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Archive for March, 2013

Malachi Study

Here’s Part 2 of Malachi 1:1-5. Enjoy!

 

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In the 1st chapter of James there are at least 6 different words used to describe the one who does not allow their faith to be proven genuine by testing. James says in the beginning of the chapter that instead of allowing steadfastness to do its thing, this person DOUBTS. The meanings behind the Greek words used describe this person as: Straying. Wandering. Roaming about. Cheated. Deceived (by self). Deluded. Beguiled. Wavering. Uncertain. DIVIDED IN INTEREST. Unstable. Inconstant. Restless. SEPARATED. Withdrawn. Opposed (to truth). Hesitant. DESERTER.

I’ll tell you this much; I don’t want those words to describe me. They send a shiver down my spiritual spine. I don’t want to glory in my doubt. I don’t want to find pride and satisfaction in questioning my God. I don’t want to be a deserter of Christ because of doubt.

I want to hand any doubts over to the Master and Maker of Truth, and let Him do His thing with them. I want the wisdom He promises me, and I desperately, desperately want the crown of life He has ready waiting for me at the finish line. And for goodness sake, I want peace of soul as I go about my days here on earth! Not a restless spirit that wanders from one emotion to another! From one fad to another, or from one scholarly opinion to another. Good riddance to the world’s way of thinking, I say! A good casting-off of fear and doubt and worry is what I usually need.

No handing my doubt over (whatever it may be about), no letting go of it, no handing the burden I carry because of it off on to Christ’s shoulders, equals wandering, uncertainty, and a restless spirit. And, for me, a restless spirit usually lands me in a brand new pit of pride and whirlwinds of other sins.

The testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And LET STEADFASTNESS HAVE ITS FULL EFFECT, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:3-5)

The word for “testing” above in Greek is “dokimion.” I came across this word (and some of it’s derivitives) a few months ago. “Dokimion” is a test that proves one to be genuine; it is the proving itself. In fact, it is the proving of faith. It is the proving of genuine faith. And, even more specifically here, it’s the tested proving and the approval of God Himself.

I don’t think I can say it enough, or stress it enough, or shout it from my soul enough; I want to be proved genuine by my God. I want my faith to be proven genuine before my Master! I want my trials of faith to lead me every day of my life to the cross of Christ where I can lay all my sin and all my fears and all my doubts down. Down down down. Down and off my back, and off my shoulders, and out of that spot in my brain where doubts and worries like to take seed like a weed and grow. I want the peace of Christ that surpasses all my understanding to literally and truly reign in my soul.

It is a labor though. There is testing involved. Trials of many kinds involved. Fleshly desires may tempt me. And doubts may come. Doubts of all kinds. And what I do with my doubts will determine whether or not a great divide will be formed between me and the Savior whose embrace I long for. It will determine the outcome of my dokimion, the outcome of my testing of genuine faith.

But there is hope; the hope of transformation. And the labor of transformation – in the midst of various kinds of trials – is not in vain. The labor of being conformed into the image of God – allowing steadfastness to do its thing in us – is not in vain. The difficult task of stripping away the desires of our flesh – the desire to carry our own load, to deal with doubt our own way, to question our authority, to commend ourselves, to criticize God’s ways, to be hostile to God’s ways of thinking – is not in vain. We Christ-followers have been chosen for transformation. We have been chosen for real, genuine, steadfast, tested and approved faith. It is a good work, these trials of faith, and it is a worthy work. Our transformation – our surrendering of doubts before Him and staying put in His keeping – is part of walking in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. It is a transformation that is making us day by day, moment by moment, struggle by struggle, doubt by doubt, into the image of our Beloved. Our transformation? It is to the praise of God’s glory. Yes, even our “dokimion”, our test of faith proving us genuine right now… even it is to the praise of His glory.

Sovereign Lord, might we allow steadfastness to have its full effect? Might we push through trials and testings of faith to see the light of your wisdom? To find confidence in you? Lord, so often, we confess, we take pride in finding answers, in asking questions, in complaining, in carrying our loads, in thinking for ourselves, in challenging and criticizing Your work…we take pride in our flesh, Lord. O Father! You must transform us! Left to ourselves we stray into deep pits of sin; we are prone to wander, Lord! Holy Spirit, move in our souls with great power, making us complete and perfect in Christ, making us stable, firm and steadfast! May there be no self-glorying in Your presence, O Lord. Make us and transform us to the praise of Your glory.

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