Show Me the Real!

Mark 16:14 NIV  Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

A short verse, quite easy to follow.  Why did it catch my attention this time?  These disciples stubbornly refused to believe what they hadn’t seen for themselves, and Jesus rebuked them, plain and simple.  Or is it?  If we “hear” Him rebuke as we have known rebuke ourselves, it is.  But, let’s “listen” more carefully to Jesus in His rebuke.

Jesus had already conquered death, hell, and the grave with His victory on the cross.  Satan no longer had the ability even to tempt Him to function with man’s mindset or attitude.  He couldn’t be tempted to be angry or sarcastic with them, despite their stubbornness.  In no way was He arrogant towards them, or judgmental.

Those things Jesus didn’t do in rebuke seem to be part and parcel of most rebukes today – even among Christians.  What are we missing?  Could it be as simple as motive?  Jesus’ motive was to bring the disciples up higher – out of the already dead old man and into the new man in Christ.  His motive was love, pure and simple.  He not only rebuked because of love, He also rebuked in love.  In this very love, He rebuked the disciples for choosing their old ways, then showed them His better and higher way in the next verses.

Mark 16:15-18 NIV He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;  they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

A longing arose from my spirit man as I cried out, “Show me what this looks like, Jesus!  I’ve never seen it Your way, and I’ve certainly never done it Your way.  Show me.  Let me hear it Your way from others.  Even when You’ve rebuked me in the past, I’ve heard a mixture of Your loving rebuke and the enemy’s taunting condemnation.  Help me hear only You in rebuke, Lord, that I will go forth in the greater and higher call to shine Your Light for others to find their way, too.  Show me the real, Lord!”

Matchless, Unbroken Companionship

“And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!”  Isaiah 30:18 Amplified

I don’t know how many times I’ve read this verse, even in the Amplified version, yet I’ve not noticed the phrase: His matchless, unbroken companionship.  God, the Creator of the universe, wants for the two of us to have an unbroken companionship – as in never apart, never wondering where the other one is or what the other is thinking or doing.  The idea of this companionship is so lopsided, in my mind, because it includes the matchless One and me; but, He declares in His Holy Word, not mine, that this is just a part of what I will receive as I wait for Him.  As if that’s not enough, He longs to make this real in my life!

God has not been withholding Himself from me.  It’s just that I’ve been willing to settle for so much less of Him and His companionship.  I’ve been satisfied with coming and going, as I would with an earthly friend.  He is known as Friend, but He greatly desires for it to be so much more than I have allowed!  I have given other things the place that belongs to Him alone; yet, He has continued to wait, always expecting me to return to wait, look, and long for Him.  As I consider this, I realize that He is already pouring out His mercy on me – before I ever recognized my need for it.  How thankful I am for His ways!  Romans 11:33 in the NIV says what I can’t:

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!”

I don’t want to settle any longer for less than my Father’s matchless, unbroken companionship.  It’s time to make some adjustments in priorities and focus, so that my eyes and mind are fixed on His Word, and I am earnestly waiting for Him – expecting, looking, and longing for all He is and all He longs to be for me in my life!