Monday, December 3, 2012

How are you dying today?

This morning I had breakfast with a friend from the church who receives the full newsletter from Sean & Amber DeMars, our DPC members who are serving Christ as missionaries in Peru.  He told me what an encouragement to his faith the full newsletter always is.  If you're not receiving it & want to do so, let me know.

In the most recent newsletter, Sean shares this:

By Sean DeMars
Gen 12:1-3
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Sometimes we think that all of the really hard calls to leave it all behind only came from Jesus. As we can see here, that's simply not true. Moreover, if we look at all of redemptive history, we see that God is clearly in the business of calling men to lay it all down for HIS mission. 
By calling Abraham to leave his country and his kindred, not only was God telling Abraham to leave all that he had ever known and loved, but he was also calling him to leave his identity. His country and his extended family, the primary sources of identity for ancient near easterners, were good things, and yet, God called him to lay aside those things for something greater.
God called Abraham away from the familiar, and sent him to the unknown. Friends, Jesus is still calling us to the same thing today. Maybe we won't leave our Harans, or maybe we will, but either way, he is calling us to leave behind our own shallow identities for the glory of his name. He is calling us to leave behind our petty comforts for the glory of his name. He is calling us to leave behind our all-too-familiar familiarity for the glory of his name. 
Of course, Abraham wasn't the last one to leave his home for the glory and mission of God. Later, a greater Abraham would come. He would leave his heavenly home and come down to this Canaanite land. Unlike Abraham, he would perfectly obey the will of his father. Unlike Abraham, who was blessed for the blessing of all peoples, He was cursed, for the blessing of all peoples. God told Abraham that if anyone cursed him, they themselves would be cursed, but God told this man...this God...that he would be the curse for those who curse him. 
Friends, we don't serve a God who is unfamiliar with dying for the mission. We don't serve a God who is unfamiliar with the anxiety of doing so, either (Luke 22:42-44). It's not an easy call, but it's a call that is true and effectual for every son and daughter of God, purchased by the death of Jesus. He dies...we die. We die to sinful wants and desires, we die to our finances, we die to our luxuries, we die to our family, and we die to 100 other things that are good, but are keeping us from the great. 
How are you dying, today? How is your wallet reflecting your death? How is your prayer life reflecting your death? How is your handling of the truth of God's Word reflecting your death? How is your time serving others over and above yourself reflecting your death? How is your repentance reflecting your death? 
I know that not everyone reading this newsletter is a Christian, and all of this death talk might seem a little odd to you. In reality, though, this is actually the most beautiful truth in the world, my friends. I beg you to look death in the eyes, and tell me what you see. As a Christian, I see hope, joy, and pleasure forevermore. Yes, I will suffer much in the present, but in the end there will be sweet relief. You, also, will suffer much in this life, but towards what end? What will death bring you?
Finally, family in Christ, let us rejoice in the fact that even our failures to die when we ought to have been paid for. What a sweet grace it is that calls us to die, and then covers our sin for when we don't die perfectly. Rejoice in that grace today, and more so, rejoice in the one who made it possible, the Trinity.

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