Imitating God

The role-model for all who are serving God is our master Jesus Christ Himself. It is particularly Isaiah who portrays the Messiah as the Servant. He is described as the Servant – whom God upholds, the chosen one in whom is God’s delight.

His life is portrayed as a life in the Holy Spirit and His mission as bringing forth justice to the nations.

About His life and work we read that:

  • He did not cry aloud
  • He did not lift up His voice
  • He did not make His voice heard in the street
  • He did not break a bruised reed
  • He did not quench the faintly burning wick

Yet, He faithfully brought forth justice.

He did not grow faint or discouraged – at the face of people’s misplaced expectations, disciples who were slow to understand, the betrayer, the denier, the deserters, the burden of all the sins of humanity, the cross, the wrath of God, etc.

Yes, and He will not stop – till He has established justice on the earth. For the coastlands and hinterlands wait for His Word, which is the New Covenant.

When we model ourselves like our Master who became the Servant for our sake, we need to remind ourselves that:

  • More than crying aloud
  • More than lifting up our voice
  • More than making ourselves heard in the street
  • And, definitely, there is no need to break any bruised reed
  • Nor do we need to quench the faintly burning wick

Serving God is not about how we perform. It is all about faithfulness to the cause of justice as demonstrated by God Himself in Christ Jesus.

It is about not fainting or becoming discouraged at the face of all the challenges, troubles, and set-backs that may come against us.

It is about not stopping till justice is established on the earth by God’s reign.

It is all about taking the Word, the message of the New Covenant to the coastlands and hinterlands of the planet.

It is about seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

And in that pursuit, may our Master who does sympathise with us and our struggles, help us and continue to use us for His kingdom, His glory.

Christian faith is the only movement in all of human history that grew by its virtue of soft-power. So much was the dynamic of its tenderness that it grew and continues to grow on the blood, shed by the faithful martyrs, who loved Jesus more than their own lives.

On the other hand, in situations where political and financial might were employed, the inner strength has been found declining.

So it is not about our outward strength, it is about our inner strength. It is not about what we say, how long we speak, or how loud we are. It is about how well we live. It is not about the gifts we can flaunt. It is about the fruits we need to bear.

So, let us cast down, willingly, the ambitions we have in ministry and in the using of our talents; and confess the Lordship and reign of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

And like Jesus did, let us also bear fruit in abundance without making any fuss, without making a show.

Our Appointment is With God Himself

Great is the steadfast love and faithfulness of the LORD God towards those whom He calls. When God calls us to Him, He is calling us to leave what we have naturally inherited or are naturally inclined to. So faith journey is this process of leaving what we are disposed with or are in pursuit of and receive God Himself as our inheritance and our portion.

Our life is all set to change; about which the New Testament testifies: “Behold, all things are made new.”

As great and wonderful was the role of the land of Canaan in God’s salvific work through Abraham and his descendants – I believe, the personal call of Abraham was to God Himself. For him, the land of Canaan served the purpose of giving him a sense of direction.

When we look at our own life as New Testament believers, it is wonderful to find our attachment to the community of God’s people and also to be led by God to serve Him in some capacity. I affirm that they are greatly profitable both to us and to God’s kingdom. Nonetheless, we should remember they are also signboards that point us to the ultimate call of God to Himself.

The delays and trials in our faith journey, particularly in places that we call ‘spiritual’ and places where we are led by God Himself, can be better understood by us if we take into account this aspect of God’s call. That He has called us to Himself and for Himself. That He is our reward and portion, our great and lasting inheritance. Which none can take away from us.

The land of ‘Canaan’ is God’s idea, albeit a shadow of things eternal. But this ‘Canaan,’ along with the good it has to offer also gives us its share of delays, doubts, and troubles. But there is no dearth of joy – because it is the Lord God who has called us and not the land. We go through the land, we may live in the land, but our call is definitely heavenward – to God Himself.

As New Testament believers, we need to become a part of a fellowship; we need to be involved in serving God. Although all these things are a blessing to us and others too, they do fall short and may actually disappoint us on occasions, giving us serious doubts and also trials. However, let us always remind ourselves that our appointment is with God Himself.

“That our Appointment is with God Himself.”

Eleazar was a sensible man and he had a logical question or doubt regarding finding a bride for Isaac from the kindred of Abraham, his master, with the condition that Isaac will continue in God’s call. That the call of God cannot be compromised. So we find the land of Canaan raising a very serious question regarding the life of Isaac, who was called to live there.

But then, when Eleazar sees the work of God in leading him amazingly, he says –

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master.”

Seeing Abundance Made From Our Little Life

God is so very generous when He blesses us.

The five loaves – taken, blessed, broken, and given did not merely meet the requirements of the very large crowd of people – it is written that all ate and were satisfied and they took 12 baskets of the leftover pieces.

It was only very little to begin with. However, because of Jesus there was an abundance.

Your own life may be only very little before the humongous needs of the people, the church, or your own life situation. But then, because of Jesus Christ you can become an abundance of resource.

To begin with, our spiritual gifting and the call are so very little. When we start, it seems hardly anything is happening, that the impact is so meagre. But, when our spiritual gifting and our call are all offered unconditionally to Jesus Christ, He can create an abundance, using us for the benefit of many.

