Thought for Today
“By Faith Moses… choosing and
Esteeming the reproach of the Christ
greater riches than the treasures in Egypt,
for he had respect unto the
recompense of the reward”
Our estimation of Christ is revealed in the life we live. The previous verses describe what Moses did, this verse tells us why he did what he did. What people do (not what they say) reveals their true life and the motivations of their heart.
Moses forsook Egypt though he found himself a part of the Egyptian Royal Family to a life of luxury and comfort. The scripture tells us he “choose” to suffer with God’s people rather than to enjoy the “pleasures of sin”. How little emphasis is put upon the choices we make daily in terms of our walk with God.
“…choose you this day whom ye will serve”
Joshua put forward his admonition to the people of God in his day; “Choose you this day”. The life of a true Christian is revealed in the everyday walk. It is expressed in the choices and the decisions we make. God Himself is the witness to our everyday conduct. He sees the hidden thoughts, the agendas and the intentions behind all of our actions and words. They who know and walk in the abiding sense of His presence are ever aware of His eyes being upon them. They who are insensitive to these things walk in the foolishness of this world.
The ever present word of God to us all…
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you,
that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing:
therefore, choose life…”
“Oh my soul you have said to Jehovah,
You are my Lord; My goodness is nothing apart from you”
True righteousness in the life of the individual believer is always His Righteousness. It is as real as He is for within the power of true faith there is a laying hold of His Life. Faith is not an ethereal or make believe thing; it is the living conduit by which the Life of the Son becomes ours. The branch does not “pretend” to draw in the life of the vine. It does not try to put forth a good show of imitating what the life of the vine might look like; it lives by the unconscious daily ministration of that life.
In the religious world today we have many kinds of “righteousness”, from the declared judicial righteousness to the rigorous and strict self-made righteousness on either end of the spectrum. The declared one is generally filled with apathy, contradiction and carelessness. The self-made, strict one is filled with striving, contradiction and varying degrees of pride and condemnation. Both these extremes will, in some form or another, be part of the journey of a true believer. However as we grow in Him we begin to discover the need for a true and lasting power to sustain a righteousness that is no longer made up of smoke and mirrors or of self striving. The sincere heart begins to search out the true source of real righteousness with an unfeigned display of genuine life.
True Righteousness is a relationship with Christ. It is not a doctrinal position (though the initial steps of a child of God start there); it is as vital as the branch abiding in the vine. Only a real relationship with Him can bring forth a real righteousness. Within this relationship there is a continual current of interaction between the parties involved. Jesus Christ the vine pouring into us the power, substance and desire for righteousness, and we the branch receiving from this flow the divine enablement to embrace the cross and make the received righteousness a living reality. It is in this precious outworking of life that we grow into His Righteousness by the wonder of a living faith. Paul declares in the book of Roman’s…
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,
for it is the power of God to salvation
to everyone believing both to Jew first, and to Greek;
for in it the righteousness of God is revealed
from faith to faith; even as it has been written,
“But the just shall live by faith”
It is clear that the Gospel of Christ (not men) produces a revelation of the righteousness of God from faith to faith. A life that is not expressing a growth in righteousness is not living in the Gospel of Christ! When men teach another gospel, one that leaves out the cross of Christ, the result is an impotent and powerless message in which victory over sin is preached but never realized. We can grow into the realization of a life energized and sustained by the living Christ or we can settle for a form of righteousness which is devoid of any real and lasting vitality. Faith is the medium and His Righteousness is the crowning jewel of His work in us.
“For me to live IS Christ…”
TO MAKE US STRONG
“Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me,
Write: for these words are true and faithful”
Whatever our lot, our circumstances and our present day experiences, let the promise of God ring within our hearts. “Behold, I make all things NEW…” is the hope that we have and the surety of things to come. The weariness of the way, the shallowness of much of what we hear and see today, must and will give way to the WILL and PURPOSE of God. Things will not remain the same. We have this promise from a God who cannot lie; the God who paid for the NEW by the very sacrifice and death of His own Son. This is not an idle religious promise by which we try to encourage ourselves. Rather it is a living hope that beats within our hearts; a hope founded and sustained by a living faith. A faith that is the very substance of the hope we have and the things that we do not see…
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen”
We sense the eternal heartbeat of a longing and a cry that resides within our own hearts; a yearning for something greater, deeper and fuller. This same call of the eternal resonated in the lives of all those who longed for a City whose builder and maker is GOD. Abraham did not look for an earthly city, his eyes were not upon some sliver of land; his hope was higher. He “looked for a City… whose builder and maker is GOD”!
Shall not we, who are the true offspring of Abraham (Gal. 3:7), have that same living hope pressing us on to stay the course, to run the race with the same Holy zeal and the same faithfulness of spirit and trust in a God whose name is “faithful and true”?
