Don’t be defined by what you’re AGAINST but by what you’re FOR.
Sometimes the contrast is so stark, it’s hard not to see the negative first. And sometimes those who oppose highlight the negative to paint us with a bad, anti-social brush.
Trump’s wall, for example, is being painted as anti-family and un-American when it is reasonably understood as a needed protection for those who lawfully reside on this side of it.
I love the church, but years of study and experiences have proven to me (and not to me alone) that the church (the institution) is not the ecclesia (the Body of Christ), and that the church does that very thing – defines the Christian life in terms of things to be against rather than things that we are privileged, as sons of God, to be FOR.
For example …
In the Old Testament, God’s people celebrated “The Sabbath.” Following the fourth commandment, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy,” they set aside a day in which they would not work but would, rather, rest.
The Pharisees were against things rather than for the Son of God. One of the things for which the Jews condemned Jesus to death was that He dared to heal on “the Sabbath,” a thing that they, in their rule-making, deemed to be a violation of the prohibition against doing work on the seventh day of the week. But they didn’t know Him, and they didn’t understand the true Sabbath. In their haste to be AGAINST, they missed the biggest thing they could ever have been FOR.
God never intended the sabbath to be a prohibitive box; it was a rest that, yes, the body needed – one day out of seven – but more so it pointed towards our future rest coming in the Person of His Son, Jesus.
Yes, Jesus came to BE our rest! He IS our Sabbath! He is our rest!
We enter into our rest, our Sabbath, through faith, through our belief in Him and His sacrifice on our behalf to put away the necessity of trying to work our way into favor with God – of doing some sort of penance for our sins.
Hebrews 4:3 says, “For those of us who believe, faith activates the promise and we experience the realm of confident rest!”
But, isn’t The Sabbath still a day? Yes, verse 7 tells us: it is called “Today”!
It is not faith in a day, particularly in one regular day of the week, but faith in the Person of our rest, our Sabbath – Jesus the Messiah.
The rest that we experience on earth is incomplete, and we’re not talking about interruptions of phone calls and football games or even oxen in ditches. “There is still a full and complete ‘rest’ waiting for believers to experience,” verse 9 tells us. We set aside any reliance on works of our own (that would be a “pattern of doubt and unbelief,” vs. 11) and rest fully in Jesus’ completed work.
With Jesus as our rest, our protector, we are free to become all that He created us to be. That is our supreme act of worship – to seek out and acknowledge (by constant use) the gifting that He gave us, the true purpose for which He designed us, and to do so out of appreciation and adoration of Him rather than in obeisance to some “superior” individual or institution.
There are still plenty of those around too willing to shame us or command us or misrepresent themselves as our superiors as if they speak with the voice of God. They are AGAINST anything that does not put them in the driver’s seat. Like the Pharisees, they make rules to prohibit what they are against, to force us to comply with their self-granted authority, rather than to point us towards anything positive. But there is no rest in that. There is nothing to be FOR in that.
But God is FOR us! “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
The Army said, “Be all that you can be.” We believers in Jesus should be the first to do that! Be all that He made you to be! Be FOR what He is for!