Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Truth, Love, & the Incarnation

Truth & Love are the two pillars of every relationship. Beyond the overwhelming quantity of Scripture on this couplet from Yahweh's OT judgment & blessing to Christ's two-fold glory (John 1:14), God provides a number of symbols that teach them as well. For example, God created us as relational beings to give & receive love, but made us dependent on the light, the biblical symbol of truth. The genders illustrate this couplet in that the strong man feels compelled to be respected (a truth reaction) while the relational woman feels compelled to be loved (Eph 5:33). God demonstrated His character of truth (judgment, holiness, etc.) in the Old Testament & then displayed His love (grace, peace, reconciliation, etc.) in the New. I know I'm oversimplifying all this, but you get the idea... Truth & Love.

Fear, honor, respect, hope... These are the terms of Truth. Grace, kindness, passion, mercy... These the terms of Love. And Faith unites the two. (Paul made the connection in his frequent "faith, hope, love" triad.) This is key to finding & living the plan & person of God. Here's why...

Truth is the standard of normality. It is the REAL. The intended shaper of our Loves. Our awareness, perspective, priorities, choices, & lifestyle only bear eternal substance when they conform to the standard of Truth. And what's more, Truth is embodied & explained in the person of Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; & thru His Holy Spirit, "we have the mind of Christ". He is our Original, our Standard by which we are measured & to which we are to be conformed. His life is our destination. Our Loves in this mortal life are purified by Jesus, our Truth (1 Pt 1:22). This is important because our Loves build our lives (Mt 6:21).

The incarnate Jesus, our Truth, our 2nd Adam & example of humanity, Loved to dialogue with the Father, disciple people, build the team, spread compassion, heal the sick & cast out demons by faith, fight for holiness, & build loving relationships with all kinds of people. So here's the key question: How do we measure up to that True Standard? Do we love to dialogue with the Father? ...disciple others? ...build the team? ...spread compassion? ...heal the sick & cast out demons by faith? ...fight for holiness? ...build loving relationships with all kinds of people?

We've been fooled into thinking that being "Christ-like" is about morality; but Jesus didn't model a life of mere ethics. He had supernatural insight into hidden realities, words that were transformational, power to heal the sick & raise the dead & cast out demons, & much more! It was all part of the natural life He was living & modeling for us. It was all part of the life the first generation disciples imitated. If you hear me saying that we're supposed to be casting out demons, healing the sick, & raising the dead by faith - along with all the rest - then I'm saying it right.

We've strayed from God's design. We've given up on that life. We subconsciously feel like we're past past the era of the Stephens & Phillips & Pauls & Francis of Assissi's & Charles Finneys & George Whitefields & D.L. Moodys & Billy Grahams. We live as though we are relegated some odd age devoid of the miraculous realities explained to us in the Incarnation; & in so doing, we unintentionally deny the Incarnation itself.

Incarnation is about Jesus taking on humanity & living out a human life exactly as God intended us to live. That's what allows Him to be our substitutionary sacrifice. He had all our limitations, all our weaknesses, all our temptations... & He lived through it all without incurring guilt. Galatians 2:20 says the incarnational life of Jesus is a real possibility for all of us. Yes, Jesus can live that same life through us... miracles & all. That's what Incarnation is all about... Jesus making a Way to the Truth of Life.

Here's where I'm at... Christ began His miraculous ministry with 40 days of resisting sin & self & embracing God thru prayer. So I've begun praying, fasting, & taking my fight against sin more seriously to follow His example. In addition, I'm aiming at an extended fast from January 1-6 & would like to invite anyone feeling so inclined to seek this new outpouring of God's Spirit to join with me in this 6 day fast. The fast ends with the Day of Epiphany. Do a little research & I think you'll see why it's an appropriate time to do this.

Life & peace in Christ our All.

1 comment:

John Lynch said...

Dave Mc. got me started on this line of thought &, Dave, as you can see, I'm sold. I believe & I think I can see the path... Jesus says, "If you abide in Me & My Word abides in you, ask whatever you wish, & it will be given you."

Really denying sin & self & embracing deep prayer & the implanted Word leads to the kind of open-flow unity with Christ that allows God to catalyze the POWER of FAITH in our lives & ministries. A little "devotion time" here & there along with a life full of "mistakes" is far from Christ's clear command. I'm ready to be a zealot.

Just as I can no longer be satisfied with the limitations of institutionalized religion, so can I no longer be satisfied with a powerless faith experience. I want us all to have what Jesus instructs us to have.