“Not all tolerance is godly, and it is Christ-like to be intolerant of certain things. Not taking a side on this issue is to take a side. To decide it is a matter of indifference is to risk having Jesus against you.”
Same sex behavior is irrefutably sinful and in conflict with marriage as designed and intended by God. This is no mere secondary doctrinal issue…rather, those who practice such behavior and are unrepentant will not inherit eternal life in the kingdom of God. Furthermore, Jesus explicitly condemns and is against those whose teaching leads into sexual sin.
Waiting is not something we humans are generally very good at. From kids at Christmas and birthdays to grown-ups … still at Christmas and birthdays! On top of our inherent tendencies, our culture is ever-increasingly influenced by the saturation of convenience and affluence and technological advances — all in ways that feed our need for it (whatever “it” may be) now — or at least much sooner that “it” used to be or happen. Information at your fingertips. Google it. Ask Siri or Alexa. Next-day…better yet, same-day delivery — by drone!
Like I said, waiting… is not something we’re very attuned to.
So what! Is waiting such a good thing? Isn’t faster better? Improve efficiency… Produce more in less time… Why make such a big deal? The good ole’ days weren’t all that good.
For some reason, waiting is one of the major themes of Scripture. Prescriptively and descriptively, waiting is an essential part of our life before the Lord our God. Yet for all that encouragement and exhortation to wait, there’s little to nothing about how to do it.
Well that doesn’t help much… What are we supposed to do? Google? Siri?
Thankfully, waiting in Scripture has everything to do with why and Who — and that reveals to us the Enabler of the how. As we turn away from all that is earthly and focus our attention and desire upon the Lord our God — as we behold Him as He reveals Himself to us in Word and Spirit and Truth — we come to understand the value and joy in waiting. Our anxiety is replaced with expectation and then matures into anticipation as we experience the rewards of God’s grace and providence.
Now, don’t get me wrong … I haven’t gotten this all figured out and down to a science. This is still a continual learning process for me and will be unto the end. That’s why I’m inclined to describe it as an art — one that is continually refined and practiced and nurtured and honed and cultivated. Let’s talk about that word — art. It’s helpful for me to think of it as an acronym — forming an acrostic of sorts — that calls to mind again, not the how, but above all the Who.
Accede to & Act in accordance with
…God’s will, imperative, prerogative, and purpose.
…God’s absolute omnipotence, eternal sovereignty, timeless omniscience, and peaceful omnipresence.
…God’s immutable faithfulness, mercy, justice, and love.
As you consider the AART of waiting, read through these Scripture passages and invite the Spirit to work in you…revealing the joy of anticipating the fruit of waiting on the Lord.
Gen. 49:18; Ps. 27:14; Ps. 31:24; Ps. 33:20-22; Ps. 37:7-9; Ps. 37:34; Ps. 38:15; Ps. 40:1-3; Ps. 130:5-6; Prov. 20:22; Is. 25:9; Is. 26:8-9; Is. 30:18; Is. 33:2; Is. 40:28-31; Is. 49:23; Lam. 3:21-26; Mic. 7:7; Zep. 3:8; Acts 1:4-5; 1 Cor. 1:4-9; Jas. 5:7-8; Jude 17-23
Psalm 73 provides us with a great reminder that is both refreshing and exhorting. In times of frustration and sheer disbelief at the ways in which people… all sorts of people — especially leaders, whether in politics or the press or business or academia — seem to get away with wickedness, we need to hear this.
The psalmist begins with context and perspective. (Ps. 73:1) We must never forget the character of God… He is good.
Then the psalmist begins reflecting on his own flaws and sinful inclination. (Ps. 73:2-3)
Over the course of the next few verses, he complains profusely of the apparent “good times” the wicked are enjoying as the continually get away with everything. (Ps. 73:4-12) We can taste the frustration building…
The psalmist then utters words that should send a chill through us… yet, they are words we have to admit may have echoed in our minds before. He regrets that he ever bothered with righteousness! (Ps. 73:13-14) What did he gain? Why bother?
Then his tone takes an immediate turn and we realize that he has been recounting his thoughts — sharing his heart with us. (Ps. 73:15-16)
But what brought him back to his spiritual senses? The psalmist “entered the sanctuary of God” and there found discernment. (Ps. 73:17) When we’re coming to the end of ourselves and can’t make sense of circumstances and events — that’s no time to fade away from God. Then we must seek Him even more earnestly — we must chase after Him and find fellowship with other believers as we pray and worship the Lord together! (Heb. 10:24-25)
Now the psalmist begins speaking with God directly. We are assured that those who persist and remain in wickedness will suffer their just end. (Ps: 73:18-20) And we see the progression from the psalmist’s bitterness of soul to conviction. (Ps. 73:21-22)
Through the remaining verses (Ps. 73:23-28) we see proclamation of hope and victory as the psalmist praises and gives thanks to God.
Let these concluding words from the Word echo in our hearts… “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
I’ve often found it easy to relate to — yes, to identify with this passage. Did I say often? … a lot! I’m afraid this passage can be quoted as more of a crutch or excuse than we’d often like to admit. It’s far too easy to get stuck here — to acknowledge the diagnosis and be content. But that is entirely the wrong kind of contentment! This is the kind of diagnosis that calls for holy discontent. As JD Walt puts it, “Jesus waits for a generation who will not be content to live out their lives in the lazy place between belief and unbelief.”
In the greater context of this passage, it wasn’t the father of the demon-possessed boy that was so unbelieving; rather it was Jesus’ disciples — and they are confounded by their spiritual weakness. Jesus gives them the cure — prayer! Not ritualistic, going through the motions, gotta say the right words in the right order with the right emphasis incantations. But the kind of prayer that is born of intimacy — a relationship overflowing with the Spirit of Holy Love.
I don’t know about you, but lazy faith is not a characteristic I want to have my life marked by. May the Spirit of Holy Love be the very breath we breathe today. May the intimacy of this relationship overflow in continual prayer. And may we be so wholly discontent with anything less that we persevere unwaveringly in this pursuit.
This morning my thoughts turned to Scripture — the Word — the Sacred Text. The more I’ve invested time and energy into reading and studying and even simply listening to the Word being read over and over again, the more I find that various passages are illuminated in new ways — further revealing God the Father, Son, and Spirit.
It brings to mind movie scenes of text, often ancient or cryptic, etched in stone or on brittle, aged pages — text that is obscured in some way from the understanding of many or all of the characters in the plot. Then something happens to bring meaning from what had formerly been hidden or confounding — perhaps there are even special effects to emphasize the event … and Bilbo or Harry or whomever receives new and special knowledge that comes with great privilege and responsibility. But there is something more ancient than any magic ever contrived by human minds or hands.
As we diligently search the Scriptures — as we emulate the faithfulness of the Bereans of old and so many more like them down through history — we are drawn ever deeper into relationship with the God Who is Love. We desire to know the all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present, eternal One Who is beyond our human comprehension — and He reveals Himself through the illumination of His Word each day in new ways that sometimes leave us stunned to discover a Truth that was always there. And there’s always more — as abundant and boundless and infinite as Him Who is the Living Word!
Lord God, may I never cease to be amazed and filled with joyful desire to be led by You — deeper into Light and Truth. You are the source of all that is good and wonderful and pure. You are the special effects and the special knowledge — You alone are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. May the privilege and responsibility of being the loyal subject of You, my King, make me sincere and earnest in proclaiming the Good News that all may come and drink from this fountain — all may come and be made free and new in Christ — all are welcome to come and receive Jesus Who is the Word & Light & Life!