Monday, September 13, 2004

The Things Only You and God Know

Luke 12: 1Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. 4"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

This weekend I stumbled upon the story of Cornelius. Verse 4 of Acts 10 says, "Cornelius, your prayers and your giving to the poor has come up to God as a memorial". The story finishes with Cornelius hearing the Gospel and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

So much of our life is private. This includes both the good and the bad. If our heart is filled with prayer and praise and generosity, this is something that is seen by only ourselves and God. If we are filled with impulsiveness and bitterness and lust, this too only God knows, but, in fact, we know too.

BUT - The reality is that it eventually is revealed and almost certainly in this life. A crisis will come. A crossroads will come when faith and works are one. Our true faith and our true heart becomes our true works. It is all revealed.

For example, I often speak of being free from the love of money, but when I find that our bank account has far less money in it than I expected, or I have an accident that costs $1,000 is my heart disturbed. Do I yell at someone or loss my cool? Well, maybe we need to step out of our denial and admit that our money is more important to us than we are willing to admit. The reality is for me that possibly my disciplines of generosity have not been kept up and so my hand is not as open as it ought to be.

Here is a huge point. The external exercise of a spiritual discipline like giving to the poor or prayer reveals to us the nature of our heart BEFORE the crisis comes. We often attempt to lie in denial that our heart is pure yet we do not actually FREELY exercise our spiritual disciplines like prayer and giving as our hearts and the Spirit is telling us we should. We let it slide for years and then a crisis comes, and we are not prepared.

This happens with men and sexuality so often. Our hearts are not pure and we let it slide but then temptation comes and we fall and all our pretending is over. Because it happens with sexuality so often we fear in this area, but the same is true in prayer and giving. Men and women lack prayer and giving and when the call comes to teach and lead the church, we do not have the spiritual experience necessary or the intimacy with God to bring renewal to the church. We have no one to blame but ourselves. Is there lack of power in our ministries? Are our children falling into ruin? Could it be that actually this is just "chicken's comin' home to roost". All that is hidden is revealed. That just the way life is.

No comments: