Monday, July 10, 2006

Claiming our reality

Lottery winners were just announced. I'm told that I am a winner. No way! Too good to be true. Can't actually be me. I might call to verify that they chose my number, but surely there must be some mix-up. It's all a gimmick anyway. Why bother to pursue it. My life probably won't change.

How absurd a response! Why not claim the prize? It might be a bit strange to compare the fortunes of the lottery with the implanted work of God in a believer. The thought is that just as a winning ticket may go unclaimed, so too the eternal gifts of God to his children often go unnoticed or unappreciated and unused. How tragic that the value of His work ignored is far worse than a fortune unclaimed.

We should be startled (and jump-started) by the promises in Scripture that we may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing that we need! Maturity is promised, being thoroughly equipped by our Creator for every good work, every opportunity, in season and out. Starting with the faith that He gives, we see Him adding layers of virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. Hard to believe, but joy is a part of the package as well, a peaceful contentment even in the face of adversity.

And the promise, the lottery prize: if these qualities are in us and abound, they guarantee that we shall never fall! Likewise His control of our thinking produces controlled speech which promises total control of the whole body. We also have the confidence that nothing we encounter has not first been allowed by Christ and has therefore been given purpose. It is all prescribed for our good, and He has thoroughly equipped us for all occasions. We are soldiers armed with hi-tech gear that makes us more than conquerors. We are programmed for success and whatsoever we do shall prosper!

It is vital to recognize that our equipment is designed to be used, not talked about. Trials are not designed to defeat us, but to show us the strength we have been given. Adversity provides opportunity for the exercising of our gifts. In fact, the more armed we are, the more it is that pressures can prove our mettle. Our weaknesses are the starting point for His strength. The problem is that when confronted with adversity, we faint, give up and fail to utilize our heavenly technology, the invincible spirit-filled new nature!

We ourselves are not strong. We are easily defeated without the gifts and armor of Christ. There is therefore no room for pride in our position, only confidence in His provision. Our winning fortunes are given by Christ. He has called us to believe Him and trust his empowerment in our daily living. Daily doses of the Word connect our thinking to this reality. Without the Word we forget who we are and become blinded to the purposes of our struggles.

Humbling it is to remember that the generous benefits God offers are not free. They were purchased by Him at great cost, the death of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Now they can be freely offered to all takers who will believe.

Have you claimed your winning lottery ticket, and are you using its benefits?