Yoked Oxen and Wild Asses

Ephesians 2:13-18
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

As the New Covenant Church began after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ there were many struggles for men and women to come into the truth of the grace and freedom that is in Christ Jesus. There are still many parallels of that in the Church today. On one side you have what we will call the “yoked oxen”. These are the religious ones who have grown up in the religious atmosphere of denomination and religious structure. Most have grounding in the basic truths of God’s Word, but they have been so long under the yoke of the routine of religion it is hard for them to have the vision of how God is expanding beyond the perimeters of their individual camps of truth and revelation. In many ways they have become similar to the Jews of Israel. “Bless God, we are God’s chosen and our way is the right way. It was good enough for my ancestors and it is good enough for me.” It is the mentality that wants to put God in the box of our religious way of thinking and they struggle to see beyond that.
On the other hand we have what we will call “the wild asses”. These are those much like the Gentiles outside of Judaism that have little or no roots in religious background or the Christian religion. They have lived life free and wild before the Holy Spirit drew them to Himself and they came into knowledge of Him. They may not have the reverence and respect for the time honored traditional values that the “yoked oxen” have. They often have no clue of the proper etiquette and decorum of worship and reverencing God. But the “Wild Asses,” on the other hand, come with a certain freedom from the tradition and teachings of men. Their souls are like virgin soil for the gospel to be planted into. There is this wall of religion and rebellion that exist between the two camps as they often have conflict in dealing with one another. This was that middle wall of partition that separated the Jew and Gentile of old and a prejudice that still exist today. The scripture says Christ is our peace that has made us both one. As these two cultures come together in the atmosphere of true Christian fellowship, worship and relationship it is often hard for them to relate with one another. What we sometimes forget is that each brings to the table something that the other needs to balance them both. The wild ones need the structure and discipline, the reverence and respect that accompany the fear of God. The yoked ones need the freedom from inhibitions, liturgical thinking and expression that the wild ones bring. It is coming out of a box and culture for both sides that, together, the two may become one new man in Christ.
If missionaries from America go to foreign countries trying to impose their cultural thinking and ways as they preach the gospel they are often very much rejected and resisted. If they go and are willing to lay down their preconceived cultural ideas and reach out to the people from their cultural understanding and perspective they are often better understood and received because the people from that culture can relate with them.
What are we saying? God is bringing people into body from every nation, tribe and tongue, from every background and culture. We all have to come out of our cultural boxes and shells if we are to relate with one another in Christ. The cross of Jesus and the love of God are the common ground upon which we meet. Our focus must be much less on that of judging others and conforming them to our particular ideology of Christianity and more focused on how do we build each other up in love. If I can be more focused on meeting your need than I am on fixing your problem, the problem may well get resolved as I meet the need.
I once worked with a young man who was very open to hear about the Lord, but was from a different religious background than myself. I had my book and I was going to set him straight on why his religious background was wrong. Before I talked with him, I felt I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “Just speak the truth in love and the truth will set him free.” It is each one of us opening up our hearts and minds to what the Spirit wants to teach us that will set us free. He will lead us into all truth if we will abide in relationship with Him and remain obedient to His leading. He will break down the middle wall of partition and make the “yoked oxen” and the “wild asses” one man in Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

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Ascending up into the Golden Mount of Life

Life is a gift given by God, an opportunity to discover His purpose and will and a journey to develop, mature and grow in His likeness. Many in this world will never truly understand the meaning of their existence beyond the natural realm of just living life, breathing, surviving; seeking security and happiness that meets or exceeds the needs of their natural person. There are those, who in the course of life, have an encounter with the living God, through Jesus Christ. If they venture on to really know Him, beyond just a religious tradition and into a true personal relationship, then here is where the ascension of a spiritual journey truly begins.

All of humanity travel down the road and the seasons of life. The broad way, the way most traveled, is tread by those content with this world or ignorant of anything higher. Some actually have the knowledge of a higher, but it proves to be too steep and challenging so they exit off back to the more comfortable and less challenging way of life. Here they will be content to live and do things their way or in just religious way. They still may aspire to knowing and professing a relationship with God, but are regulated by a mixture of flesh and spirit. A path one might term, “lukewarm”, but not a temperature highly favored of God. Yet, there remains the high road, the road less traveled. It is not taken because of its ease or because the fruit of its path is readily seen with the natural eye. It is a path of faith, of commitment, obedience and promise. It is a path that is adventurous, but full of challenges and difficulties, trials and tribulations. It is a path whose way is not always readily discernable and understood. In order to travel this way the affections for self and the more immediately gratifying ways of life must be left behind at the “Cross Road”, where the two paths separate. This high road is a road of promise that must be traveled by faith in the God that called us to it. It is an ascending path to glory, but whose glory is often not much seen until its completion. The ascending path to the Golden Mount is one that will test us, try us and bring us to our end, but for the glory that lies before us we fix our eyes upon the prize of the high calling and hold fast to the Christ in us that has promised to be with us to the end. Upon this ascending path we walk each day through life, finding our way and our strength with the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit. As we ascend this path, each day we become less and He becomes more. We find that it is not in our effort and struggle that we ascend, but in our rest in the finished work of the cross. In that place, through trust and obedience, we have confidence as we learn to fellowship and worship in His presence. His Word provides the road map for our journey. As we study and meditate upon it, it provides us with our identity, position and purpose in life that supersedes the life that we live in this body. We find our bodies are the instruments, the vehicles and the temple through which the kingdom of God is planted and dispensed in this earth as we travel this road.

It is not to say that we won’t and don’t have our stumbles and setback along the way. This ascension along this elevated path is not an easy one, but it is a progressive one. It is pathway into the maturity and perfection of Christ and as we know from our childhood, we made our share of mistakes, wrong turns and poor decisions, but that was a part of our maturing process. No one walks this path perfectly, for we don’t walk in our own righteous, but by faith in the righteousness of Him who went before us to show us the way. The further we travel the more we realize that this is not a path of religion, tradition or of works. It is a path of losing ourselves in the identity with Christ. As we travel this path, many may stumble for a time and lose their way. They may lose their vision and their stamina of faith, but if we are truly called of Him then His Spirit, through our spirit keeps wooing us and calling us back to this upward path we first began. As the saying goes, the prize is not to him who starts the race, but to him that finishes.

As the years of life go by and we have run our course, let us have no regrets that we didn’t follow our destiny and calling as we ascended into the Golden Mount of Life. May we not settle for less, even if we haven’t lived our best, we can give God the rest. As long as there is breath, there is hope and if we have been idle or distracted or misdirected, it is never too late to pursue this path that leads home.

Yes, as the years of life go by and we see the end of this life before us, let us lift our eyes with ever more fervent desire and commitment of faith to ascend beyond and above the gates of death and to ascend upward on this path that leads us into the Golden Mount of life.

Blessings,

kent

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