Thursday, September 29, 2011

Consumed by Him by consuming Him

Christ faithfully keeps the covenant of his presence with all who will sit still before Him with His Word and let His Spirit direct them to His Heart. Just as the priests each day offered sweet-smelling sacrifices to Him, so the sweet savor of our lives (2 Cor. 2:14-15) as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1), holy and pleasing to Him (Rom. 12:2) displays His Presence in our lives for believers and unbelievers to see. Never be content with the level of intimacy you have found in Him, but crave with Holy hunger that living Bread (John 6:35, 48-51). When we hunger to consume Him, we are consumed by Him.

Where is the appetite for Christ among those who name Him as Lord? 

Prayer is about an appetite for the Presence. Pursuing the Lord is more than showing up at church a couple times a week. So much of what we are and do are wood, hay, and stubble (1 Cor. 3:12-15). Christ will not ask you about those things. He will only ask you what he asked Peter, “Do you love me?” (John 21:15, 16, 17). The God-hearted seek Him and find reasons to adore Him more passionately. When we consume Him, we are consumed by Him.“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). This command consumes our whole being.

Heart – Loving God with all our hearts points to the feeling and fervor of our love, the heat of our love for Him. Hot coffee cools when left sitting in a cup. Without heat being applied, lukewarmness always happens. Jesus rebuked the Laodecians for lukewarm hearts (Rev. 3:15-16). We must fuel our hearts with the consuming fire (Heb. 12:28-29; Isaiah 10:17). David sought God’s own heart with a whole heart (Psalm 27:4; 138:1; 1 Chron. 28:9; Acts 13:22), begging us not to harden our own hearts (Heb. 4:6-8; Psalm 95:7-8), warming ourselves by other fires (Isaiah 50:11). We are to keep the fire of our hearts “burning on the altar continuously. It must never go out” (Lev. 6:13). Loving Him with our hearts will transform and consume them, and thereby be consumed by Him.

Soul – Loving Him with our souls means opening ourselves completely to Him. There will be no corner which has not seen the invasion of the rule of Christ. Daily and specifically he will guide us (Psalm 143:8; Isaiah 30:21) to love Him intensely, with deep emotion. Emotion is not evil; it is created. Our Creator made us with emotion in order to plumb the depths of experience. Loving Him with our souls will consume our emotions, and they will be consumed by Him.

Mind – Loving Jesus with our minds means loving Him intelligently. Of all religions, Christianity is highly intelligently focused and by itself carried the intellectual wealth of civilization for centuries. We love God with a renewed mind (Rom. 12:2) that resists the lies our enemy and of the world’s humanistic philosophies (Col 2:8-9), that gathers wisdom and power through the Classical model of grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric (Prov. 24:3-5), and that focuses on the beauty of Christ (Phil. 4:8). As we consume Christ, we find ourselves consumed by His loveliness and wisdom.

Strength – Loving God with our strength holds a strange irony. We love God most with our strength when we are our weakest (2 Cor. 12:9-10). When we are weak, then His Strength takes command. The weaker we are, the stronger He is through our lives. When our self-sufficiency is at its lowest ebb, we find ourselves strongest in His Presence. That is God’s consumer economy.
Consumers of Christ find themselves consumed by His Presence. Seekers of His Presence find Him (Deut 4:29; Jer. 29:13); they find forgiveness and healing (2 Chron. 7:14). They find His favor (Ezra 8:22) and provision (Psalm 34:10; Matt. 6:33; 7:7-11), his life (Amos 5:4), his justice (Prov. 28:5), and his righteousness (Hosea 10:12). They find answer to prayer (Heb 11:6).