Tuesday, July 24, 2012

His Presence in Our Present Hell

     One of my favorite books EVER (besides the Bible) is a small book titled "A Tale of Three Kings" by Gene Edwards. I don't think it was on the top best seller's list anywhere, but in my opinion every Christian would benefit from reading it. It is a study in brokenness illustrating King David and the theme is submission.
     Gene Edwards also wrote my second favorite book EVER which is titled "The Prisoner in the Third Cell" and this book illustrates John the Baptist and the recurring theme is this verse "And blessed is he who is not offended because of me." Matthew 6:11 NKJ
      Brokenness, submission and sacrifice. Not very popular topics for obvious reasons. Each one of them requires pain and selflessness. I don't know about you, but my human nature tries to avoid both at all cost most of the time. Actually brokenness, submission and sacrifice are interdependent. We really can't do any of them without doing them all.
     How do we get ourselves in a position to be broken, submitted and willing to sacrifice? Why would we want to? What is the point? If we really are serious about having an intimate relationship with the Living God,  it is unavoidable.
     One of my favorite quotes from "The Prisoner in the Third Cell" is this, "He who takes up the sword perishes by the sword. He who refuses to take up the sword perishes on the cross." Ouch!
     There is a similar quote in "A Tale of Three Kings" in which it states this; "I'm in David's situation, and I am in agony. What do I do when the kingdom I'm in is ruled by a spear wielding king? Should I leave? If so, how? Just what does a man do in the middle of a knife-throwing contest?" The answer is, "You get stabbed to death."..."What is the necessity of that? Or the good of it?"...You have your eyes on the wrong King Saul. As long as you look at your king, you will blame him, and him alone, for your present hell. Be careful, for God has His eyes fastened sharply on another King Saul. Not the visible one standing up there throwing spears at you. No, God is looking at another King Saul. One just as bad-or worse. God is looking at the King Saul in you. End quote.
     You may not have an actual King Saul in your life, by that I mean someone in authority over you that may be causing your "present hell." It could be any number of sources in your life yet be just as applicable. If you are struggling right now, the source of that struggle may be an outer King Saul that is at war with your inner King Saul.
     I believe the quote from "The Prisoner in the Third Cell" is saying this, we have a choice. We can choose to live like the world and become angry, prideful and selfish which leads to blaming others for our "present hell." Therefore, not dealing with our inner King Saul. Or we can choose to accept the new identity we have been given in Christ and follow His example and allow brokenness, submission and selflessness, therefore dealing with our inner King Saul and becoming more like our True King, Jesus. It is a painful process trying to slay our inner King Saul.
     If you were able to ask John the Baptist if it was worth it to him to have his head served on a silver platter for sinful purposes, what do you think he would say? John asked a question of Jesus from his jail cell, "Are You the coming One, or do we look for another?" Matthew 11: 3 NKJ. In other words, are You are THE CHRIST? If You are then, YES "I'm all in," it is worth it. Why? Because CHRIST is worth it. I believe John wanted to make sure that what or better stated who he was "putting in all of his chips" for was worth the cost.
     Jesus' answer for John was this "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. "And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me." Matthew 11:4-6 NKJ
     Jesus' answer to John is His answer to all of us. He indeed is worth it. That's GOOD news! Do we believe that Christ is worth our "present hell?" King David's life is full of examples of times when he did not choose God's way over his own and he and everyone around him paid the consequences. The same could be said of all of us and I would be at the head of that line. Yet time after time God has shown Himself faithful even when we have not been faithful to Him. That is His nature "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself." II Timothy 2:13 NKJ. This is my song and my prayer for us all that we deem Him worthy and faithful even in our "present hell" of slaying our inner King Saul because we realize our King Jesus is worth it.


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