Friday, April 4, 2014

What A Friend

Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all.“ – Ephesians 1:20-23

What a friend we have in Jesus!  There’s an old country song that says “I’ve got friends in low places where the whiskey flows and the beer chases my blues away”.  I’d much rather have my friend Jesus who God has set at His right hand and put in authority over all earthly authorities, all angels, all demons, and anything that has might or power.  Friends, JESUS RULES!  He rules your boss, your spouse, your government, your fights with addiction, depression, anxiety – you name it!  According to the Apostle Paul, God has put Jesus in the position of authority over all things.  Yes, He is merciful, and yes things do happen that are outside His will.  But Jesus is my friend, and I know when this life is over – He will still be in charge of everything, and all will answer to Him.  Obamacare – He’s got it covered.  Children being abused – yeah, He’s taking care of it.  Homeless people across the world dying from exposure – He sees every soul.  My anxiety over things that have never happened and most likely never will – I can throw it at His feet and know that He has all power and might, and He loves me.

Along with the position of power and authority, God granted Jesus a specific title over the church.  Now, let’s talk about “church” for a minute.  In the Bible, “Church” is never the four walls in which we serve.  (I pray we serve outside those walls!)  When you read the word “Church” it is not a building.  The Church at Ephesus, The Church of Corinth, and The Church of Galatia – all were made of people and not a building.  They met in homes, not a fancy building with padded pews!  And they were all referred to as “The Church”, but delineated by where they were at, as a group.  All of them were “The Church”.  Friends, whether you are in Ethiopia, India, China, or little old Cadiz, Kentucky, if you are the redeemed of Christ then we are “The Church” together.

That said, Paul tells us that God has given Jesus to be head of all things to the church “which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all”.   Now let’s talk about “The Body of Christ”.  When we talk of “The Body of Christ”, we are not talking about Jesus’ arms, legs, head, and shoulders – his physical body.  We talk of each other – those of us that are filled with His Holy Spirit from salvation through faith.  It is His Holy Spirit “that fills all in all”.  His Spirit connects us all as one body.  To those that have not received Christ, this is a mystery.  But to those that have, this is the greatest gift of all. 

This indwelling of His Spirit allows Jesus to be present with us daily, guiding us as the good shepherd would His sheep.  He brings us all truth and understanding, the spiritual gifts of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23).  Though we may choose not exercise those gifts, He gives them fully and without measure (John 3:34).  Praying for more patience is never going to get you more patience.  You already have the tools to exercise it through His Spirit.  YOU just need to choose to be patient.

So what is our part of this great friendship?  How do we respond to such kindness, to one who has given us with the tools to survive this life?  How can we repay He who has blessed us with righteousness, and eternal life?  We cannot!  But because He is our friend, and out of love for Him, we choose to follow Him. We walk with Him, choosing to at least attempt to live as He lived, and knowing that sometimes that makes us the enemy of this world. 

We won’t fit in and won’t be accepted because He was not accepted either.  The One who went from town to town healing all diseases and conditions that had troubled people since birth was despised, mocked, and killed.  I am still astounded at how the world could not see the love in His actions, and how they instead chose to torture and kill Jesus.  But, then I remember, He was put in authority of all those principalities, powers, and dominions after He was raised from the dead – not before.  It was all part of God’s plan, and all for our benefit.  And though the world may hate the Body of Christ, and even come after us as they did Him, we can rest assured that Jesus is our friend.    

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