Closing my eyes I allow my mind to take me into a picture of the heavenly vision that John had, which he recorded in Revelation 4. The multitude of worshipers, the cherubim, but most of all the figure dominating everything, The Lamb that was slain, the Lion of Judah. Shining so brightly that no-one could look at it, a figure so beautiful no-one can describe it.
“Let your life be influenced by that and fill your mind with what is good, admirable, of good repute etc and overflow in rejoicing in WHO I AM – Elohim, Jehovah, Jesus, The Holy Spirit! Focus on that and not on the “what if’s” of your everyday uncertainty – so that you can rejoice in Me and be filled with thanksgiving. So live your life in that light – moment by moment, making your decisions, led by the Spirit – with the underlying sense of joy because of my relationship with you”.
I am reminded again of the joy of my conversion at Noordhoek, where my eyes, my mouth and my heart were filled with the word Jesus. Its been a journey, with many deviations, obstacles and joys, which I would not have missed for anything.
Reading Luke 6: 30 -39. I have come to the middle of the “sermon on the plain” which is Luke’s parallel to Matthew’s “sermon on the mount.” These verses have a common theme which is summarized in vs 31 “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. In other words live your life in an “other people centered way”. the section is bracketed by the vv 29,30 on the one side and 38 on the other and shows us that the basic attitude of the Christian life towards others is one of ultimate generosity which governs how we treat them, whether brothers or sisters, or even our enemies.
I know that the immediate thought that goes through every person’s mind is “that is impossible, a bar too high to be leaped”. In ordinary terms that is oh so true, that is why we must understand that this can only be achieved supernaturally and that is why it is such a good witness as the true fruit of one who is really converted. I have so often seen the change in people who are converted when they become gentle and generous. So it has led me to say on numerous occasions the first sign of true Christianity is when a person’s wallet is also converted. But you know what? The promise in vs 38 is “Give and it will be given unto you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use, it will be measured unto you”
This is the motivation behind the instruction, yet not the reason for one’s generosity. The reason for generosity is because of Jesus’ huge generosity through His grace to us. I can testify that I have been the recipient of many other’s generosity, especially now when I am vulnerable and weak, which proves to me that promise to be true. Friends, no-one can pretend this. This comes out of a heart that has been truly softened, by Jesus and His gospel and can only be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit.
When I attended the camp at Noordhoek where I was converted, one of the first words that struck me was the word for “power”. The speaker started his talk with a comment on the passage in Acts where Jesus says; “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you”. I remember Him saying the word for power in Greek is “dunamis”, from which comes the word dynamite. That really made me sit up. Well, the gist of his teaching was to do with being able to do miracles. While I now believe that miracles still happen today, the much more common need for power by the ordinary Christian is simply to live the gospel life effectively. When we think that Jesus’ instructions are impossible, we know that we need that gospel power to live it fully, from the heart.
For me today: The passage was a fresh reminder of the all encompassing other-person centered lifestyle that is expected of me. But wow, praise the Lord He has made it possible through the life-giving power of His Holy Spirit! I must just do it.
To God be all the glory.
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- Tongues of Fire Herald the Arrival of the Holy Spirit.
- More on Love and Wisdom.
- Fruit of the Spirit
- Give the Lord no rest from your Prayers.
- What Makes us Rich?
- Crucified with Christ.
- A Saviour King.
- Presenting Jesus to Intellectual Pagans.