Homemade bread is uniquely flavoured, unlike the factory produced ones, because of many factors small or big. The grain, the mill, the vessel in which the flour is kept, the hand that kneads it, the vessel/oven in which it is cooked, the kind of fire or heat employed, the packing – all combine to make homemade bread unique.

So also, is our life.

The environment that gives us growth, the people who wound us, the circumstances that crush us, the situations that contain or restrict us, the hands that inflict pain, the trials of life that cook us, the new situations that receive us – all combine to make us uniquely flavoured.

So what do we do now?

We need our very life to be taken by Jesus Christ.

We need to hear Jesus Christ say a word of blessing over our life.

We need to be broken by Him – and that may be asking for more pain.

And we need to be given or used as He alone deems fit.

This is exactly what we need to see happen with our life. And if it all turns out well – there is every chance of becoming an abundance of blessing, but then there is also every chance that we will lose our life as we know it. We are definitely bound to lose control over our life.

So, will we invite Jesus Christ to take us in His hands, to say a blessing on us, to break us (ouch!), and to give us for the benefit of many?

For God can make so much more of our life, than what we can do with our life.

Saved to be Strong in God

Isaiah 30:15 says – “In returning and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

We will try to understand the four words in this verse that describe our spiritual life.

This prophetic utterance of Isaiah describes the salvation experience with the usage of two words: 1. Returning and 2. Rest.

1. In Returning Back to God

To the place where we were made to be, to belong to God.

It talks of a restored relationship and also giving up on going independently of God. It talks of the journeying back through all the wrongs.

It encourages the addressing of issues face to face and does not prescribe a superficial treatment of sin problem. In this returning back to God the saviour – we are justified by God Himself. We neither need to wallow in guilt nor need to make any pitiful attempts of justifying ourselves.

So, let us return back to God.

2. In Rest which describes the kind of life the saved are called to possess.

In a very simple way of seeing history – “Humanity became restless after eating the forbidden fruit. But when we consume Jesus Christ, we are appropriated back to the state of rest.”

It promises harmony and a life without fear. It speaks of the sufficiency of trusting God and living freely under the shadow of His wings.

It encourages us to scoff at the suggestions of the evil one and deny the fleshly longings of the self, while learning to remain content in obedience to God.

So, let us find that rest in God.

The other part of the prophecy describes the strength of life in God, using two words: 1. Quietness, and 2. Trust.

3. In Quietness – which is the result of spiritual strength.

The more we find strength in God the more we find it easy to remain quiet. The more we fellowship quietly with God the more of His strength do we discover within us by His grace.

Of course shouting, proclaiming, celebrating, etc. have their vital roles in the expression of our faith. But we need to balance such expressions with quietness, solitude, contemplation, etc.

This should encourage us to fix times of intense, rich and meaningful fellowship with God – and quietness is the best way to do so.

So, let us be drawn close to God in quietness.

4. In Trust – we remain strong in God.

The more we realize that there is no vital strength without God, the more we are made to trust in Him and we become stronger in His strength.

Unlike the world where strength is charecterized by independence and self-sufficiency, spiritual strength in Christ Jesus is defined by increasing trust in God and in self-denial.

This should encourage us to discover more of our weaknesses and helplessness and the simultaneous joy in also discovering that the strength of God is richly provided for us in all those areas of our vulnerabilities.

So, let us find joy in realizing our weakness and the supply of God’s strength in our life.

For thus said Isaiah the blessed prophet: “In returning and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15, ESV) 

God Delights to Help You

God delights to show us the path of life:

God does not want us to lose our way. Human beings are notoriously prone to lose the way. It is far easier and more probable for us to lose the way than to make it right.

Going to God is the straight and hence the shortest path ever before us. But we mess it up most times and wander away from God rather than go to Him. Moreover, having lost the way – we find it most difficult to acknowledge that we are lost, let alone turn around and go back to God.

Nevertheless, for those who would go back to God, the good news is that – God delights to show us the path of life

God delights to give us His presence:

God does not want us to be alone. Human beings are created for company. Actually, we are specifically designed to be in the presence of God. However, we are so bent on trying out all other options other than God’s fellowship that we may wait for options that are not even there.

The more we try out other options – the lonelier we feel. We keep longing – but nothing ever satisfies. But for any who would seek to experience God’s presence – the good news is that – God is not far away. God delights to give us His presence.

God delights to give us victory:

God does not want us to fail. Human beings are most afraid of failure. We do not want to fail. While failure is a serious problem for most people, the tragedy is that most of the winning is happening in the wrong contests – in ‘events’ that actually do not count.

That is the reason for the empty feeling that sometimes accompanies the winning experience. As good as every victory can be to us – we need to ask ourselves – “Is this the purpose of our life? Do we need to do something more or something different?”

God has a plan for us. And not only the plan, His desire is that we should win. It is when we do it in His purpose and do it by His rules, that we truly feel victorious. And though the world may not have the slightest clue of what we are doing – our Lord God would surely stand and applaud.

For those who seek to win, even though such a person may be under the bitterest of defeats, the good news is that God wants us to be victorious in its true sense.

Let us join the Psalmist in telling God – “Thou wilt show me the path of life, and I shall be filled with the joy of thy countenance, with the pleasure of victory of thy right hand.” (Psalm 16:11, The Lamsa translation of the Peshitta (Aramaic Bible) which is the authorized Bible of the Church of the East.)