Where Are the Forks?

I find that I often have the same difficulty Paul experienced when he writes in Romans 7 that the good he wants to do he doesn’t do and the bad that he doesn’t want to do is what he often does.

He goes on to say that it is the sin within him that is causing this problem. This is not to say as the comedian Flip Wilson once remarked, “the Devil made me do it.” No, Paul has something more serious in mind. It’s Paul’s own willingness to sin that is the problem. It’s his own ego, his territory that is getting in the way. Once you have set the boundaries on your particular territory you have created a playground for sinful behavior, selfish behavior that may evidence itself in anger, jealousy, pride and worry.

Paul is writing that the only way out of this dilemma is through Christ and the formation of Christ within us. See Galatians 4:19.

Paul even comments at the end of chapter 7, ‘but in the sinful nature I am a slave to the law of sin.’ Or as the Message paraphrase has it, ‘ but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.’ (Vs. 25)

What I prefer to say is that all territory belongs to Christ. I have no King but Christ. I cannot let me ego dictate to me what is right and wrong. All I want is Christ in me and then I can do what Christ would do in my body.

Now last night is an example. I was getting ready for dinner with my wife and noticed there were no forks in the drawer where day by day I would normally find forks. So I mentioned it and my wife said that all the silverware happened to be in the dishwasher. The understanding I got from that, after 45 years of marriage, was that it might be a good think if I, for once, took care of that little issue. Yeah, I got annoyed, thinking that maybe she could have asked me nicely to unload the dishwasher. See, I have my territorial issues. Don’t make inferences about my ineptness when it comes to helping out around the house.

So there I was, wanting to do good but not able. The good, in this case, was just having a nice attitude about the whole thing. Now I could say that some ugly demon was living his life in me but no, that’s not the case. I am my worst demon sometimes. Another word perhaps is ‘selfish’. So I have to enlarge my territory by making it all belong to Christ and then nothing can take me from God’s love not even subtle inferences about my responsibilities.

 

 

KING OF THE WORLD

Let’s be clear. This world does not belong to Satan, the devil or any other powers and principalities. We may be fighting against their miserable terrorism (Ephesians 6) and they might be called the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2) and even ‘prince of the world’ (John 14) but make no mistake his princely crown is paper and the lie of his lips is that the world somehow belongs to him (Matthew 4- the temptation of Jesus.)

But King Jesus is the ruler of all empires of this world. In fact it’s why his disciples and Paul often got into trouble because they claimed there was another King, Jesus, and the Romans didn’t take kindly to such a proclamation. (Acts 17)

And the disciple John made it clear that greater is the Christ in you and me than any power in this world. (1John4)

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem to his own death he was coming on a donkey as a King, the King of the world, the universe, King to dethrone any powers that might think to be somehow rulers of this creation. He was taking his rightful place as King.

He tells his disciples in John 16 that though they will have tribulation in the world they don’t have to be afraid because he has overcome the world. And through faith in this same Christ we are the ‘overcomers’ with him. His faith given to us is our assurance of victory.

So when the day does not go well for you or the forces of darkness are surrounding your life you simply tell them in the most biblical sense, ‘go to hell’. ‘Be gone.’ We serve a risen King, a powerful Emperor, a sovereign God and nothing will separate us from his love. Nothing. Nada. Zip. No other ruler can make that claim or keep that promise.

And if you feel as if you life is falling apart at the moment you remember that just when the whole world seemed as though it was falling, at the crucifixion, God was doing his mightiest act of salvation and good for his own glory and to make sure that you and know that no matter what is going on we are his children.

So let’s take this day and celebrate what it means to be a child of God with joy and happiness.

And since mothers’ and fathers’ day is coming let’s rejoice that God who acts the most loving of both cradles us in his arms. You tell the devil that, or anybody who thinks to mess with you this or any other day. Amen.