The Bare Soul -
December 21, 2008
Psalm 116:15 - Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His godly ones.
When reading this verse, one must be careful to remove all morbidity from what God is seeking to reveal. David's theme throughout this psalm is thanksgiving for deliverance from death. On one hand, he is grateful to the Lord that his life has been spared. Yet, on the other, he also knows that God welcomes the godly man or woman into the heavenly realms with arms outstretched in love. Physical death is not be sought in this life as a Christian, but it is to welcomed when we know our life has been spent for Him. There is a deep sense of knowing in the heart of the redeemed that God the Father looks upon His children that pass from one life to the next as His most precious possession. The scriptures tell us in Luke 15:10 that ... "there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents". The love, joy, and expectation is just beginning when a sinner turns from sin and believes. The climactic eternal conclusion will be when the Father says, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master." (Matthew 25:23)
While it is unfitting and morbid to actually long for physical death, God puts a yearning within the heart of every true believer to experience another type of death even as he or she lives upon this earth. When one dies to carnality and the deeds of the flesh, then the rebirth of the Holy Spirit within our spirits can truly manifest. To be truly free from sin is nothing less than having dealt a death blow to all that controlled our lives before accepting Christ as our Savior. Even as His godly one's physical deaths are precious in His sight, so also does He delight when those who are called by His name renounce the things of this world and seek His face and His glory. This "living-death" while on this earth that brings true joy to the soul (and also to the Father's) is only a prelude to what we will experience in the life to come. For only to the degree of sanctification or "setting ourselves apart for the Lord", will we truly experience the depths of His love and joy.
Paul experienced such a depth of sanctification and oneness with Christ on this earth that He longed for the ultimate experience of oneness with Christ by giving up his life on earth to be with Him. Paul stated in Philippians 1:22-23 that he was hard-pressed from two different directions -- one, to stay and help build up the churcch, and two, that he might depart to be with the Lord. Paul was one of those unique believers that had experienced so much death to self on this earth that his spirit and soul longed with an intense fervor to be with His Lord. The apostle had become so much "one" with Jesus Christ that it seemed totally unnatural to be partakers of the earthly body any longer. Everything within him cried out for his own mortality to take on immortality and to be with the Love of his soul. For truly, that which we love will have all of our thought and desire. As our passions for things on this earth endure, we become more and more identified with our longings. The longer I am married to Rebecca, the more I love her and wish to please her. In retrospect, the more someone is "married" to lust or greed or pride or any any number of other things, the more they become like their object of affection. (One may look no further than J.R.R. Tolkien's example in the "Lord of the Rings" series as a fitting example. Gollum was consumed in body, soul, and spirit for his love of the ring of power which he named "his precious"!).
God's will for each and everyone of us is quite simple. As stated in I Thessalonians 4:3, Paul writes that "... This is the will of God; your sanctification ...". Only by death to ourselves and our old nature can we truly experience the Lord's will for our lives. As long as we continue to play around the periphery of sinful behavior, we will never experience the depth's of love and joy in this lifetime that He desires for us. Why would we want to wait for physical death and immortality with the Father to experience this wonderful life that He has for all who would but humble themselves in this lifetime? The pursuit of sin will continue to leave that "God-shaped" vacuum in all that would consider their rebellion against God as their privilege and right. There is only One that can give true life in this age and the age to come. He gave His life nearly 2,000 years ago that we might have life and have it more abundantly. All we need to is accept and identify with His death, burial, and resurrection, for Paul stated in Galatians 5:24 that "... we who belong to Christ have crucified the the flesh with its passions and desires". Once we accept Him and His marvelous gift, our death to sin becomes a wonderful expression of His life through us. It is only a foreshadowing of when we step beyond the veil of this earthly life into the presence of His glory. The "precious possession" that we have cared for in this life will only bring delight and joy as our Father welcomes us into His heavenly realm.
Your Barefoot Servant,
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