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Posts Tagged ‘new man’

When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled.  “Where have you put him?” he asked them.

They told him, “Lord, come and see.”  Then Jesus wept.  The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!”  But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”

Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance.  “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.

But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”

Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?”  So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me.  You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.”  Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!”  And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”  John 11:33-44

Oh Boy!  So much here to talk about.  I haven’t even read my study notes yet, but maybe after I’m done talking, I’ll read through them and type some in if I feel led to do so.

First, one of the most infamous verses, “Jesus wept.”  As speculation goes, what was Jesus weeping for?  Was He weeping for Lazarus, for the mourner’s unbelief, for their being self-absorbed or because He genuinely grieved with them?  I don’t have the answer.  The bottom line is that He showed that He cared.  Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.  Romans 12:15 

Think about it, if the God of heaven, in the form of His earth bound Son, wept for a dead man and the mourners surrounding him, don’t you think that that same God in heaven now would weep with and for us?  What I’m getting at is that God has feelings.  To think about it, you wouldn’t necessarily attribute feelings to an all powerful, all seeing God, even though all through scripture God’s feelings are exposed.  (for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.  Exodus 20:5  God is love.  1 John 4:8  “Why are you so angry with your own people whom you brought from the land of Egypt with such great power and such a strong hand?”  Exodus 32:11 etc.)  But really, do we not laugh at the antics of our small children?  Is God not our Father?  Would He not laugh at our antics?  Would he not hurt when we hurt, would He not rejoice when we rejoice. 

If we are created in His image, would that not include His Spirit, His emotions, His reasoning?  Just because we aren’t perfect, doesn’t mean we weren’t created to be like Him.  God weeps.  God laughs.  God feels just like you and me, but deeper, more passionately than we ever could because He has all knowledge and understanding.  He is complete, we are not.

Yes, Jesus wept.  He felt sad and hurt, upset at His friends demise and the relatives grief.  And because of all the scriptures throughout the bible describing God’s emotions, I know that He understands the depths of mine.  I know that He knows what I’m going through, whenever and wherever I am.  I know that only He has the answer to see me through both the highs and lows of life.  All because He wept

There’s other thing that I want to talk about today and that was Jesus’ prayer…  “Father, thank you for hearing me.  You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.”  (emphasis added)  Just this morning, before opening my bible to read, I admit, I was grumbling and complaining to God.  I told Him, “I don’t understand why you have given me such convictions/beliefs.  They are burdensome.”  I then laughed at myself and thought, you’re such a fool.  But, God gently reprimanded me with today’s scripture passage.

God never promised that living for Him would be easy, He only promised that He would be there with us.  I’ve been down and out lately because everything that I have believed has seemed to be all for nothing.  I just don’t care anymore because I’ve been told in similar words to these that, “my walk isn’t adding up to my beliefs.”  That is quite a let down, especially when it comes from someone that should be affected the most by the way that I live, my husband.  Sure, he said it in an argument over the weekend, but it is nonetheless deflating.  I have tried so hard to live out my life according to my convictions.  And it seems that it has all been in vain.  I have been really depressed and not wanting to keep going if it isn’t affecting anyone…

Well, this morning, I was grumbling because someone new found something that I wrote in the middle of March, the 18th I think, and any time someone leaves a comment from a past post, I always take the time to re-read what I wrote and then leave a comment back to that person.  The title that day was…Commit everything you do to the Lord…and what I wrote was a reminder that I have given my life to God and He can used my life however He chooses.  Then, Jesus’ own words in the passage today was also a reminder, I don’t live for myself, I live for Jesus, for others…even if it doesn’t seem to be “working.” 

Jesus, perfect, never any sin found within Him, yet, these people still stood in disbelief, grieving their lost loved one.  Why should it be any different for me, a sinner?  Jesus kept focused on God’s plan, not His own thoughts and feelings.  Jesus, as Paul exhorts us, kept His sights on the prize of the high calling…so should I.  I may feel defeated, but it is God’s interest I need to realign my energies to.  I may feel deflated, but it is God’s work I should focus on.  If no one ever recognizes my achievements in my spiritual life, it doesn’t matter how man judges me, only God, but I must always remember that regardless of people’s opinion of my right living, God can and will use my life for His purposes.  God works for one thing and that is to glorify and honor His Holy Name. 

So, though I seemingly and apparently fail in my daily walk, I must still strive to walk in the light of my convictions, not for my benefit, but for the benefit of others, that they have the possibility of believing.  It is their choice to act upon it, I’m just called to do what I must, I’m not responsible for how they react.

And finally, I’ll leave you to ponder the huge symbolism with Jesus last words in this passage, “Unwrap him and let him go!”  We all can read that Jesus was talking about the grave clothes, but what about symbolism?  When we die to self, we are born again and become new creatures in Christ.  I think I’ll just paste in Paul’s words because he says it so much better…

Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?  Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?  Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?  For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.  We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.  For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.  And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.  We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.  When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God.  So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.  Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.  Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.

Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not!  Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.  Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you.  Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.  Romans 6:1-18

I couldn’t just “break in” anywhere, I had to paste the whole bit of it.  So, in my own life, what does this mean?  I wasn’t raised to be a submissive wife.  I was raised to be independent and to take care of myself and my own business.  I was raised with the belief that “if I wanted something done, I needed to do it myself.”  Depending on a man was not encouraged, not because of outright rebellion, but because of all the pain and hurt that I’d seen the women in my life undergo.  I remember making very conscious decisions not to end up like all the women in my life…

So, living under the convictions of scripture is completely contrary to how I believed before.  AND it is extremely hard.  AND I often fail.  Yet, I must throw off the grave-clothes of sin and live in the newness of life and of light so that God’s glory will shine through.  This especially means I must do this in the area of my marriage and with my husband.  There is where the biggest change can be seen in me of the “new life” that I lead.  The old man is gone, the new one is with Christ.

Anyway, I leave you to ponder these scriptures…

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.  Psalm 139:23-24

May God provide the increase.

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