The Urgency of This Moment

 
“Johnny Quick”

 “We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.”

John 9:4, NLT

To be quick means that we move very fast; being slow often implies a reluctance or a mental delay.  To hesitate while doing God’s will for us suggests a degree of ignorance or stubbornness.  Our quickness is to be seen while doing “the tasks assigned to us.”

Urgency should be woven into our hearts.  We need to have wings on our feet, a fleetness and an alacrity.  A “double-eagerness” as we carry out His work.  It should be of no surprise that God sets before us an itinerary of work He wants us to do.

So many brothers and sisters sleepwalk through their salvation. They snooze when Jesus desires they “watch and pray” with Him.

Jesus was on a  timetable. He communicated a need of doing.  He is in tune with the work of God, and is involved in the urgency of his present moment.  Jesus knows this, and he clearly communicates the need to do.  We are not called to be manic for Jesus; we are expected to be alert and aware.

This is a cry for urgency to his disciples.

“The night is coming.”  It is getting late.  In response Jesus issues an order.  Work at what the Father has assigned you.  It is almost dark now.  There is a “principle of spiritual velocity” calling us to an alertness and an awareness of needful things to do before “the time is up.”

In Acts 9 the disciples show a holy zeal in their day’s work.  We can’t stop speaking what we have seen and heard.”  The Old Testament prophets carried this urgency–Jeremiah and Amos both declared to us this avidity placed on the believer.  Jesus desires that we factor in this concentrated awareness of the approaching night.

I recently read of an evangelist in the last century.  He had a watch made, and on the dial he had a picture of a setting sun.  And over it, the words, “the night comes.”  Everytime he would look at his watch he would be reminded of the shortness of life and the need of the performance of his duty.  That lesson should be transmitted to each zealous believer.

The key word I guess, in all of this, is zeal.  And often the older we get the more this word becomes diminished, and distant.  (I believe our Father understands this about us.) No matter what we do, He focuses His love on us.  There will never be a condemnation on us.  But we can still waste away our lives in a tragic way, which we will later regret. 

But we have to ask ourselves this, will I just be an admirer, or can I become a zealous disciple of Christ?

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Faith Like Jello

Three Translations of Joshua 3:5

  • Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”, NIV 

  • Then Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you.”, NLT

  • Joshua told the people, ” Make yourselves acceptable  to worship the LORD, because he is going to do some amazing things for us.”, CEV

 

*****

The three translations of the same verse in Joshua each contributes a thought that adds to the whole.  Very often we need to make a comparison like this to speed our understanding.  There is a common theme of spiritual preparation.  Also anticipated is a direct intervention by God Himself.

Joshua is charged with not only the physical, but spiritual condition of the people.  He has sensed that God is going to amaze everyone, and He is on the verge of taking this mass of people through the river and into the Promised Land.  This will be the fulfillment of an awesome covenant promise.

Joshua has taken the initiative.  He declares the need of the people to prepare.  They are about to be led by God.  He builds anticipation for the grand things imminently approaching.  But the Israelites have got to prepare.  They must get ready.  Effort needs to be made. 

We have a strong tendency to see God’s promises apart from our efforts to prepare for them.  We think God saves us by grace.  But a faith that doesn’t work, cannot save.

“We are not made righteous by doing righteous deeds; but when we have been made righteous we do righteous deeds.” –Martin Luther

We cohabit with a Holy God who is like a strange roommate insists on sharing everything.  (Everything He does, in some way He does for us.)  “He picks up the tab” for everything!  Joshua, on the other hand, has 12 hours to get Israel ready.  The people must adjust.  He declares that everyone make themselves decent, to cleanse themselves from sin and give themselves to God.  Israel must do some things to get ready.

We must not enervate our faith to turn it into some religious jello— a blob with no backbone.  Our faith must work, and sweat.  If it doesn’t, we are in trouble.  I’m thrilled to be saved by grace through faith.  It is a precious marvel to me.  But I must remember that the grace that saves is a grace that works.  I don’t want my faith to be jello faith.  I want it to be a living faith.

“As in the candle I know there is both light and heat, but put out the candle, and they are both gone.”  Unknown