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"Thought for the Week" by Elder James Horan (Rock Springs)
September 18, 2016
This week’s lesson from the “Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide”, is titled “How Shall We Wait”. A good finale to this quarter. A quarter of looking at how Christ related to individuals… and won them back to trust; and how we are to relate and win them back to trust God, too. And now to conclude this quarter, let’s discuss how best we are to “wait” for His return.
Us Seventh-Day Adventists were drawn to this denomination for many varied reasons. Even if we were born into it, as adults we still chose to make this faith community our own. And despite the varied reasons, I believe they all can be grouped into one over-arching reason. That reason, is our own personal search for “truth”. In a world of options and our own attempts at creating a life for ourselves from all options available, our search for what is “truth” led us to commit to this denomination. “Truth” that is true not just for today and not just for us, but for all time. True for the future… true for everyone. We were so tired of the world’s version of “truth” and longed for the permanence of God’s “Truth”. “Truth” that has love at its core. We may have experimented with different denominations or even different religions. And then we found Seventh-Day Adventism. A faith community that took the whole Bible, just as it reads, in order to get to the essence of “Truth” and true love. And we found a home. Not perfect by any means. A faith community of sinners we are. But a faith community that strives to find the whole “truth”. A “family” of like believers and searchers. And so our search and our deepening conviction of truth goes on… our whole lives. After all, “Heaven is a ceaseless approaching to God through Christ” (Desire of Ages pg. 331) beginning here… beginning now.
“Truth is only truth to you when you live it in the daily life, showing the world what those people must be who are at last saved” (GCBulletin, April 3, 1901). This “truth” we seek is only “truth” to us if we live it. “Truth” is not some philosophy or some way of thinking. This “truth” is powerful. This “truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). And this freedom is true freedom. Freedom from all that besets us and binds us. It sets us free from ourselves and raises us up on our feet to be all God created us to be. God’s truth is of this magnitude. And it sets us free only as we live it. As we act on what we believe, the “truth” becomes solid in our character. And thus a Christ-like character is formed. “By the life we live through the grace of Christ the character is formed” (Desire of Ages pg. 312). This Christ-like “character is formed, barricaded by truth” (Christ Triumphant pg. 241). “Truth” and character are inseparable. It is no mere philosophy or way of thinking. It’s “truth” that we embrace and make a part of our lives.
Personal, private interaction with our God through Bible Study and prayer is essential. But if we stop there, we have not embraced the Truth we know. For until we make this “Truth” part of our lives by actually acting on it, this “Truth” will never be ours, but only an idea… only a good intention. Acting on the “Truth” we see, is not works if we are acting upon it in order to come into a more perfect union with our Father. If we act on the “Truth” we see, in order to earn salvation or please our offended God (because we love Him, of course) than we could become proud and grow further from Him and from the “truth”. So it’s really a matter of motive. If our motive is to know Him, than obedience to Him and acting on “truth” makes us more and more humble because of all we do not know, and all that we are not. But if our motive is to please Him, than obedience can lead to pride and arrogance and an attitude of obligation. God does not call us to an idea. He calls us to Himself… to obey… and thereby to know Him and know “Truth”.
This is the great commission to each one of us… the answer to this week’s question, “how shall we wait”? The answer is to live the truth we believe. To love others selflessly, as Christ so loved. To pour-out our lives unstinted as Christ poured-out His life. And this is what it means to “occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13). “Occupy” does not mean to “just keep busy till I return”. It means to be active with the commission given us. To be “light” in the darkness and to be “salt” to preserve as many as possible. “While we wait for Jesus’ coming, He expects members of His church to preach and live the whole gospel; to invest ourselves and our resources in His work; to love, respect and care for people; to open our lives for the Holy Spirit in His fullness. That’s a witness that all the arguments in the world can’t nullify” (quarterly pg. 110). Amen!
With brotherly love,
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