Monday, June 28, 2010
2 Timothy 3:16-17 declares the God's words are relevant: "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof (authoritative standard), for correction (restoration and improvement), for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate (complete/perfect), equipped (finished) for every good work". My oversimplified translation of the text would be, "God's exhaled words are relevant so that God's people can be relevant." By myself, nothing about me matters, however when I am useful to God as a vessel containing the relevant word of God--then I too am relevant.
The prophet Isaiah had a near-death experience when he was caught up in a vision and saw the Lord of Glory sitting on His throne. "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because i am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips" (Isaiah 6:5). A moment later he is kissing a red-hot coal from the altar of God. Unclean lips become relevant evidently when they encounter the refinement of the altar's fire. Isaiah is commissioned then to take his coal-kissed lips and speak to the unclean people from which he comes. What an idea--send a man of unclean lips to speak to a people characterized by unclean lips. Isaiah was relevant.
"For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus sake. For God, who said, 'Light shall shine out of darkness,' is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will of God and not from ourselves" (2 Corinthians 4:5-7). What Paul is saying is that our relevancy comes through Christ's holiness--not our own. I preach Christ--not David (Thank God). However, the darkness that has characterized my life (unclean lips if you will) is a perfect backdrop in which to display the glory of Christ. If you should go to buy a diamand in a jewelry store, the jeweler will place the diamond on a black cloth in order to provide the best possible contrast. The diamond never looks better than when it is contrasted with the darkness of the background. Jesus looks awesome against the backdrop of my failures. His glory really shines when contrasted with the darkness of my heart. I'm just a clay jar--but I'm filled with treasure. My relevance comes not in my flesh (my jar, my unclean lips, my success and my failure) but rather my relevance is in the treasure that I display--Jesus!
James 2:14-26 further defines our relevance as those acts that meet the needs of others. James declares that our religion is worthless if it doesn't feed the hungry and clothe the poor. It's more important to be relevant than it is to be religious. Jesus was (and is) relevant!
God is calling us sinners to go speak to other sinners. We do so in a relevant way by meeting needs and by allowing Jesus to be glorified in our pain and weakness. It's not a religious exercise--it's relevant and life-giving care. We are to live in such a way that life-change will happen around us.
Jesus looks great in you!