An important question to be asked in order to define what true blessing is. “Do you have to be rich to be blessed?” “DO you have to have everything going right in your life to be blessed?” Not really! We are blessed because we are in Christ. We are blessed because we are saved. We are blessed because we are meeting God one day. Ephesians 5:14 commands, “Redeem the time.” Time is eternity’s investment in this world. We as believers are always making choices. The spiritual is also practical. As you live in this world, walk as a wise person. Your time is important.
Our works cannot satisfy the demands of Holy God. They can only tire us more. And you come to Christ and you receive Grace. Jesus says, “Take my Yoke upon you”. That means I am going to give you new purpose in life. That means I am going to use you. That means your life is no more vanity. That means you are not going to live directionless. That means you are going to be productive. That means there would be a new kind of order. Jesus says “Follow Me.” Jesus is going somewhere. The person who is not going somewhere cannot validly say to someone “Follow Me.” If you are looking for a leader, teacher, or guru, you are looking for somebody whom you can look upto all your life. Yes, that’s who Christ is.
In Matthew 5-7, the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke some amazing things. When we follow Christ, things happen in our life. Changes occur, and the transformation is real. This is a shift of a kingdom. This sermon moves from external to internal. These things are possible when there is an inner relationship with God which we are growing in. We all are called to have a relationship personally with Christ. We enjoy each other’s personal relationship with God as we gather together. Just because it happens on the inside, it doesn’t mean it won’t affect your world.
One of the summary verses in the Sermon on the Mount is Matthew 5:20. “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” The study of usage of Greek terms in original language points to the word ‘exceed’ to carry the idea of not only exceeding in quantity but also in quality. Jesus admires Great Faith. However the issue of greatness of faith is not of quantity, but of quality as illustrated by comparisons with mustard seed.
We need to seek the things which are above, despite our situations and circumstances. ‘Redeeming the time’ carries idea of quality. We have a fellowship with God and we are listening to Him and we are speaking to Him. We are believing Him. That is quality and then there can be quantity. We can learn to meditate on the word of God day and night. In 1 Peter2:2 we are meditating on word of God because we are hungering and thirsting for righteousness. His word tastes like honey because of that quality. The work that we do for God qualitatively speaking is to walk with God. Our primary work is to have personal relationship with God. In Psalm 26:12, there is an even place? Even place is where I don’t have to strive. Where there is a fellowship in the spontaneity in the moment. It is a Place of rest. It is a Place where we are convinced that there is love. It is Place where there is peace.
In Exodus 3, Amazing conversation between God and Moses has been recorded. It appears in the story that Moses was looking for something more, and very hungry for God. He went to the back side of the desert looking for God. Normally, backside of the desert wouldn’t be the most appropriate place to take sheep to. Similarly, in our life God leads us. His words are loving and personal. The effect of Moses entering into the tabernacle is seen on the people around him. Our walk with God with other people influences our personal walk with God. One complements the other. In Matthew 6, Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave an indication that our life at the altar affects our life around the altar. They are both intermingled, yet so independent.
In Exodus 20:25-26, God is not interested in shape of altar, but in the essence of altar. External are not as important as the internal. But often external can be the product of internal. In context of our relationship with God, we need to focus on the internal. God doesn’t want the noise of flesh in our relationship with Him. Altar was not be high enough that if one climbed, people would be able to see one’s nakedness. In church, we don’t relate to people based on their personality, but we are blessed because they are in Christ. God does not like the sweat. We should protect ourselves from striving. God taught Moses how to fellowship with Him. We are responsible for worshiping God in our Tents. Yet our tents are together. I want more of God in my life. We learn Bible in Grace. If there is sound of chisel and hammer in the message, it doesn’t make clear sound of Grace.
Devotionally speaking, our mornings can be more productive. In the Bible, men of God rose up early in the morning to meet God. Joshua woke up early in the morning, Moses woke up early in the morning. We can practice rising early in the morning to meet God, knowing that the time is evil. For those who struggle to discipline themselves in rising early, must discover this secret. Often they need a simple thing as night alarm to make their morning alarm fruitful. There is an enemy to be faced in the day. The kingdom of God provides opportunities to experience its victories. By seeking the kingdom first, we are able to redeem the time. The returns are eternal.