Lesson 6 -- second quarter 1997
April 6, 1997
Sometimes I get so tired of life. Oh, I'm not interested in dying, don't get me wrong! Maybe what I mean is that being a Christian gets a trifle wearisome at times. No, no; I wouldn't for a moment consider any other alternative. But we must face this: always pursuing what is right sooner or later, occasionally or frequently, grinds on our flesh.
You know how it goes. Be a servant. Turn the other cheek. Think godly. Live for the King. Seek first His ways and kingdom. Shun materialism. Flee youthful lusts. Read right. Watch your music. Don't dress that way. Beware of where you go. Stand for the truth. Don't be afraid of being mocked. Suffer loss. And so goes the list. Yup, it all gets a little tiresome and a tad burdensome once in a while.
But look at Jesus in today's lesson! Awesome?! Yes, indeed! But was that the way it always was for even Him? No, indeed! Jesus, who found nourishment and delight in doing His Father's will (John 4:4; 6:38), at least once quailed in the flesh before what that will included for Him (Matthew 26:39). Nevertheless, He faithfully pursued the will of the Father. And now we can encourage ourselves and one another with Hebrews 12:2,3: "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
So hang in there! Renew your focus on the Lord. Consider the joy that is set before you, and endure. Consider Him and His endurance or you will succumb to weariness and fatigue. Don't faint! Labor on! Remember that the sufferings come first, then you can enjoy and exult in "the glory that should follow" (1 Peter 1:11). Sow the seed of righteousness because "he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Galatians 6:8,9)!
In today's lesson we see the incredibly awesome splendor of the glory of the Son of God. The way He is now. Was He any less glorious before His incarnation? I don't know, but John 17:5 sounds to me like the second Person of the Trinity has always been glorious: "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was" (John 17:5). Now reread verse five of today's lesson text. He, the High and Lofty One, loved us--sinners, enemies, worms, specks of dust! Find as many verses as you can that sound that refrain. Because there is a very practical lesson in this truth.
Aside from the sacrifice of His Son, there was no way that we could see and begin to understand the immensity of God's love for us (1 John 3:16a). He really did want us to know of and experience His love for us! His greatness was not an obstacle to the expression and manifestation of His love toward us! And that touches us in ways that are at times painfully practical: "and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16b). "To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." That's what I say: Amen!