Commitment in Crises
Mr. Valentine Davidar
The Lord has called us to go out into the world to reconcile a lost world back to God. Colossians 1:20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
God is in the work of reconciliation. His heart breaks over His creation, which has been estranged from Him. He is making peace with us, though humanity and all of the creation continue to remain cold towards God.
The Bible refers to God as the husband, who has been spurned by His wife. Though He is rejected by His creation, He is God who is the God of covenant love. Hosea 2:19-20 “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy; (20) I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know the LORD.
When we repent of our sin and return to God, the Lord restores us to Himself and gives to us the ministry of reconciliation.
We, therefore, must understand the task of ‘going’ that has been entrusted to us. We go out into a diffident and cold world that has no warmth towards God and we are sharing the pain of God’s heart to them, wanting them to return to Him and enjoy the fullness of life.
Man is rejecting God but man is in a pathetic and deplorable state today. As we look around us, we see destruction and dismay. People have no hope and yet people are not willing to repent and return back to God, in whom they can be healed and nourished.
We are therefore God’s ambassadors to go out into a God-rejecting world. II Corinthians 5:18-20 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, (19) that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (20) Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.
As we go out into the world, knowing the task that has been entrusted to us, we must be aware that this work of reconciling an arrogant and obstinate world back to God, happens through our lives.
Our life, therefore, is a bridge for people to cross over and come back into a relationship with God.
We came into a relationship with Jesus at the cross. We repented of our sin, sought God’s forgiveness, prayed for Jesus to come into our lives and be the King and we surrendered to the lordship of Christ over us. We appropriated the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus into our lives by faith.
I Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (4) and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
Now, this task of going out into the world and bridging people back into a relationship with Jesus happens as we continuously let God heal and change us.
There is a correlation between our own nurture and growth and that of people around us being reconciled with God. These two cannot be separated.
Many have tried to separate these two experiences in life. They talk of discipleship and growing in Christ as one separate activity that is happening is us and then they look at evangelism and mission, the task of going out and reconciling people to God, as a separate compartment of our lives. This is a grave mistake.
These two cannot be separated. Our life is one single whole. Our walk with God, our maturity in Christ and our life of being a bridge for others to come into a relationship with Jesus is a single continuum.
Allow me to explain:
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, (3) knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. (4) But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
James calls us to count it joy when we fall into various crises. That statement by itself is an enigma. All of us go through crises. No one is exempt. We live in a fallen, hurting world. We are hurt and we too cause hurt to others.
What happens when we go through crises? We experience all the emotions opposite to joy. Joy is not possible in crises but that is what James asking us to have.
How can a person have joy in the midst of a crisis?
James gives us the answer in the following verses. He first says that crises are a means of testing our faith. Faith is the basis of our relationship with God. Without faith, it is impossible to please God.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
What is faith? Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The opposite of faith is sight. II Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
God wants us to keep our eyes on Him and not on our circumstances. Remember the disciples on the boat in the raging storm. They looked at the storm and they were afraid. They forgot to look at Jesus, who was on the boat. The Lord rebuked them for their lack of faith.
How is it with you today, my friend? Are you walking your life journey by faith or are you walking by sight? Are you going to God and prescribing to Him to change your circumstances or are you willing to trust God to lead you through your circumstances?
So, crises are allowed by God into our lives to exercise and develop our faith in Him.
As we grow in faith in Jesus, we are made complete in Christ. This is God’s end goal for each of us. Christ must be formed in us. Galatians 4:19 My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,
This is God’s intention not only for each of us but this is God’s intention of the church. Ephesians 4:13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
This is the process of maturity and this is the substance of our discipleship. We ought to be focused and acutely conscious of what is happening in our lives, every day. We do not look at life experiences as random events but we are always conscious, eagerly processing, each experience with all intentionality, so that God’s end objective of Christ being formed in us is taking place.
Life for us on a daily basis is not a drudgery or a matter of survival through crises experiences but a joyful awakening to God’s work in us through the crises, for we know that He is sovereign and He is shaping us continuously into His image, which was why we were created. Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Now, we can see that the statement made by James has a solid foundational basis.
As we go through this process of daily cleansing and purification before God, there is yet another dynamic that is set in motion.
I Timothy 1:15-16 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. (16) However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
Apostle Paul calls himself the chief of sinners, at the very end of his life. That does not sound right, yet that is what Paul is saying, as he writes to Timothy.
What is Paul telling us?
As Paul drew closer and closer to God, he saw who he truly was. Paul was measuring himself against the light of God and he saw that he was the chief of sinners. This is the perspective that all of us must carry, all through life.
He then explains for us what God is doing in and through him. I’m combining the understanding that we took out of the passage in James with what we understand here in I Timothy.
We said that God is shaping us more and more into His image through the crises that we go through. This is the principle that we gleaned in James.
As we learn life’s lessons through our crisis, God is working on us with utmost patience. The process of transformation that is happening in each of us, through our crises, has a greater significance.
As we go through and learn our lessons through our crises and we are being shaped more and more into the character and nature of Christ, that very experience in us becomes a bridge for people around us to enter into eternal life.
We are the instruments and bridges through whom people around us are reconciled with God.
We must, therefore, embrace our crises and not run away from them. Many Christians are praying to God to take away their crises that they are going through.
They are not realizing that there are two crucial consequences of the crises of life. The first being that we grow in our faith in God and are being shaped into the character and nature of Christ. The second outcome is that as we are being shaped into the image of Jesus, that very process becomes a bridge for people around us to be reconciled with God.
Many times, we call ourselves the messengers of Christ, which is true. We are messengers but we are also part of the message itself.You and I cannot be separated for the gospel message of Jesus.
If we constantly embrace our crises in life and in the enablement of the Holy Spirit, learn and grow more into the image of Jesus, through the crises, our life will be a bridge, bridging people into a relationship with Jesus.
If we are running away from our crises. If we grumble and complain and we are constantly going to God, asking Him to take away the crises that we are encountering in life, then there will be two results.
One, we will not be growing in our faith and in the knowledge of Christ and secondly, our life, instead of being a bridge for others around us to be reconciled with God, will be a hindrance and we would have prevented people around us from coming into a relationship with Jesus.
These are, therefore, two options that are before us. One option is to be a bridge and the other option is to be a stumbling block.
The critical matter is the matter of the crises that we face in life. How do we deal with these crises?
Will we embrace our crises and allow God to change us more and more into His character and nature through the crises or will we run away from the crises, asking God to take away the crises?
If we reject our crises, we will not be growing into the character of Christ and we will, simultaneously, be a stumbling block, preventing others from being reconciled with God.
Our commitment to Christ is verified in the midst of the crises of life and this is the means by which the Lord is able to reconcile a lost world back to Himself, for which He has asked us to go out into our world.
May we be committed to the Lord through all our crises and realise that life is one single whole.
The way we handle our crises will determine if we have been a bridge or a stumbling block for the purpose of God.