Friday, January 5, 2018

put your best foot forward -- part 3

The Word for today:
2 Corinthians 11.1-21.a
mark this: 2 Corinthians 11:2/NLT
For I promised you as a pure bride to one husband, Christ.
Over the past couple days, we saw that God sees Jesus in us because we have become one with him!
God designed marriage to illustrate this one-ness:
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
That Old Testament picture reached its fulfillment in the union of Christ and the church:
For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:30-32)
To further illustrate this one-ness, the church is called the Bride of Christ in the Bible's second-last chapter.
So all the way from the second chapter to the second-last chapter of scripture, God draws prophetic pictures of a person who is so thoroughly identified with another person that they can no longer be separately considered. These prophecies are fulfilled in the mystical, magical, and mind-blowing New Testament phrase in Christ.
Then God warns us not to even think about trying to separate what he now sees as one:
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife; and they two shall be one flesh: so then they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder. (Mark 10:7-9)
That warning, in its most important sense, means that you had better not look at yourself as something less than you are. God sees 'our better half' -- Jesus -- when he looks at us, so we'd better begin to see things the way he does!
In the same way, God wants the world to see Jesus when they look at us, the church. That is why the church is designed to function according to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The gifts of the Spirit are meant to put our best foot forward so that the world sees Jesus, not us!--
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:10-11)
Where I am stingy, Shelley is supernaturally, Spirit-naturally generous, so we exercise "her" generosity when they pass the basket!  She is my complement, completing what I lack.
Where another man is not 'well-versed,' I am gifted and commissioned by the Spirit to tell The Story of Jesus Christ through whatever means are available to me. I complete what that man lacks.
But where I am musically inept, that man can play. So we place him, not me, at the piano. And when he sings "Jesus Paid it All," we are transported to the cross.
What is seen and heard, then, isn't what we lack but what we have been gifted to display. Thus, when the church implements the concept of the complement, the world sees the best in us -- just as God does.
When we all -- the body of Christ -- put our best foot forward, accentuating what is best within each one, then we who are imperfect can show Jesus to the world.
But when we-- out of selfishness, pride, ignorance, fear, or tradition -- design our efforts according to any principle other than the gifts of the Spirit, then what the world sees is what we are without Jesus -- just a bunch of sinners, forever falling short of the glory of God (1).
(1) see Romans 3:23

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