Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Point of the Sword

“Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “This boy is assigned to be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that generates opposition so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your innermost being too.”   Luke 2:34-35  CEB

“Lord, I realize that to be a follower of Jesus I must feel the point of the sword”.  The prophecy of Simeon to Mary, “….a sword will pierce even your own soul” (Luke 2:35 KJV), is true of anyone who is willing to let Christ be formed in them.

The pain of following Jesus is not merely rejection by the world or even loved ones.  It is the rejection of self.   The other kinds of pain….the ones caused by man…are easily borne because Jesus is our Comforter and Companion.

The pain of self-rejection is one that has no antidote.   The very cure for that pain is the One who allows the pain in the first place, Jesus.  Therefore, there is nothing to do but bear the growth of Jesus in me.

The pain of the sword is a lifelong experience, since self is always with me and will fight bitterly against every attempt to put my “flesh” (selfishness) to death.

My flesh sometimes cries out loudly for expression, whether by lust, greed, pride or revenge and this expression runs up against the sword of Jesus.  The pain of Jesus is the pain of an alternative: I cannot have Jesus and my sinful desires at the same time.     

The only consolation I have in this painful battle is the same one Mary had….bring Jesus to birth, it is worth it all!    To see Him “formed” in me and visible to someone else is worth all the anguish and rejection.

To see Him loved, worshipped and accepted by others, as Mary eventually did, is my ultimate delight and joy.  “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” (I Thess. 5:24) is the word for me today, as I allow Jesus to be formed in me.

“There's far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There's also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting”.  Phil. 1:29  Message Bible

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