Imagine that day when we will awaken in the new body-phase of eternity. Our first morning thought will not be a fuzzy, “Ugh, another day.” No. It will be more like, “Whoa, something is up! This is going to be an amazingly wonderful day!” Perhaps the next thing we will hear will be a rap on our door by Jesus himself. After a long warm embrace, he wipes away our tears; he looks us in the eye and says, “You are right, something is up and it is certifiably wonderful, but you are also wrong, there are no more days and nights. There is no more darkness.” And then he adds, with a wink, “My voice is familiar isn’t it?”
Being a journal junky I have imagined my diary entry following this first day (although I’m not quite sure if it is a day that has passed or a thousand years).
Date: ? / Time: ? / Place: Heaven (I presume)
I went out today with joy and was led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills broke into shouts of joy before me, and all the trees of the field clapped their hands. It was awesome!
It was so true that the Shepherd’s thoughts were not my thoughts, nor were his ways my ways. And this newness of life! This is “newness” of a caliber far far beyond my expectations!
For as the rain and the snow came down from heaven, and did not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so was his Word which God spoke. It did not return to him empty, without accomplishing what he desired, or without succeeding in the matter for which he sent it.
Oh how glad I am that I sought the Lord while he could still be found; that I called upon him while he was near. I am so extremely grateful that he enabled me to forsake those thoughts and ways of mine that were so errant! How can I ever say thank you sufficiently to the Shepherd for drawing me back to himself, showing me his compassion and offering me such an abundant pardon? I don’t know but it appears I will have the time. (I hope Isaiah does not mind my plagiarizing.)
Well, that is then; this is now. Until that day, we must keep in mind that Jesus himself was the Word God spoke and that he did not return to his Father empty handed. He accomplished the matter for which he was sent. He led captive a host of captives. While heaven is appealing, we are already inside eternity where the kingdom has been birthed. Right now, Jesus is the new creation. In him is Life. He was and is the Life. There is no newness of Life outside of him. These are now-realities. The kingdom has both come and is coming.
Our kingdom beginnings start when we are born again. That is why Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born anew.” Must! Must! Must! Are you born again? If you cannot answer this question with an emphatic “Yes”, the command remains for you; “You must be born anew!” Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Go straight to the Lord and seek him while he may be found. Call upon him while he is near. Forsake all thoughts that you might be a child of God because you have participated in some ceremony or given mental assent to some creed. Forsake the notion your morality or deeds are relatively good and have surely earned you God’s favor. Forsake this self-righteous idea and the Lord will have compassion on you and he will abundantly pardon you.
Christ came as the Word Incarnate – the only Seed that can grow into kingdom newness. Truly Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. If you cannot identify newness of life in yourself and you profess to be a Christian, this MwM post may be disturbing. I hope so. Keep in mind, God’s thoughts are not your thoughts. His ways are not your ways. Being disturbed is an excellent sign the Seed may be trying to germinate. Take heed! The Lord is near; this is that opportune moment to find him. Today is the day of salvation. Humble yourself. Invite the Seed into your heart.
Tell him you want him to grow there and take precedence in all matters and that you are willing to forsake your rights to nurture your old previous life. You too will find that his Word was not sent in vain, that it indeed accomplishes the mission for which it is sent – the rebirth and transformation of your life. As his life takes root, and you are a good steward, you will find that very soon you too will …
Go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Father, may the gospel of your Son be spoken anew into all the traditions and institutions of this earth with kingdom authority. May the true prophets and teachers be heard. May your saints declare this clarion message from their own housetops. May their razor sharpened words distinguish between sentiment, ceremony, human goodness, sound creeds and Life himself.
Heavenly Father, Your name is holy and sacred beyond human knowing. May Your kingdom flourish! May your Word succeed in every way for which It was sent! We confess to you our sins. Forgive us Father and we shall certainly forgive those who have sinned against us. Deliver us from the evils of anti-Christ messages, offering ways into the kingdom other than Jesus. May your emerging Life testify of the power, and the glory of Your kingdom forever and ever. Amen.