P.O. Box 95
Broadway, VA 22815
Eyes to See and Ears to Hear
January 1, 2007
1 Corinthians 3:18-23
The noted Bible teacher and author A.T. Robertson writes, “One’s viewpoint has much to do with what one sees.” In 1 Peter 5:10 Peter declares that we are called. We are the pursued and God is the One who calls us. Almighty God has summoned us out of our slumber and has opened our eyes and ears. We are beckoned to come and follow Him.
In beginning this New Year it is apparent that humanity is moving in unsettling times. At any crossroad it is imperative that shepherds and teachers prepare the flock. I am persuaded that many times we as the body of Christ are hindered through distractions and interruptions designed to steal our identity. Identity Theft, recently preached by Murray Derksen in a four part series with Larry Boss at Maadi Community Church in Cairo Egypt, plagues our modern culture and is a direct assault to hinder and intimidate Christians all across the globe.
I pondered this message from Derksen and was struck at how easily I fell into this trap. The ultimate form of theft occurs without the individual realizing it. Deception if you will can only occur if one does not recognize it or chooses to disregard the consequences of the truth. In our Western culture we are constantly bombarded with images and morays dictated through a body of law, oaths and cultural traditions. Our culture, government and fellow citizens attempt to influence us to live their lives rather than being Christ like.
Our media with its powerful images both on the screen and in print conveys certain messages. The interactions with different people daily and input from their opinions and lifestyle choices can alter our perceptions of identity. Identity theft takes places when others live their lives through us. This happens all the time. So what do we do about this? In Western culture we receive, on average, ten hours of input daily. What are the sources of this input? It would be a worthwhile exercise to list these daily input sources and refer back to it throughout 2007 to identify forms of input that can steal our identity.
In 1 Corinthians we have a letter written to recipients that mirrors our Western culture today. Earlier in chapter 3 of this letter Paul teaches the importance of building on a solid foundation. In the end, our work will be tested for what it really is. The identification of it will be made known. Right now in human history things are muddled and the evidence is a bit clouded. Deep down in our hearts we know something is not right with what we are seeing. In verse 18 Paul says, “Let no one deceive himself.” In this context this means as we relate to cultures around us and the explanations they give us to join them in their cause. God says seeking this type of wisdom is foolishness.
For the most part people know they were created to worship God but they turn and build on things they can see. In verse 21 Paul states, “Therefore let no one boast in men.” I have come to realize that people mean too much to me. Their opinions and approval have become too important and thereby have acted as a deceptive influence. This has provided a powerful source of anger that has at its root self-betrayal. Thinking too highly of others and ascribing certain abilities sets me up for failure. The things that only Jesus can do through me I tried to make happen on my own terms and in my ways with resources that I could see. This is the ultimate form of deception at its best.
Where does this come from? It comes from our identity being stolen. In verse 23 we read “And you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.” That is a powerful equation. We belong to Jesus and He belongs to the Father. Our identity is in Him. Not in others or in things. Not in the present or things to come but in Him and in His unfailing love. During unsettling times we can become susceptible to doing things we normally should not do.
My response to unsettling times and this certain season is to not allow myself to become deceived nor boast in men. To do this successfully I will need to hone in on my purpose and not allow others to pry me from what I know I should be doing. I will look to people as they are— just people. I will not expect them to be something they are not or supply things they are not willing to do. I will strive to keep my identity in Jesus Christ, knowing I am complete in Him and He will supply His unfailing love. I will look to simplify my approach and wait for the right things to emerge. Like the Cormorant I will spend time in the sun drying my wings— waiting for the certain season to fly.
Written by Lawrence R. Yoder - Director