Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Living Nobly

"When I passed by thee,...I said unto thee...,'Live.' " Ezekiel 16:6

I have been reading and watching Brother Peter's poignant questions for the last couple of days and meditating upon them. Today, God brought my thoughts to completion. Both of my morning devotions, Spurgeon and Chambers, melded beautifully together in perfect union to offer me a conclusion to my meditation. I would like to share them with you.

Spurgeon takes us to the first part of Ezekiel 16 which is an allegory of Israel as a helpless newborn baby and how God said to her "Live!" He cleansed Israel, wrapped her in garments, and adorned her with jewels. It is a perfect analogy of our own salvation, how He "passed by and saw [us] kicking about in [our] own blood" and said to us "Live!" God saw us as sinful and in need of a Savior. For those of us who chose Him, He bestowed upon us life eternal.

Chambers exhorted me to live a noble life, one worthy of my Christian calling, by reminding me that "strait is the gate, and narrow is the way" (Matthew 7:13-14). In this verse, Jesus is saying the way is not full of obstacles and hurdles we must first navigate through before salvation becomes ours. Rather, He is telling us there is only one way to be at peace with God and He is the Gateway to that end.

Chambers further encouraged me by saying, "If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult...Do we so appreciate the marvelous salvation of Jesus Christ that we are our utmost for His highest?" (Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest)

By blending the two devotions together - being made alive in Christ and then living a noble and Godly life - we must take into account the second part of both citations. In Ezekiel 16, God admonishes unfaithful Jerusalem for become prideful and haughty, disobedient and prostituting themselves to idols, sacrificing their children to them, and building "lofty shrines". In other words, they forgot how God had lifted them out of their "blood" and blessed them with His providence. His people had forsaken Him for worldly pleasures and His condemnation was upon them.

Matthew 7:14 reminded me that we can fall into the same trap Israel found itself in if we are not careful to stay on the "narrow" pathway. Having been pulled from death into life, it is imperative we remain faithful to God. "He works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure; but we have to work out that salvation in practical living...If we fail, it is because we have not practiced." (Chambers) It is our obligation to fulfill all that God works into us and to demonstrate Christ to a lost world. If we refuse or fail to "practice", we may find ourselves on the "wide...gate and broad...road that leads to destruction..." along with "the many who enter through it."

"Christians, recognize your position: you are debtors to grace. Since God has commanded you to live, show your gratitude by living earnest, Christlike lives." (Spurgeon, Evening by Evening) I must reveal Christ to all men by faithfully sharing His Gospel. I must strive to reject the world, to have nothing to do with the deeds of darkness, to refuse to elevate myself, others, or objects above the Eternal God, and to keep my feet firmly planted on His pathway. In other words, I must nobly work out what He has so graciously worked in - a new and eternal life.


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