Anchor On … The marvel of life
Saturday, January 21, 2017 7:48 AM
“O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” This 3,500-year-old thought was written by Moses in Psalm 90:14 and is just as fresh and vital this morning as it was back then.
The Author of life is the only One who can truly satisfy life and give to it the value and meaning it so greatly needs. Outside of the viewpoint rendered by Scripture, life is overwhelmed by unforgiven sin and purposelessness.
Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees who brought the woman taken in adultery: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7). They acknowledged their own guilt as they left the scene.
Christ tells the woman: “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (verse 11).
The Bible puts the spotlight on our sin, as do the beacons in the operating room. By the revealing rays, the surgeon is able to remove and repair the cause of trouble. In the same parallel, only the Master Physician is able to remove our desire for sin, forgive us and restore unto Himself a life that again has purpose and reason.
Jesus tells the religious users in John 8:12: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” This is the grand pronouncement of the Bible – that there is forgiveness and beauty, a reason to live and a blessed hope for eternity to be found in Jesus Christ.
The “light of life” is unadulterated by doubt or skepticism. It is pure and absolutely liberating. The written Word of God perfectly matches the One who “was with God, and the Word (who) was God” (John 1:1). We find yet this morning that “in him was life; and the life was the light of men” (verse 4).
In a time when one may despair of life, there is the shining light of Christ to direct our dark hearts back onto the solid ground of purpose and meaning. Christ is for each man and woman, boy and girl. John 1:9 reassures: “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” He is available, in abundance, for everyone who will have him take residence in their hearts.
This invitation for light and life to dwell in our heart is no resolution just for the new year. When a person finally determines that they will no longer flirt with sin’s delight but will rather face the truth, then they may come to Christ by faith. John 1:12 speaks of the new birth: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons (and daughters) of God, even to them that believe on his name.” The new, spiritual birth brings supernatural power to become what we never could have been without Christ. Power is made available to want more of God and to better understand His will, way and want for our lives.
We might begin our thinking for this “Sanctity of Life Week” about self-ownership of our lives and how immature it must seem to our benevolent Creator. Paul asks with amazement that the believers in Corinth still did not accept that they no longer “belonged” to themselves. Their bodies, in Christ, now were “the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). The Bible viewpoint is that Christ died on the cross in payment for our sins so that we may walk true to Him the rest of our days: “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (verse 20).
That old devil, the thief of light and life, is compared to the wolf that wants to sneak into the sheepfold to rob and destroy life (John 10). Jesus declares: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep … I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10-11).
We have tried living life just for ourselves, and it does not work out well at all. There is nothing abundant about it. John 12:25 speaks of this great loss: “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life (in comparison to love for God) in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”
Paul advises that we “be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8). Armed with the Bible worldview and a surrendered heart for God, could the shrink wrap be sliced away to allow freedom to really live? Could it be that we might begin packing the treasure of 1,000 years into just the life of this one day? Why are we so measly and measured about life, giving just a pitiful pinch here and there and testing every event to see first what benefit might be in it for us?
Is there no one for us to care about and to pour out of the “pitcher” of our life into theirs? Can we not be a blessing and benefit to someone today? It all has come from God and still belongs to Him today. With Him is no scarcity, only abundance. God wants to add to our lives: faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity so that our lives will not be barren nor unfruitful for Christ (2 Peter 1:5-8).
As our nation turns to a new leadership, could we begin looking for ways to lighten the load of another? Can we press our influence for Christ into just this day, so that God is made real to those around us? Folks at the rest home are often despairing of their older lives, and young women at the crisis pregnancy center may be despairing of the new. Our overstressed military families are often set upon the edge of disaster. Heroin addicts are throwing their lives and children under the bus of empty promises and utter destruction. God can work if we will give Him the hands and feet to do it.
“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea the work of our hands establish thou it” (Psalm 90:17). All of life is precious – from the faintest heartbeat of the youngest unborn to the weakest one of the dying soul. Moses concludes: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
Do something for eternity – today!
R.D. “Bob” Hottle is a retired schoolteacher, farmer and pastor of the Anchor Baptist Church.