Modern Parable ~ The Judge

I was driving down the freeway last year going along with the speed of traffic when a highway patrol officer came up behind me and put on his lights. You know the feeling: instant panic with ensuing heart palpitations. I looked at the odometer, 79, then quickly took my foot of the accelerator. Surely he’s not pulling me over for 79? I’ve been told that anything under 80 they don’t bother with and besides my cousin is a CHP and I have one of those nifty star stickers on my license to show them I am “one of them”, “part of the family” so to speak and my insurance is military insurance. That will be the clincher. They don’t ticket their own.

The officer came up to my window, asked plainly for my license, registration, and proof of insurance. He walked back to his car, came back, and handed me my speeding ticket. No small talk, all business. I was busted. My “get out of jail free cards” did not work. I broke the law, the officer was just. It did not matter that everyone else on the freeway was going 79. It did not matter that normally they don’t pull you over at that speed. It did not matter that I have a sticker or insurance to prove I am one of them. The fact of the matter is I was speeding. The speed limit is 65. I was going 79… Judged and Convicted.

How often do you justify your actions to a holy impartial Judge. How often do you think “I’m on the good guy’s team, He will let it slide this time.” How often do you think “I’m not as bad as that other guy over there. He must judge based on a curve.” There could be nothing further from the truth. Check out this verse in 1 Peter:

And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, (1 Peter 1:17, ESV)

Let’s unpack this verse a bit…

The word epikaleō means to “call on” or to “appeal to” or to “call for help”. It is meant here to suggest that this is a regular occurrence, that we are to habitually call on the Father for help. Peter is assuming his readers are Christians and that they pray regularly. The idea that God is someone we have an intimate relationship with as well as the fact that he is the ultimate judge who always judges fairly and without partiality are all within the same sentence, the readers understand that just because they are part of God’s family does not mean they will get special treatment. This is the true fear of God when one understands this concept to its fullest.

The term “judges” is used in the Greek  “ton krinonta” which is a present participle. This means the judgement Peter is talking about is active and current for their lifetime. He is not talking about final judgement. The Father is actively and presently disciplining his children. That is what this type of fear means.

The Greek word for fear is “phobos” and is where we get the word phobia from. However the phobos of God and his discipline is actually a good thing because its outcome should be a right response to God’s law that will result in growth, sanctification, and blessings.

Peter also reminds his readers that they are exiles, sojourners hear on earth. That means they must continually remember to show foreigners (those of this world) what it means to be a child of God.

Therefor, we are to have an active and intimate relationship with the Father while maintaining a high view of him knowing he is the perfect impartial judge even to us. Because of this we must live our lives in light of fear of his judgement as well as the fact that this world is not our true home and we must be examples to others by bringing honor to our true family name.

Modern Parable ~ Blind Obedience

jenosullivan_20131031_0002_webSometimes I need my 5 year old to just simply obey something I ask him to do: Don’t cross the street yet… Eat your veggies… Go to bed… Don’t eat the entire bag of Halloween candy at once. While his little 5 year old mind cannot fathom any good reason to follow any of these ridiculous rules, he does. Why? Somehow in his 5 long years of life he has figured out that going against what I say as a direct command usually goes badly… sometimes very badly. So, here I sit. Almost 40 years old, still whining to God about this rule and that rule. “Why can’t I just…” on this command and that command. In my bible study today, I was reading and dissecting one verse in 1 Peter. Yes, sometimes it is important to dig into the Bible one verse at a time and digest it fully before moving on. So, here is what I studied this morning:

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, (1 Peter 1:14, ESV)

God is commanding me to not be conformed to all the things of this world that are sin and that are against His law. But get this, the first part of that sentence is “as obedient children.” This context is like a child is obedient to his father. Like my child is obedient to me. Blind obedience at times. Kicking and screaming but still obedient obedience. I hung my head low this morning as I reflected on my desire to mature in this one point. With the help of the LORD I will prevail!

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com

Scripture ~ 2 Peter 1:3

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,” – 2 Peter 1:3

I am once again in awe of you. In awe of the simple yet profound fact that you called me. In that calling you have given me access to all the things of this life and to your godliness. You have called me to your glory. To your excellence! What an honor! Thank you.

Friday Fruit Audit ~ The Spirit

Do you walk by the Spirit?

The idea is that the more time you spend with God the closer you will become to him and the more you will want to spend time with him. Imagine getting to a place where you no longer need to “carve out” time in your life for God but where you need to carve out time in your walk with God for your life. The Lord promises that if you hunger and thirst to do his will, obey his commands, and follow after him you will be satisfied. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” -Matthew 5:6 (ESV)

In fact, you will be more than satisfied. Take a look at what Peter has to say:

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,” -1 Peter 1:8 (ESV)

In Peter’s day his readers understood the word “agapo” or “love” to mean continually loving God and as a regular daily activity. The word “pisteuo” or “believe” means to rest your confidence in or to trust in or depend on. The joy of this verse implies joy for the present. The word for rejoice was not commonly used by secular Greek writers of Peter’s day as it meant a deep spiritual joy. As we continually spend time daily with Jesus through faith we rejoice and have joy that is unutterable and exalted. They understood this as wanting more and more of Jesus and that joy was something only believers could experience. Have you experienced this?

Even though I have not seen him, I am active in my love and faith by daily worshiping him through prayer and bible reading. Because of this communion with him I have even deeper joy that is filled with the glory of heaven. By adjusting your life to focus more on God you will inevitably begin to mirror the below verses written by Paul to the Galatians.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” - Galatians 5:16-26 (ESV)

My prayer: Father, what a gift you have given me in your Word. Help me to desire it more and more each day. Oh Jesus, I long to see your face. Father, I cannot wait to look upon your face shining like the sun. Holy Spirit, what an honor to know your person living in me. God, my God, I have faith and trust in you; to know that my belief in you brings me heavenly joy is so exciting! To think that perhaps my faith actually rests in you and that you are joyful for it is overwhelming. Thank you for loving me with a love I don’t even have words for.