January 27, 2010

To live is Christ — means swapping jewels

Understanding God’s Word has been compared to mining for precious gems. Sometimes they are found lying on the surface. Sometimes they are uncovered by a few turns of a shovel. But the deepest and richest veins are found by digging deep below the surface. This means more sweat, but produces greater rewards.

I look at the assigned verse for these few days of devotional readings with that comparison in mind. It seems straightforward yet can I find more if I dig a bit deeper?

And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them. (Nehemiah 8:12)
The ideas seem fairly simple. The people had dined on the Word of God and left the meeting spiritually nourished. They celebrated their spiritual feast by having a physical one in their own homes with their families. They also sent food to others so they could celebrate with their families too.

Yesterday I saw that this was the opposite of having “roast preacher” for Sunday dinner. If my heart is open, God will speak to me regardless of the skill of the messenger. Also, understanding God’s Word is exciting. As today’s reading expresses it, any time He speaks to my heart and uses His Word to change my life, that is party time!

The next point made in the devotional guide is also important; celebrating a spiritual victory should be a family affair. To me, family here means the family of God.

Why should I share my spiritual insights with other Christians? Because life is tough and all of us so easily lose sight of the big picture. Besides that, sometimes we struggle in our mining skills, drop or lose our shovels, or get so caught up in our experiences and trials that we cannot even look for gems, never mind find them.

Another reason is that God’s family members tend to have short memories. We need to remind one another of the past blessings of God. We need constant assurance of His love and care for us. We need each other to live our Christian lives to the full.

Maybe God made us that way, but sin is certainly a big part of the reason for our neediness. I stumble easily. Doubt is often quicker than faith, fear quicker than trust.

When someone shares a spiritual insight with me, my sin might make me envious or resentful, blocking God’s blessing. However, most often their story nourishes my spirit. The Holy Spirit within me also rejoices at their discovery and I feel His joy. When that joy is shared in the family, even without the addition of food, it feels like a party!

To live is Christ
means remembering that I do not live for myself. I live for God AND for His people. When He blesses them with new insights, I need to rejoice and party with them. When He blesses me in the same way, others need to hear it. We are in this together and need one another. Burden bearing is part of it, but so also is the sharing of gems.

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