Sunday, January 22, 2006

At Ease in Zion

"Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria..." Amos 6:1

At ease = secure, careless

Two complimentary and parallel truths expose the error of complacency, this false sense of security -- God's children are temporary residents of this world (e.g. Heb. 11:9,10), and Christ's Kingdom is not of this world (e.g. John 18:36). God's children are foreigners, aliens, wanderers, strangers and pilgrims in this world. Their citizenship is in heaven, but they sojourn here as ambassadors for Christ -- in the world, but not of it. Jesus Christ's Kingdom is not earthly, but heavenly; it is not fleshly, but spiritual. Therefore, love not the world, neither the things of the world. Be not entangled with the affairs of this life. Lay not up treasures on earth, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.

Two contradictory actions often derive from the error of complacency, not understanding the relationship of Christians to the world -- to hunker down and be like the world or to try to "Christianize" the world. Obsession with accumulating wealth, bank accounts, houses, and lands may be evidence of the former. Efforts to make "Christians" by legislation -- as opposed to waiting on God to make them -- are often fruit of the latter.

Which kingdom do you love, work for, fight for and stand for? Many times those of us denominated Christians fight for our religious liberties, yet do not enjoy the spiritual liberties we have in Christ; we fight abortion and homosexuality in the world, while carnality and spiritual adultery go unrebuked in the church; we worry over America's debt and deficit, and remain unmoved by our own spiritual bankruptcy; yea, we fight to get prayer back in the public schools, while seemingly content that it has left our homes and churches!

"Poor and afflicted, Lord are thine;
Among the great unfit to shine;
But though the world may think it strange,
They would not with the world exchange.

Poor and afflicted, yet they trust
In God, the gracious, wise and just;
For them He deigns this lot to choose,
Nor would they dare His will refuse.

Poor and afflicted, oft they are
Sorely oppressed with want and care;
Yet He who saves them by His blood,
Makes every sorrow yield them good.

Poor and afflicted--yet they sing,
For Christ, their glorious, conquering King,
Through sufferings perfect, reigns on high,
And does their every need supply.

Poor and afflicted, filled with grief--
O Lord, afford us kind relief,
To cheer the heart that heaves a sigh,
And wipe the tears from every eye.

Poor and afflicted--yet ere long,
They'll join the bright celestial throng,
And all their sufferings then shall close,
And heaven afford them sweet repose." - Thomas Kelly

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