When the Foundations are Shaken: Retreat, Recalibrate, and Ramp It Up! Part 1
I’m certain you have taken notice, but there’s a great deal of tumult going on throughout our culture these daze! Especially since the Presidential election, and in my roles as coach, Stephen Minister, spiritual mentor, Brother in Christ, friend… I have heard from more than a handful of faithful folks along the lines,
“To be honest, I’m kind of in shock… I feel sort of paralyzed about how I should show up (as a man or woman of God) when so many pillars of government, culture, various segments of society and institutions, the young people, people of all sorts… even in my own family, relatives, and closest friends… Things are really falling apart, people are very polarized and really on edge. I’m unsure of what to do…”
For those of you who are “running the good race”—God’s elect (Eph 1:4) who have repented of their sin (2 Pet 3:9), beseeched Jesus Christ to forgive them (1 John 1:9), and humbly, yet by God’s unmerited favor (Eph 2:8-9), have placed their faith in Christ alone (Gal 2:16)—the next several Training Table feasts are designed to help you, “Retreat, Recalibrate, and Ramp It Up!”
Retreat… slow down, quiet down, and “get down”… into the Bible long and deep enough to make sure we know exactly what our faith in Jesus Christ consists of. A retreat of quiet time in God’s Word, with a community of faithful race runners, aimed at reaffirming, shoring up the foundations of our faith is required—before we do anything else. [My own portion of this first stage is re-reading and applying The Book of Jeremiah. I could recommend Ephesians, Galatians, James as highly doctrinal and practical “level-setting” studies and faith-life applications.]
Recalibrate… based upon the first and most necessary step, we must be very specific about how the Bible speaks to… the nature of our conversion, the core tenants of our faith, the signs and discourse of our confession, the status of our fruitfulness (Gal 5:22-23), the habits of our quiet time in God’s Bible, the circle of influence where our witness is having an impact (or not), our prayer life, our participation in a Bible-based church, community/Bible study group, the reach of our service to the poor (materially, in spirit)… AND (based upon this sort of “faith inventory”) what concrete, actionable amendments we should make to better love and serve Jesus Christ in joyful, gracious obedience.
Ramp It Up… “lastly” (sanctification is an organic, unending process of growth, conformity to the person of Christ, effectiveness), never forget that, in Christ, God loves us just the way we are, but is never satisfied to leave it at that: “Retreat and Recalibrate” are means to a glorious end: “A Ramped-Up version of our Conformity to Christ!”
When God allows for your foundations to shake, shift, even fall away at times, it is for the purposes of promoting, furthering, instigating growth, maturity, conformity, holiness, and effectiveness… “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” (Gal 2:20, Rom 8:28)!
Choice/Course #1: Ramp-Up Your Role as Prophet, Priest, King
“Under the Old Testament covenant, men who are set apart to fulfill one of three specific offices were anointed with oil to signify their ordination to that role. First, the prophets were anointed with oil when there were chosen to deliver the Word of God to the people (1 Kings 9:16). Second, the priests who offered sacrifices and interceded with God on behalf of the Israelites were anointed with oil (Exodus 30:30; Psalms 133:2). Third, the kings who lead God’s people in the battle against their foes and ruled according to the Mosaic laws were also anointed with oil (1 Samuel 10:1; 16:13).” (RC Sproul, Tabletalk Magazine, March 2012)
Since the entire Bible is Christocentric, whether identified in the Old or New Testament, Christ serves as our Prophet as He guides us in the paths of righteousness through His Word. Christ serves as our Priest as He guarantees the salvation of those who trust Him through His atonement and intercession. And Christ serves as our King as He leads us into battle towards the final victory over sin, Satan, and death.
The Christian disciple is called to emulate Jesus as Prophet, Priest, and King. By God’s plan, grace, empowering Spirit, we have graciously been provided these roles and activities to influence God’s plan of redemption for time—that will be reflected in eternity!
Christ’s threefold office as Prophet, Priest, and King are imparted to those of us who have been supernaturally changed by the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s grace.
“So, how’s that workin’ for ya?” (Dr. Phil) And how might we RAMP IT UP?
Your Role as Prophet “How (exactly) am I using God’s Bible-based Word, Truth, and Love to… a) remind, b) encourage, c) serve, d) warn, e) “sow” (seeds of God’s Word), f) proclaim, g) exhort, h) admonish, i) hold accountable, j) teach, k) raise-up (children)… for the people God has providentially placed in my life?”
“Do I awake each day committed to my prophetic role while praying for the Spirit’s guiding and guarding me in the role?”
“Today… “ (Psalm 95:7-8), in what little (or bigger) ways have I humbly yet boldly stood up in a freefalling culture, raised my hand and voice above worldly ways to proclaim God’s Love and Truth?”
“Have I humbly yet boldly fulfilled my role as a prophet in ways that the people around me take notice—e.g., prophets “polarize thinking in love and truth” (Matthew 10:34); people are obviously attracted to, or blatantly reject, God’s Truth and Love?”
“At times, when I have been lukewarm (neither hot or cold in word and deed) as a prophet, have I repented and sought more whole-heartily to get back in the game?”
Your Role as Priest “How (exactly) am I using God’s Bible-based Word, Truth, and Love to… intercede in prayer, in relationships, sacrificially with my time, talent, and treasure… for the people God has providentially placed in my life?”
“Do I commit to intercede, to pray, to stand in the gap, to get on my knees, and anticipate God’s answers, reporting them as a witness in thanksgiving? Or do I offer prayer to gain God’s favor, display my ‘pietistic ego’—wanting to be seen as spiritual and dutiful—or to get stuff from God?”
“In what ways is my priestly commitment to God and neighbor costly, sacrificial, fruitful, and a glory to God?”
Your Role as King “How (exactly) am I using God’s Bible-based Word, Truth, and Love to don each piece of the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) that is necessary to battle victoriously (in Christ’s victory) against the supernatural and the “natural” (the world, the flesh, the devil) forces of this evil day until Jesus returns… for the people God has providentially placed in my life?”
“Do I carefully and intentionally place each piece of the armor on at the start of each day? Or do I find in hindsight of a battle, ill-conceived and bloodied, I’ve entered the battlefield with my boxers on… again?”
“How might I get so familiar with the place and purpose of God’s armor that it becomes second nature to my commitment to be a tender warrior each and every day?”
“In what specific ways can I recount certain victories over the world, the flesh, and the devil? And then aim to ramp-up my role as a warrior-king who leads God’s people in the battle against their foes?”
As we serve (thankfully, imperfectly, repentantly, consistently) in joyful obedience as “prophet, priest, and king”, we can experience a progressing maturity, while striving for the ideal perfection modeled for us by our Lord (Philippians 3:12-16), and be mightily effective and fulfilled… saved to serve until our Proto-Prophet, Priest, and King Jesus returns!
Please consider… Would it be worth some of your most intentional time, talent, and treasure to internalize, commit to, and actualize your Christly roles and responsibilities as prophet, priest, and king?
Please consider raising the subject and “co-sanctifying process” with a fellow Christ-follower or community of faith who will commit to lovingly yet boldly helping each other in this time… When the Foundations are Shaken: Retreat, Recalibrate, and Ramp It Up!
See you back at the Training Table next week when we’ll chew on Part #2, another alternative course to take in order to properly respond to the tribulations of the times: The Roles and Goals of My Life in Christ.
Blessings to one and all,