Let us even today allow the hope and vitality of the promise of God that speaks of a “New heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness” be the anchor in our daily life.
“Live in the presence of God and you too will have the eyes of Abraham.
Eyes that are always alert to the unexpected.
Eyes that see God’s actions in petty annoyances and even in tragedies.
Eyes that trust.
And eyes that continue seeking
whenever they are tempted to turn inwards”
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation;
for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life
which the Lord has promised to those who love Him”
Temptation is neither a sin nor a sign of carnality. It is the everyday reality for all men. The issue is not temptation but the response to it within our heart that matters. It is through enduring and resisting temptation that the victory of the Crown of Life is received. Where there is no battle there can be no crown. The crown of life spoken of here is given to those who by the mercy of our Lord and Saviour have fought the fierce battles that wage in the secret places of our hearts and minds, often while no one is watching. They have known the utter weakness of the flesh, the deceitfulness of their own heart and the pressure that comes to bear upon them in their walk of faith. Left to ourselves the outcome would be certain and the end of the matter sure.
“But thanks be to God,
who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”
I CORINTHIANS 15:57
The Glory of this life of Faith in Christ Jesus is that we are not left to ourselves in the matter of overcoming sin. We are not orphans that are left to our own resources in this matter, nor are we to labour under the rigorous requirements of the Law by our own strength! We have available to us the wonder and the glory of “…the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death!” It is through HIM that we are made “more than conquerors”. In Him we are not only freed from the power of Sin but are indeed made alive that we can walk in the very Spirit of His Life and provision. Such things are not known by simply taking thought. These virtues of His Life are won in the arena of this life. It is the Crown of His life that we receive as we overcome and endure the hardships of temptation and trial. It is in these places that we learn the secrets of dependence and victory; the sufficiency of His Grace in contrast to our weakness; the discovery that “love endures ALL things”; that He is “…able to keep us from stumbling”.
These victories are to be known in the life of every believer. We not only have His rich provision for the victory but even in the midst of defeats and discouragements we have the assurance of forgiveness and mercy to rise up from every one of them and press the battle until the victory has been received.
“For a righteous man may fall seven times
and rises again”
The life of the Christian is more than forgiveness, more than mere religious sayings and nice sermons; it is a life of pursuit, of victory and of overcoming as He overcame. It is in growing in Him, learning of Him and discovering the absolute necessity of abiding in Him that we find the wonder of His provision and mercy.
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.
And this is the victory that has overcome the world even your faith.”
I JOHN 5:4
“By faith we understand…”
Faith is the means by which we see and understand the purposes of God. For faith IS the substance of the thing hoped for. It is the deposit of that which is not seen. In order for us to see these things FAITH becomes not only our eyesight but in itself is the very SUBSTANCE of the thing that we see and hope for. The reason we see so little understanding in our DAY, the reason that there is so little VISION and PURPOSE in our DAY, is because we are living in a time when FAITH has very little to do with the everyday life of the average believer. We hear much, yet we see so little in the expression of a dynamic living FAITH gripping the hearts of His own. We see little in terms of a personal faith being expressed in unique ministrations of the life of the Son from member to member. We have succumbed to a faith that is in word only; a “faith” that is not producing His Likeness and His Righteousness in our everyday life. We have settled for a righteousness that is by doctrine rather than a Righteousness that is the product of a living faith ABLE to bring forth a REAL RIGHTEOUSNESS that this world can see.
“Little children, let no man deceive you:
he that DOETH righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous”
I John 3:7
By FAITH we understand that this is true and that by His Faith living and growing within these things are possible to all who believe. Faith lays hold of such truths and produces within us the seeking (seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness), and the doing. By FAITH we UNDERSTAND that these things that are declared in His Word are to become our living experience.
The very Word of God without FAITH will remain a religious document, a historical narrative about something from a distant era, an outdated book that has no real relevance for today. That same Word when viewed through the eyes of one in whose heart FAITH is alive and well pulsates with LIFE, HIS LIFE. It reveals mysteries and glimpses into the very wonder and glory of God. It draws a man into a quest and a life of pursuit of the RISEN CHRIST; for BY FAITH it breathes into our hearts the “substance of things hoped for and the EVIDENCE of things not seen”. Such things cannot be held with the intellect. They are only ours through the operation of a living, breathing FAITH!
For one to look into the Word of God and believe it one must first KNOW that it is TRUE and that whatever is written therein is for us in Christ Jesus. This can only be when we see it through the eyes of FAITH.
“BY FAITH WE UNDERSTAND…”
“Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable,
and receives the impossible”
Corrie ten Boom (1892–1983)