Stories from the Cleft-9: “God’s Shakina Glory Passing By… in the Basics”
Please check out where we’ve been along the journey at The Training Table Archives section of Feast of the Heart. Be sure to recall the Bible passage from Exodus 33:12-23; 34:29-35 where the story of Moses and “the cleft in the rock” can be found.
Before Running Forward… Always Recapitulate!
Today’s Training Table is a set menu of three courses. The courses are compact, nummy, and most nourishing for anyone running the good race. E.g., not “the rat race”, but rather, the sometimes gruesome yet in all ways glorious journey of, “TODAY… if you hear God’s voice, do not harden your heart…” (Psalm 95:7-8).
Christians—as Image Bearers of God, fallen, forgiven, and free to serve—have a most high, broad, and deep meaning associated with “the race set out before us”:
“…if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:1-4).
The Glory of the Basics: Anytime, anyone, from any culture, tribe or tongue has set a course to achieve any sort of goal, it is of paramount importance to take some time every so often to remember the basics of life. To recapitulate, recap, review, reiterate, and re-word IN COMMUNITY the tenants of All Life… in their own life. The basics, “left alone”, will, like anything in life, decay and become secondary to keeping the main thing, the main thing.
First Course: Worldview Matters… Don’t Be Confused by the Chaos
There are three leading families of faith in the modern world: Eastern family of faiths (Hinduism, Buddhism, and New Age) ultimate reality = “undifferentiated and impersonal”. Western secular family of faiths (atheism, naturalism, and secular humanism) ultimate reality = “matter plus time plus chance”. The biblical family of faiths (Judaism, Christian, and Islam) ultimate reality = “an Infinite and Personal God”. (Os Guinness, The Journey: Our Quest for Faith and Meaning, p 81)
Post-modernism let loose in the world would have us believe, among other things, that all truth is relative, and “all roads lead to the same God”. Besides being utterly illogical and indefensible, this is a lie from the pit of hell whipped up by The Deceiver. All worldviews claim exclusivity, but which worldview is true to reality, and in line with our most basic desires and hopes, our frailties, and redemptive instincts? Even though the above summary of the families of faith would benefit greatly by some unpacking, please see that living life based in what reality really consists of is a very important thing to do. And ignoring the contradictions can only lead to despair.
Second Course: Wondering Who’s In… Don’t Be Confused by Issues of Pride and Control
Grace saves: “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:8-13).
Pride and Control Kills: Pride… is the barrier of not allowing God to take away our right to look down upon others. There is a known and unknown ego and fear that does not wish, on any terms, to release our “Satan-given right” to view ourselves as being superior to any man… or god. Egotism (self-centeredness, a high opinion of one’s self-worth) in any form will, incrementally yet surely, harden the heart of any man beyond recognition. Control… is the barrier of not allowing God to take away our control of our life. There is a perception that, by God being in control of our life, we will lose out on all sorts of great things. Quite the opposite is the case, only by having God (in Christ and by the Holy Spirit) in control of our life, can we truly LIVE . Since we’re not in control anyway, it’s much better to give it up!
Third Course: Winnowing What Now… Don’t Be Confused by the Old and the New Man
The Inward Cross: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
The inward cross offers us a triumphant faith! “The inward cross means that I am a new man, living in a new world, because Jesus Christ died for me that I might live today by His spirit, related to my brethren by a common faith built upon His foundation. It means that I am ready to accept death as the measure of life, going ahead with confidence in the purpose of God, provided I share the humility of the cross. It means that this tortured world in which I live has a hope that cannot be betrayed, if once it is understood for what it is meant to be. It means that you and I may live by TRIUMPHANT FAITH!” (Charles Duell Kean, The Inward Cross—emphasis added).
Live life aglow in the glory of God passing by, and praise Him in all things for His mercies in doing so.