Tuesday, November 25

Thresholds to cross......

"Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:4 (ASV)

"What then shall we say of that happiness to come which is promised to the saints, which we consider to be nothing else but the pure and unmediated contemplation of the Divine Essence itself?" - Eriugena, Periphyseon, Irish, 9th century

I have the priviledge of watching my son grow into the community of men, straining at the imposed limitations that his father, who in many aspects, isn't ready to let him dive into that world, though he is nearer and nearer to that realization of acceptance. As I watch him gaze into that world that I hopefully have represented to him well and truthfully, I can help but hope that I gaze at the future my Savior has promised me with such eagerness and impatience as well.

Soon, my son will take his place within the community of men, and begin another part of the journey home.

There is a set design to manhood, one created and implemented by the Creator God Himself, where man was purposed, and enabled to fulfill that purpose. Adam began the fall of all men since to fail to live up to that standard. Scott Engelmann, Mark Jackson, and the leaders of Awakened Hearts have been burdened to renew that call to all men to be godly men of godly design, boldly displaying the biblical model of masculinity with unabashedly Christian truths. This is the world of men that I want my son to join, this is the community where men grow men from boyhood to manhood to fatherhood and beyond.

It also has me reflecting upon the community of Christ, that godly community where the faithful grow from milk to solids, and are emboldened to be not merely broken humanity, but broken humanity striving towards God with an intensity that burns through the burdens and trials of this world.

T.M. Moore reflects, "One is a Christian who fears and loves God, believes in Jesus for the forgiveness of his sins, and lives increasingly the life of holiness, righteousness, and goodness which is the result of obedience to God's Law."
In the world of humanism, secularism, and universal 'interchangeable' truth, this is often times an unrealized goal of many cultural, and immoral Christians. It isn't a life most will subscribe to; to know you are bound to be 'this-short' of the achievement of godliness, predestined in a way to fail, but needing to try and strive for it anyway. It is like two men climbing a steep hill. One keeps slipping and sliding, up and down, in the loose damp dirt that defies his attempts at purchase. The other, a few feet away, barely leans into the incline, his feet steady eating ground away as he heads towards the top.

The Christian, of course, is the one who is struggling in the mire of life.....

Christianity isn't a laughing business; you can't put on the clothes just for Sunday service and consider yourself holy and just. You can't just drive meals to shut-ins once a month and consider yourself righteous. You can't just simply donate that 'extra' few dollars to a ministry and say you're an evangelist. Christianity is a lifestyle of constant and evolving changes, a permanent state of disruption and change.

It has to be a lifetime commitment, because we will never be what we are intended and designed to be in this lifetime.

It doesn't bounce from moments of great joy to utter dismay. It remains constantly pressing the ceiling of its limitations and finds the purest joy and peace in knowing that such a ceiling will always be notched higher and higher.

"Real Christians," T.M. Moore says, "endure every hardship and press on to know the Lord and follow Him, come what may."

"We are not free to be Christians on our terms," Moore concludes. Indeed, there is nothing within the Bible that mankind has determined is right and just that has not fallen victim to its own creators. As we step into the world of economic failures, world crisis, and wars; it is those who have developed the muscles from carrying the burdens for so long that will be there to pick up their brethren when they fall and help them towards home.

It is those soliders who have fought that battle constantly over the flesh who have that thousand-yard stare, focused solely upon the heavenly gates of our final destination.

As my son gathers himself to begin the journey from boyhood to that greater challenge of manhood, he leaves behind childish things....well, most childish things....as he stands before the group of men and gains acceptance into the community of manhood. The only child-like thing I hope he carries on with him is the humility he's had as a child and has taught me to realize as a man.

As I gather myself to begin the next part of the journey home, as a man of God and face the gathered throng of critics, supporters, and the indifferent....I hope that I can carry that child-like humility too.

I don't know when I'll cross that threshold....but I know how I want to cross it when I get there.......

"Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus." - Revelation 14.12

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