Originally published at road2wholeness.com on 1/31/17
The Power of Contrast
The Power of Contrast
Welcome back! Thank you for taking the read and another stroll with the Road2Wholeness Blog!
So, this is officially the last blog in this "Power" series. I must say, I really enjoyed watching this series unfold and develop. Well, stretch out and let’s get this walk!
Today the subject is contrast.
Surely right now in the USA, this is a clear theme. Yet, my mind is not called to the obvious. My attention has been called to a few of the interesting ways in which I believe God uses contrast to speak to larger, and naturally unseen issues and contradictions.
Two interesting things happened in my life nearly at the same time that called my attention to contrast. Last October as I began to face the spiritual depth of an abortion I had in my late teens, a family member gave birth prematurely to twins. Naturally, being someone who reflects a lot, something stood out. I thought I wouldn’t be surprised if premature birth is a contrasting way God speaks to the validity of early pregnancies.
Then I began to think about marriage. I thought about how the people who will tell you that they are the ones who are justified under the biblical sanction of marriage, still find it hard to properly exemplify the original plan for marriage. They often use it selfishly and inappropriately, and even disregard the sanction. It then made me think of the parable of The Wedding Banquet in the bible, where Jesus told a story of a man who had prepared a wedding banquet and sent out invitations, only to be met with excuses. None of the invitees paid attention. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant to go out and compel all types of people to come in. You see, God is always trying to get the attention of the people who are called by His name.
What I saw from that story is that, when those who are called don’t answer, others are chosen. I see that statement also acted out in The New Testament when the Gentiles received salvation. The Gentiles became a part of the chosen, while many who “were called” to receive the gift of salvation simply chose not to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the scripture below the Apostle Peter responds regarding the baptizing of the Gentiles who Jews like himself were not formerly associated with.
From Acts 15:8-9
“And God, who knoweth the heart, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as He did unto us and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith”.
What is powerful in that first conversion of Gentile to Christian is that the Apostle Peter recognized the Spirit of God, and yielded to it without conflict. Peter being one of Jesus’ disciples and one of the witnesses of His post-resurrection sighting certainly could handle the task. However, we know that was the purpose of God from the beginning because scripture says, “For God so loved the world…” Yet, I find it interesting that God left the matter to be administered by man. The bible may not have fully encapsulated this, but this idea was a big one and the issue was very sensitive.
One of the pressing issues of modern times is that believers have a difficult time identifying scriptural principle and progression in reality. We use scripture to motivate and encourage our positions but often separate the motivation from the message. So many scriptural fragments are floating around while they exist completely outside of the context they were written.
Ultimately, God knew man could never fulfill the law. So as scripture says … “While we were still sinners Christ died.” Why then would He still be waiting on us to get righteous to get saved? No, He saved us already! He loves us so much that He didn’t wait. He loves us so much that He bridged the gap that we might have no excuse why we can’t come to Him. He loves us so much and all He is asking is that we acknowledge how much He loved us by believing in His Son, Jesus Christ. That’s it! From there He will give us the abilities and strengths we need to overcome and live out the Destiny He designed for us.
More importantly, He will walk with us closely as we move from simply accepting His love to falling in love with Him. This is the component that many Christians don’t see. Many of the things that they expect man to do cannot be done fully until man loves the Lord and that is a journey all onto itself. Not to mention a very personal one. That is why Jesus said… “If you love Me, you will keep My commands.” Yet He makes it easy to love Him. He pours out His mercies so lavishly that you can’t help but love Him. And this is the only reason in Him you will see your flaws; it’s so you can then see His mercies for what they are. Again, a lesson in contrast.
In the meantime while all this reform is taking place at different stages for many, we are asked to love our neighbor as ourselves; which is really a command for mercy. He is saying, see you neighbor in your sin. This is powerful because we cannot have compassion for what we don’t understand. So He says, see you neighbor as yourself; see your neighbor in your sin… and then “Love Your Neighbor as Yourself”. Therefore, as much as you want forgiveness for yourself, want it for your neighbor.
Lastly, I’ll say this. I’ll like to reference the scripture from above again, where the Apostle Peter said in (Acts 15:8), “And God, who knoweth the heart, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as He did unto us.”
I believe that the Apostle Peter’s ability to make a solid decision in the case of salvation for the Gentiles was that he honored the fruit of the spirit which he witnessed in the Gentile man Cornelius who God had instructed to send for Peter.
Likewise, in present day, I believe that Christians must become more familiar and sensitive to the fruit of the Spirit and show reverence to God by honoring the Spirit wherever it is sighted.
Ultimately, that is what the Apostle Peter did. He was a mere man, but He submitted to Spirit of God. And, even if He had stumbled, God would honor his heart.
This is my piece of walk for today. Thanks for joining me.
Remember to go within that you may never go without, The God within you awaits you! Until our paths collide again, I wish you... Peace, Love, Life, and Complete Wholeness in Christ!
NaTisha Renee Williams