Artwork by Elideth Ceniceros
By Dr. Henderson Ward
Everywhere you look, humanity is on the search for the utmost, the best, the maximum, the record, the furthermost, the ultimate. There are even books, like the Guinness Book of Records, that exist to deal with nothing except the finding, and recording, of such achievements.
Every sportsperson dreams of being in the record books, as being the ultimate in his sport; some even do dishonest and dangerous things, like imbibing dangerous, performance enhancing substances, to reach their desired goals that of coming out on top and gaining the accolade of being the best, the greatest, the fastest.
Even ordinary people, like vacationing tourists, go to great lengths to find the greatest and best thrills available. Some of the risks they take, like going in certain underground caves, or climbing some craggy, treacherous mountain peaks, are simply mind-blowing. And even the prospect of death or serious injury does not have a sobering effect on these thrill seekers, or so it appears.
There is a certain place in Africa where the ultimate in risk taking, and visceral thrills, takes place on an annual basis. The local participants jump from a tall tree, with a rope tied to their ankles, with the aim of falling as near to the ground as possible without touching it. The winner is the one who ends up with his head closer to the ground without touching it.
As to be expected, some are too daring and hit their heads on the ground with lethal, head-smashing force, others smash bits off their heads, and the one who ends up with his head closest to the earth without touching it, is declared the champion for that year, and is feted like a monarch.
Why people go to such extraordinary lengths to achieve something, anything, speaks to something within us humans that is frightfully mysterious. Maybe it’s a yearning for something durable, something that will last beyond our earthly tenure, something that outlives our present usefulness; maybe even a search for immortality.
If the record books show that you were the fist person to set foot on Mars, does that make you immortal? No, it does not; except for your misguided sense of immortality.
Humans strive for all kinds of achievements, in all spheres of life, and in truth all such achievements, for the few who manage to attain them, do not deliver the deep and lasting fulfilment that they had hoped for.
Why do some rich people commit suicide?
Why do so many famous celebrities commit suicide?
Because the greatest thing in the world, the one thing above all else that is worth achieving, has eluded them.
A man cannot worthily be defined by the number of toys he has acquired, nor by the material chaff that he has accumulated, nor even by the number and status of his friends and acquaintances. All the money in the world, all the fame you have acquired, cannot buy you one once of love.
The true measure of a man, the ultimate achievement of any human being, is the visible, efficacious transition to a state of love. This is the state where love is the core, the principle and periphery of his very being. When he acts, he acts naturally out of the reservoir of love; when he thinks, he does so from a mind consumed with love; and when he speaks, the love flows as gracefully as a gorgeous waterfall down the rugged mountain.
This state of being, though highly exalted, is reachable; and no one can reach it without direct divine assistance.
Even in the church they are many who have not, as yet, transitioned to this status.
This love commences when we have acquired sufficient wisdom to understand the reality, not just the theory, of Almighty God, and His input into our reality. The Bible puts it like this: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful” (Romans 1:21). To really know God is to trust his word and claim his promises, and experience the graces that flow as a result.
The only avenue to this love is through trust in God; and many hesitate to do that.
No one can naturally love just like that. It is because of God’s love for us, that we in turn have acquired the status of love. God’s love for us is the catalyst and the reason we love. It starts with God and the Bible so acknowledges: “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
It is only by understanding the ineffable love of God, a love that is perfect, inexhaustible, and utterly devoid of anything remotely harmful, that we get a sense of this love.
It is that love that sent Jesus Christ to sacrifice his life, that we might have a chance of redemption, and of which the Bible declares, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
It is that love, in all its splendid abundance, and gracious facilitation to sonship, that is expressed here, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1))
It is that love that the sensuous man cannot grasp, and the carnal mind cannot perceive, but every child of God, who truly believes, has obtained and become.
It is that love where God is, for we know that the believer that dwells in love dwells in God; because God is love.
The question of the moment, and this is a supreme question of huge importance, is this. How can we acquire this status, how are we to have this love transferred to our innermost being, how do we transition from where we are, to where we ought to be?
The answer lies in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the epitome of God’s love, he is not just the image we emulate, but the essence and substance of it. Just as God IS love, in like manner, Jesus IS love.
To fully appreciate this enriching and invigorating experience, believers must, of necessity, so commit to Jesus that the two personalities become as one. This persona, that people see, must be so infused with the imprint of Jesus that without us declaring it, people will say, “There goes a Christian.”
Look again at the components of love, and you will see each and every one abundantly, and resplendently manifested in Jesus Christ:
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. Love will never end.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 Easy to Read Version)
The blending of our personality with that of Jesus Christ is part of the conversion experience and the Bible declares it thus: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
But conversion is not everything, just like buying a house does not make it a home, so you need to do a lot of work in both cases.
And the work to burnish that image, make it shine reflectively of Christ, is by practicing total, selfless obedience: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
Finding it hard to live peaceably with your neighbours? Then try perfecting your love.
Finding it hard to reach across the colour/cultural barrier? Then try deepening your love.
Finding it hard to cope with life’s burdens? Then try relying more on Him who loves you.
It is by being TRULY converted, and DAILY following the directions of our Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, that our ability to love and become love is graciously perfected.
And it is only in this state that you become more than conqueror, and can endorse with assurance, and honour, the sentiments of the Apostle Paul when he said:
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
Try it SINCERELY, and you will find, that this magnificent love, conquers all.
Books by this author (non-fiction except indicated otherwise)
E-books Published by Amazon.com
If you do not have a Kindle then when you access the site, click on How Buying Works and you will see the FREE apps for Computer, Cell phone, etc Then click as appropriate.
(Please click on the appropriate book link or cut and paste in your URL)
THINGS EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD KNOW (e-book)
Volume 1 Five tough facts to be faced
STAND UP TO THE DEVIL (e-book)
Volume 1 You must first identify him
BASTARD: A STORY OF REDEMPTION(e-book fiction)
ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (Hard copy)
ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (e-book)
Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward’s career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013
Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>