My Musings – He was seeking eternal life. He had meticulously kept the commandments that Jesus mentioned. He could almost reach it. But there was one thing he lacked. Something he could not let go. There’s a scene from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” that provides a great illustration. After finding the elusive “Holy Grail” supernatural events intervene. A massive earthquake opens up threatening to swallow the grail causing it to be lost forever. Suspended over the gaping crevasse, hanging onto his father (Professor Henry Jones) with one hand, Indiana Jones (Junior) desperately reaches for the grail, just inches from his other outstretched hand:
Professor Henry Jones: [in an urgent voice] “Junior, give me your other hand! I can’t hold on!”
Indiana Jones: [straining to reach the Grail] “I can get it. I can almost reach it, Dad…”
Professor Henry Jones: [in a quiet voice] “Indiana.”
[surprised, Indy looks back at his father].
Professor Henry Jones: [firmly, but still quietly] “Indiana… let it go.”
Of course, we all know what happens. Indiana grabs onto his father with both hands and is saved. Letting go of the prize he had long sought to find.
The application? We cannot hold onto our Heavenly Father with one hand while clinging onto our prized sins – sinful habits, sinful relationships, sinful pursuits, etc… We cannot serve two masters.
My Advice – What are you reaching for or hanging onto that is keeping you from fully committing to a relationship with Jesus Christ? Let it go.
My Musings – God cannot be deceived. We only deceive ourselves when we think we will not reap what we sow. When we sow to please our sinful nature, our actions will obviously follow suit. However, if we sow to please the Spirit, the fruit will likewise follow suit. We cannot sow one thing and expect to reap something different. Again, if that is our expectation we are only deceiving ourselves.
My Advice – We have been crucified with Christ. What does that mean? It means that we are dead to our sinful nature. So why feed something that is already dead?
My Musings – Norman Rockwell is my favorite artist. Some claim that he was not a “real” artist, but rather an illustrator. Whatever you call him, he was able to capture the human condition, tug at the heartstrings and nearly write a novel, all with one simple painting. Like the above painting of a young patient and seasoned physician.
Jesus used the analogy of the doctor patient relationship, to the sinner Savior relationship. We are all sick (sinners) with a terminal illness (“the wages of sin is death“).
Some deny that they are sick and insist that they have no need of a doctor or a cure. Denial does not change the underlying facts, or the ultimate consequences if left untreated. Only Jesus can offer the cure.
Some realize that something is not right, but are not sure they have the right physician or that the physician has the right “credentials.” Jesus’ credentials were validated by the resurrection. Yet some still reject His treatment. If they seek any treatment at all, they seek it elsewhere, all of whom are charlatans and imposters who are practicing “medicine” without a license.
Others know that they are sick and in need of the cure that only the “Great Physician” can provide. They readily seek and receive the cure. No deductibles, no co-pays, no denials for lack of insurance.
My Advice – There are none who are healthy, none who are righteous. If you think you are, a check-up is in order.
My Musings – The above verse is a conditional statement. Conditional statements contain a hypothetical (if) and a consequence (then) when the conditions of the hypothetical are met.
If – Something(s) that must happen:
- My people, called by My name – In the context of the above verse, this was Israel. Today, we could apply it to the Church.
- Will humble themselves – Freed from pride and arrogance. An expression of deference or submission.
- Pray – To speak to God especially in order to give thanks or to ask for something.
- Seek My face – To go in search of, to look for, to try to discover.
- Turn – To face an opposite or different direction.
- From Wicked Ways – Morally very bad, evil.
Then – Before something else can happen:
- I will hear – To pay attention to.
- I will forgive – Pardon, cancel a debt.
- I will heal – Correct or put right an undesirable situation.
My Advice – We often attribute the declining state of morality on society in general. Yet the above verse places the responsibility on the people of God. We know what we (the Church) need to do (if) in order for God to hear our appeal for the “land” to be healed. A verse from an old song states “that it only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon those all around, can warm up in the glowing.” Be a spark in your local Body, then “pass it on.” We have to have a spark before we can have a fire. We have to get it going, before we can expect the glowing.
My Musings – No fine print here. It is a small word, but it begins the sentence – “if.” It is not a trap for the unwary, it merely establishes the sentence as a conditional clause. When the conditions are met, the promise that follows is assured (God cannot lie, He is “faithful and just“). He not only forgives us, but He purifies us, removing the stain of sin altogether.
Until the conditions are met, however, there is no obligation to fulfill the promise. Confession must precede forgiveness. Why would be expect our sins to be forgiven if we do not even admit that we have any?
My Advice – Do not let pride get in the way of forgiveness.
My Musings – A life of keeping the law is like a chain of various size links representing little laws (though shalt not lie) and big laws (thou halt not murder). In terms of the results, it matters little which law is not kept (little or big), the chain (our relationship with God) is still broken.
My Advice – Do not count on keeping the chain (relationship) whole by your own efforts. Rely instead on the effort of Christ.
My Musings – Perhaps the most universally known Bible verse (at least by football fans) of all time.
He loved – before we loved Him. No guarantee we ever would. Him knowing that many never would.
He gave – at the greatest cost imaginable. While we were still sinners. No fine print. No purchase required.
Whoever – no one is disqualified. Not just the elite. No exclusions apply. That means you and me.
Believes – that’s all there is to it. Pure grace. Maybe it’s because the offer is so unbelievable that so many will not believe, will not accept. Maybe it’s because we think that free is actually too costly – we don’t have to pay anything for it. But we must be willing to give some things up (our sinful lifestyle). Yes, that is part of believing, but look what we get in the exchange.
Eternal life – That’s forever. Heaven. With God. Pure bliss.
My Advice – Believe. “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” (Jim Elliot)