Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Sober Look at Ourselves

Who will be the greatest in heaven? Who is greatest in the Church?  Mankind always wants to know their place. Why? We are so important to ourselves that the worth of others is weighed against how much we love ourselves. (Matt 22:39). Each has their own measure of faith, but it is not of himself, but a gift of God. What faith we have is because of God's grace. Paul pointed this out:
Romans 12:3 "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."
Essentially, Paul in verse 5 likens the church as if it is a great gear which should drive Christ. The Church is many, and each Christian is a cog. However, one cog is no greater than another, albeit each cog is important. I use this analogy so that each reader thinks soberly about his own position in the Church as Paul implored. For myself, I value each of you cogs, recognize the importance of my own existence, but understand that I am not great in the Church, although I am in God's eyes. What makes one great to God? Recognizing their own status.

I am presently writing a book called The Autobiography of a Nobody. As the title implies, it's about me. I am a nobody and take comfort that I am not great. Whatever legacy that I leave, my desire is that it point to Christ. If I was to write a true autobiography, it would not point to my humble life, but toward my many sins. That book would be massive!  Rest assured, I know that you know that you know that I am a sinner. God does too. I don't deny it. Why? I look at my own life soberly, nd realize it is only by grace that I shall be saved.

Whatever it is that I do for the Lord, must be for Him. Of course, I desire remembrance after I die, but recognize that it is of no importance for my own esteem, but of great importance for later generations to know Christ as taught by the Bible. I'm glad that my gift is understanding - the discernment of truth. Truth knouts at my back continually with the most swift lashes. I do know the face of Truth, and He convicts me of my wrongdoing. Rather than Truth espousing my greatness, He points to the icon of my lowness - to the dust will I return!

I know my place. My value is little, for as I came from the dust, to the dust is my destiny. Of course, I'm speaking of my body. However, any greatness that I have was bestowed upon me by my Creator. My soul has value. That's is why the sub-title to my book is: The Biography of Somebody. As I tell my own story, I am nobody. I know my value. But as God tells it, I am somebody because he made me that way! Only because I am a spiritual being is why I have value. My calling is to remember that. That is a chilling, but sober look at my own worth.

My own spiritual worth is no more than my fellow Christians. All our faith was a gift of God. If I got any more faith than another, it was because God was more generous with me.  Why would He do that? Although faith is a gift, look at it as a seed. God planted that seed in all his followers. All of us together are to make a beautiful garden, if you follow, in the manner of the one in Eden. Each of us are to work to make our faith grow such that the Garden of God, the Church, is beautiful for God. In effect, none are better than others. All mankind was created to tend the Garden:
Genesis 2:15 "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it."
This passage makes sense only of one looks at the subject at hand. From the preceding passages in Genesis 2, the Tree of Life was at the center of the Garden. That Tree is God, and the portion that Adam saw was the Messiah. Adam was one of the other trees, not in the center of the Garden, but around the Tree of Life. He and Eve were human representatives of those peripheral trees, and with multiplication, there would soon be more!

The Tree in the midst of the Garden and the outlying trees were God and his people. As such, "to dress it and keep it" was the Greatest Commandment and the one like unto it: love others as thyself.

Adam loved his Creator. God is his Father. When he sinned, he disappointed his Father, and was ashamed. By sinning, Adam loved himself more than God. He failed to tend the Tree in the midst of the Garden by eating the fruit of the other tree. Adam failed to tend the Garden because he shirked his responsibility to others as he failed to teach Eve obedience to God. God had assigned him dominion over the serpent (Gen. 1:26), yet there was Eve attempting to have that dominion.

Now, if we move forward again to Roman times, Paul warns the Romans to not be as the Jews nor as Adam and Eve. The Jews had degrees of importance. They always had! It was inherited from Adam. However, it should be clear by now that each person has the same role in the Church. We all are to attend God in the center of it, and be servants to others! This look at Adam and Eve was looking at ourselves soberly. In the Garden, it was God and others who were of importance, and not man himself, although God created man with self-love.

Self-love was endowed so that mankind would desire eternal life. In order to obtain eternal longevity, we all needed a metric to create that desire. God gave us each the love of self by grace, but it was to be put in perspective. We could love ourselves, limited by how much we love others, but never more than how much we love God. Since God is in the midst of the Garden, it is He Who deserves our love. The love that we can have for ourselves must be with a sober mind - we are dust to the world but gold to God. We are nobodies in the world but somebodies in the kingdom of God. Why then, should we place our selves over others when we all are the same in God's eyes? We all need to take that sober look at our own worth - we are only what we are by grace!

As a postlude, we should soberly examine why we seek salvation. Because we love ourselves so much, we seek eternal life so that our other god can live forever. Ironically, our god of self can only be saved by the One True God, and being born-gain is when we submit our own godhood for God.

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