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The Things Of Earth Will Grow Strangely Dim

The Things Of Earth
Will Grow Strangely Dim

1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,
3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked.
4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened-not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
2 Corinthians 5:1-5

Our church has spent a significant amount of time studying the Qualifications of the Overseers, which is established in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. As we have looked through these verses, we have understood that these "qualifications" are but expectations that God has set forth for every Christian life. In other words, what is laid out in this passage is, what we call, "The Standard of Christian Living." As Christians, we are to live in such a way that "upholds the Law" (Romans 3:31). After all, we are "children of God"(Romans 8:16-17), and if we are His children, and He is our God, then we must "be Holy as He is Holy" (1 Peter 1:13-16).

As you look through this list of qualifications, which the Apostle Paul is writing to Timothy and the Church in Ephesus, there should be nothing in this passage which the true Christian does not aspire to exhibit in his own life. Every element of this passage can directly apply to each individual Christian, and should challenge our faith to "walk in a manner that is worthy of the calling to which we have been called."
  • Umbrella For All Categories: "Above Reproach"
  • Biblical Self-Government
    • Sober-minded
    • Self-controlled
    • Respectable (also, "orderly")
    • Hospitable
    • Able To Teach
    • Not A Drunkard
    • Not Violent
    • Gentle
    • Not Quarrelsome
    • Not A Lover Of Money
  • Family Life
    • Manage Family Well
    • Keep Children Submissive With All Dignity
    • Care For Family
  • Church Life
    • Care For God's Church
    • Not A Recent Convert (newly planted tree)
    • Spiritually Mature
    • Humble
  • Life Outside The Church
    • Well Thought Of By Outsiders (same person inside the church as he is outside the church)
    • Willing Heart For Evangelism

As we have been understanding more about the expectation of obedience that God has called the Christian to, the world becomes increasingly fleeting. This has been extremely convicting for my own personal life, as I have been realizing that I need to continually "lay aside" (Hebrews 12:1-2) things of this world that just don't matter. Jonathan Edwards encourages the believer to "stamp 'ETERNITY' on his eyeballs." And I am beginning to understand this.

My hope and prayer is that each member of our church has been as convicted as I have about “The Standard of Christian Living.” Specifically, the reality and necessity of making sure that your life is in order (“respectable” in 1 Timothy 3:2). This is probably this most significant element of the study that I have learned. If your life is not in order, according to what is laid out for us in this passage, then you will not be in the will of God. More than this, there are two warnings given (1 Timothy 3:6-7), which should make us consider each step that we take in ministry. This process explains that when you are sober-minded (1 Timothy 3:2) then this will lead to being self-controlled (1 Timothy 3:2). And that self-control will produce the fruit of prioritizing your life in accordance with God’s will. And the will of God for the life of a believer is that he would prioritize his life according to the layout that is found in 1 Timothy 3:2-7. That is, for each individual Christian to exhibit Biblical Self-Government (category 1), Maintain Well Managed Families (category 2), Develop Spiritual Maturity As We Serve The Church (category 3) and Have A Willing Heart To Be An Evangelist category 4).

As you begin to truly take a look at your own personal life in this regard, the natural process of sanctification will be present in your mind. There will be a natural chiseling that will occur. And “the things of this world will begin to grow strangely dim” as you begin to realize that the parts of your life that used to matter, just simply do not matter anymore.

Two essentials must take place at this point:

1) A Humbling of your heart, which will lead to repentance.

2) A Resolve to “Walk Circumspectly” in making the determination of what needs to be chiseled away in your life.

1) The first thing that must take place is a Humbling of your heart, which will lead to repentance. This comes with conviction of the Holy Spirit after examining your newly prioritized life in accordance with the Word of God in comparison to how your life operated in the past. You will feel guilt. You will sense Godly sorrow. You will almost feel obligated to apologize to other people for things you’ve said or believed which just were not true. This is a humiliating (as in humbling) process. And we need this for our sanctification.

God’s goodness leads us to this point. And we would do well to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2) to be Holy and blameless before Him (Ephesians 1:3-6). With this contriteness of heart comes a newfound joy and delight in the things of God.

As 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 expresses, we are not made for this world. Our home is with Christ. And we must strive to be clothed with His Righteousness and not clothed with the temporary things of this world. In other words “the things of this world will grow strangely dim” and you will begin to reallocate your spiritual and physical assets (which are given to you by God) in such a way that most glorifies your Lord and Savior.

2) Secondly, you must be Resolved to “walk circumspectly” and make the determinations of what needs to be chiseled away in your life. This takes much wisdom. This takes much prayer. You ask yourself questions like, “Is this of God or have I convinced myself for the past years that this is a holy/good thing?” Or you might say, “This is a ‘good thing,’ how could it be needing to be chiseled away?” And it will take much discernment.

What we have to remember at this point is that God doesn’t need your job, your assets or your abilities in order to accomplish His will. He is not after what YOU provide to this world. He wants your whole heart. He wants your undivided attention. He wants you to come to the resolution that your ONLY Hope is found in Him. He wants you to realize that He has exclusive rights to your newfound joy and delight. It is the will of God to “give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4), so that you will begin to be passionate about what He is passionate about.

You may be sitting there trying to make the determinations of how to walk through the humbling process or walking circumspectly. And a lot of times it can be overwhelming. But let me encourage you with something. “He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”

It is the will of God for the believer to walk through this process. It is the will of God for every Christian to be humbled and chiseled away until he looks like Christ in a glorified state. God Himself, has prepared you for this very thing. And He has given to you the Holy Spirit to be your Comforter and to convict you through Scripture throughout this entire process.

Because of this, take courage! And walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:6-7).
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