Lessons Of A Lifetime

SUNDAY JULY 15, 2018

Scripture To Consider:
“Then He [Jesus] went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject [obedient] to them [His parents], but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2.51-52

Something To Consider:
Jesus in the temple at age twelve confounded the religious counselors, astonished the academic scholars, and amazingly answered the theological teacher’s questions concerning matters pertaining to the law [Word of God]. And yet, He still went home with Joseph and Mary and was subject or obedient to them and to their care over Him. This Jesus who Peter wrote about in present tense terms in 1 Peter 3.22, said; “Who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject [or obedient] to Him.”

This same Jesus at age twelve was possibly beginning to learn and understand His place and purpose in His heavenly Father’s plan, yet He remained subject to His parent’s authority. Remaining subject to the authority placed in our lives by God is a lesson of a lifetime that is hard learned by many, and never learned by some. But Jesus remained under their authority for eighteen more years. This should be a lesson for every leader in training to learn no matter what age, in what place, or under whose authority we find ourselves. Good leaders in training must first learn to follow while being subject to authority.

Now sometimes our being subject to the authority of others brings about suffering. Peter spoke to the suffering of Christ as a lesson for us in 1 Peter 4, beginning in verse 1; “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind [to be willing to suffer], for he [or she] who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin…” Peter continued in verse 2, “…that he [or she] no longer should live the rest of their time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.” Peter instructs us to no longer live according to our flesh but according to the will of God. But how do we do that?

Something Else To Consider:
The apostle Paul writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit, explained in Romans chapter 12, the truth of being subject to authority and thereby gaining favor with God. In verses 1-2 Paul declared, “I beseech you therefore, brethren [fellow Christian believers in Jesus], by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable [or most basic] service. And do not be conformed to this world [and its wickedness], but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

In order to be properly subject to authority we must present ourselves as a living sacrifice to God on a daily basis. We must present ourselves as holy and as acceptable to God, which means we must live our lives according to the Word of God and especially according to all the teachings of Jesus.

Paul explained that our being transformed by the renewing of our mind by way of our studying and hearing the Word of God is our reasonable or basic or primary service unto God. He further instructed us not to be conformed to the wickedness of this world and the world’s evil system. But, we are to be transformed, changed, given a new nature by the renewing of our mind which is accomplished by the continued study of the Word of God which includes the words of Jesus. If we willingly submit to these training protocols, we will prove what is that good, and acceptable perfect will of God.

And who in their right mind does not want to discover the perfect will of God for their lives? But it begins with our being subject to the authority of God which is declared in the Word of God. Therefore, it is extremely important we do not allow the enemy of our soul to distract us with all the glitter and gold that is everyday placed within our eyesight and greedy fleshly reach of our human hands. Our fallen nature cries out on a constant basis for more of what we really do not need and could never truly enjoy outside of Jesus.

Therefore, let us not yield to the temptation of the lust of our eyes and the lust of our flesh nor the pride of this short and temporary life here upon planet earth. But rather, let us look beyond what our flesh longs for and seek first the kingdom of God!

Something More To Consider:
According to Luke in our text, “His mother kept all these things in her heart.” Jesus’ mother Mary hid all these things in her heart as if under lock and key. It must have been somewhat of a mysterious journey for Joseph and Mary, raising Jesus the Son of God, still a child under their care and in their parental authority. Mary did well hiding all these things in her heart. In time, God would unlock her understanding.

At the foot of an old rugged cross set atop a hillside later called Calvary, her heart would be broken and would pour forth all the previously hidden treasure of thirty three-years of loving motherly care and concern. If you are the parent of a child, any age child, hold them a little tighter tonight if only in thought; for no child ever really leaves the care and concern of a parent.

And according to Luke in our text, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men.” Favor with God and men is something all leaders and leaders in training should be praying and beseeching God for. Noah Webster defines favor as; “To regard with kindness, to afford advantages for success.” In the King James version of the bible, Psalm 112.5 reads; “A good man shows favor.”

That is, that a good man, a good woman, a good young person, and a good leader in training shows favor to others. He or she regards others with kindness while often affording advantages for the success of others. Good leaders learn the lessons of a lifetime concerning reaping what it is they have sown. Therefore, let us sow much favor in the hearts and lives of others and then look to the horizon for a harvest time is coming! For gaining favor with God is the reward of learning to be subject to authority.

A Few Final Words:
Are we growing in favor with God and with others of the human race? The truth is if we grow in the favor of God, we will grow in favor with men, women, and young people of all walks of life. And yet, we must be warned, our growing in favor with God may at times also hinder our growing in favor with our fellow man.

Jesus warned us in several locations in the gospels of end time hatred and intense persecution of those who have grown in favor with God. Those who have truly become subject to God’s authority and to the authority of God’s Word also will and have already become subject to the cruelty of man and the insidious evil of the coming Antichrist.

In Matthew 10.21-22 Jesus affirmed, “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he [or she] who endures to the end will be saved.” And is not salvation our ultimate goal in life? Is not our finally receiving salvation from the predicted eternal punishment our number one priority? Therefore, in our enduring to the end let us willingly be subject to Christ’s authority and thereby gain favor with God while showing others favor along the way!

Good leaders and good leaders in training look for earthly opportunities to show favor to others, by affording them advantages for success. “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” How could we go and do any less with what is left of our lives here on earth? What could we possibly lose by gaining favor with God and in sharing the favor of God with our fellow men, women, and young people? We have all to gain and nothing to lose according to the Word of God!

Our Father in heaven, help us as You did Mary, to hide these things deep within the hiding place and holding tank of our hearts. In Him Always, Amen!

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