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Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Down-sizing - or ditching?!

Okay, so we are in the flat.  We have only a few boxes left to unpack - well, only a few that are really urgent!  Problem is, we (Note from my wife: "Change that 'we' to 'I'!!) still have a lot of stuff in the house that we have now left (simply because it has not yet been sold!).

We have also encountered a couple of difficulties with the flat, the worst of which is that the boiler has broken down and is, apparently, beyond repair.  The solicitors are now 'fighting' over who should be responsible for the cost of replacement.  Still, we take comfort from the assurance that not even any of this has caught the Lord by surprise (read the chapter on 'Predestination' in my book Great Words of the Faith).

I have also realised that it is something of an illustration of the Christian life!  When a person submits to Jesus, and accepts Him as No.1 in their life, they are 'born again'.  That's a Biblical expression that means that they have started a completely new life.  It's Jesus' own words: "Jesus replied, 'I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.'" (John 3:3).

I suggest that it's a bit like moving house.  When we make that submission, we have to get rid of a lot of old 'baggage'.  The writer of the great Letter to Hebrew disciples of Jesus encourages us to "... lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb 12:1-2).

However, we don't merely need to clear out the old, sinful, baggage that we have carried around, perhaps for many years.  We also have to be aware that,contrary to what even some preachers claim, following Jesus is not guaranteed to be a 'bed of roses'.  Indeed, the Lord constantly made that clear to those who heard Him speak.  "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matt 5:11-12; emphasis added).  Perhaps we in the so-called 'developed' world have much too easy a life as those who claim to be followers of the Way!  In some fifty countries around the world, that is certainly not the case! (see some of the links below).  I sometimes wonder what would happen in, for example, the U.K. if we were suddenly to be faced with the persecution that is common-place in those countries!  I suspect that many would be withdrawing from 'church membership' - perhaps even some of those who were preaching on the previous week!  By the way, please do not make the mistake of thinking that such a thing would not happen here!  Watch the trends!

Down-sizing, and dealing with difficulties.  Part and parcel of moving house - and part and parcel of the new life, in Christ, to which all are called, even if so many reject, or ignore, that call!

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