Hope In These Troubled Financial Times- Part 3

I have been rambling on and on about how we, as believers, can transcend the troubles that we experience as we walk through this life on Earth.

In Part One, I shared with you Christ’s command, from Matthew 6:25-34, to not worry about the troubles of this world (“what we shall eat and what we shall wear”) but to seek first His Kingdom.  That is achingly simple yet seemingly impossible.

In Part Two, I discussed how the curse God placed on us through Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:14-19) focuses our attention on worldly matters and distracts us from His Kingdom.

The curse is real.  It does force us to focus on what we shall eat and what we shall wear.  The curse has caused man to desire wealth over His Kingdom and women to desire family over God.  The curse has caused the wars of history as man has tried to gain power over land to store up riches on Earth.  The curse has caused poverty and hunger as some have horded their wealth while others have gone without.   The curse has caused the destruction of our planet as man has continually taken more from the earth than it is able to give.  The curse has caused the current global financial crisis as our desire to protect ourselves from the curse made us all greedy.

We, as Believers, are subject to this curse, but we are not bound by it.  Unfortunately, too many us Believers live our lives as slaves to the curse of Man.  I think it is because we overlook one of the most important passages of the New Testament, Luke 4: 1-14.

The Temptation of Jesus
1Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness
2for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry.
3And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
4And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.’”
5And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of (F)the world in a moment of time.
6And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
7″Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.”
8Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”
9And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here;
10for it is written,
‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU,’
11and,
‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP,
SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’”
12And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’”
13When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.

We focus our Christianity on the arrest, judgement, torture, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but how do ignore this?

A young Jesus, brand new into his worldly ministry, was tempted mightily by Satan.  A young man, beginning to understand who he was and his destiny was offered what Man had chosen through out the ages, before and since.  Jesus, the man, weakened by a 40 day fast was offered a way to overcome the curse of Man on earth.  The man, Jesus of Nazareth, just beginning to understand the loneliness he would experience for the rest of his life was offered adulation and power. We have proven that we would have chosen power and wealth.  Jesus, a man just like me, chose His Father’s Kingdom.

This one brave act changed the world.  This one decision by a 30 year old man broke the curse.  Man had resisted the temptation and  Satan was dealt the death blow.  Since that day, Satan has been thrashing about, fighting the against the defeat he knows is inevitable.

I would like to share an entry from my journal that came to me after several days of solitude amidst a large crowd:

“The battle is between Christ and the forces of evil, led by Satan, in the throes of defeat, as he lashes out at Christ’s physical manifestation on earth, The Church.

The battle is not against the lost for they are merely victims caught in the crossfire.  They are pawns on the battlefield of this earth, without the weapons of Truth or the armor of Grace.

They are wounded and weary in need of the rest the true Church can provide and the bandages we possess.”

Our troubles overtake us because we do not stand in the light of Christ’s defeat of Satan in the wilderness.  We gratefully accept Christ’s crucifixion as the sacrifice for our sins.  This enables us to reconcile with God.  We celebrate his resurrection as the transcendence of our worldly existence and our hope for eternity.

As we fret over our future and we worry about our financial conditions, we demonstrate that we do not fully embrace his presence, here and now, as the light to transcend the curse.  Christ defeated Satan in the wilderness and showed us the path to overcome the curse was not to out work it or out love it.  The path to defeat the curse is to seek first His Kingdom. Yet, we do not.

We may think the Gospel of John 1:4,5 is referring to those who walked the earth when Jesus was here.  “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”  It was referring to all of us.

When we focus our attention on what we shall eat or what we shall wear, we are missing the light.  For those who have accepted Christ as our saviour, the light is within us.  the Holy Spirit is burning within us, we are just looking into the darkness of this world.  The path to seeking His Kingdom, the path to transcending the curse, the path to peace and joy in these troubled times is within us.

It is not enough to accept the light into our heart.  That brings salvation but it does not enable us to transcend the curse while we are on earth. Next week, I will finish this ramble by explaining the deceptively simple, yet crushingly difficult path to the light described in John 1.

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  1. [...] In Part Three, I claimed that too many us Believers live our lives as slaves to the curse of Man because we overlook Jesus’s triumph over the curse in Luke 4: 1-14. [...]

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