’s wise wouldn’t do that. They would take all the credit because they cannot help it. This is the way of the world. The mighty boast in their strength, the wise in their wisdom, the wealthy in their bank account, and so on. Those who think this way (and I used to also) forget or ignore that all they have and do will pass away. Whatever a person takes pride in, from good looks to good marks, from high wages to a fancy house, from being quick with their tongue to the ability to manipulate others, all that will fade away. Only eternal things last.

Last week someone called me a name, in the same breath giving me credit for something Jesus did. I felt that person’s disdain toward me, and was surprised at my reaction; I smiled. I even thought of 1 Corinthians and how God says the world will react to His people.

Sure, there’s a bit of a sting to being called a name, and a bigger hesitation to think “swine” about the person who said it, but more than those things, I refuse even the most reluctant attempt to glorify me from anyone, especially a person who scoffs at Jesus and refuses to give Him credit for anything.

The psalmist says that the kings of the earth mock God, but God isn’t concerned. In fact, “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh.” He has set His Son over all, and the fact of His lordship is established. It doesn’t matter that they refuse to acknowledge Him right now, because someday, “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow . . . and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the God the Father” whether they do it willingly or not.

So while I don’t like being despised or thought foolish—no matter. What’s more important is what people think of Jesus, and if they don’t honor Him now, the Bible assures me that His turn is coming!

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