A Proper Exposure of Life

1 Corinthians 9:16-23
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

I was thinking how each day of our life is like a photograph and image we want to capture with the right exposure. Ideally we would like to think that life fits within the parameters of our ability to expose it properly. In a proper photographic exposure you want to see all of your highlights, mid tones and shadows falling within the range of your film or digital sensor’s ability to properly expose them. You don’t want your highlights blowing out and losing detail, nor do you want your shadow area going dark and losing the detail of them. You would like to expose all the elements of your subject properly from light to dark. Unfortunately, in the real world, we find ourselves in circumstances where it is very difficult, if not impossible, to expose all elements properly. There are times when the sky is way too bright and the foreground is in deep shadow and the camera is saying I can’t properly expose all of it. What if I could photograph an image that properly exposed for the sky and then took the same image that properly exposed for the deep foreground shadows, put them in a computer and made a third composite image? The composite image would then reveal the proper highlights of the one image and the proper shadow exposure of the other image. What I could not do in the real world I have done in the computer world.
Now some of you are probably thinking well that is nice information, but what does that have to do with spiritual matters? In our world we generally work within what we consider normal areas of behavior, beliefs and practices, but not everyone falls within this spectrum. We sometimes encounter those who are either extreme left or extreme right in their viewpoint, beliefs or behaviors. How do we relate with these people who are outside the range of our proper exposure? Most of the time we probably treat it like we do our cameras. We put it in automatic and let the camera figure it out and whatever the results we consider that the best exposure we could get. In that process precious people and souls are missed and needs are not met. I think what Paul is saying in today’s passage is that he learned to expose for where people were at rather than where he was at. By identifying with people where they are at doesn’t mean that you necessarily embrace their values or beliefs, but you learn to relate God to them from their viewpoint rather than yours. That is where their understanding and reality is. What this means to us is that we have to take the camera out of automatic where things are only exposed from our point of view and relate with where our subject is at. That is the only way we can properly expose them to Christ. It means we have to move out of our comfort zone and our status quo to take on the mindset of where different individuals are at in their thinking and reasoning process, so that we can properly relate and communicate God’s love and salvation to them.
We aren’t always going to get the exposure right, but what about the times we do and someone comes to Christ because we were willing to get out of the box and relate with them where they were? The result could be that they could likewise be able to relate with Christ and His love for them. Are we willing to lay down our rights, reputation and sometimes our dignity to become all things to all men that by any means we may win some to Christ? Sometimes we tend to look down our noses at approaches to sharing the gospel that are not the traditional way of doing it. Maybe we need consider what is needed to get the proper exposure when things are out of our normal range.

Blessings,
#kent

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Principles of Fear

February 4, 2014

Principles of Fear


1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

 

Fear can be a dreadful thing, a strong motivator, a real or imagined substance and an object of reverence and respect.  I went through and looked at all of the scriptures that dealt with fear. Did you know that fear occurs some 400 times in the King James Bible?  I would say that makes it something we have to deal with and do deal with.  We have all known fear and in different forms.  We have known fear in a scary sense, an awesome and respectful sense, a sense of reverence, a dreadful sense and in the sense of terror.  So this one word fear can have different connotations to us, just like the word love can.  It doesn’t carry the same meaning and context in every situation.   What is more, is that I was surprised to find that the Word of God deals more with the fear of the Lord than any other fear.  We might not think of fear as having positive and negative effects, but it does.  If we looked at love as a comparison; the highest form of love being the love of God and the lowest form of love being hate.  The highest level of fear is the fear of God and the lowest level of fear is terror.  

When we read the context of scripture here in 1 John we might well question, “Why does the Word tell us so many times to ‘fear God’ and then turn around here and tell us that ‘there is no fear in love’? “ As I was meditating on these things the Lord brought to mind when I used to be an electrician in a power plant.  Before I became an electrician and didn’t understand a lot about electricity, it was a lot scarier to me.  Without understanding there was ignorance and ignorance gave way to fear.  I didn’t know exactly how electricity worked, but I did know it could be dangerous and that it could hurt or even kill you.  The more I learned and worked with electricity the less fearful I became and the more confident I was to work with it.  Electricity can be a lot like God, it can have awesome potential and power, but it has principles and laws that it operates by.  In order to work safely with electricity I had to learn the laws, principles and ways that electricity worked and respect those laws.  If I became complacent, careless or disrespectful of those law then I was opening myself up to hurt.  While I didn’t have to be afraid of electricity in a dreadful sense, I had to always maintain a respectful fear of it.  Even though I couldn’t see it, if I violated it, it could definitely hurt me or kill me.  My safety and my peace were in obedience to the laws and parameters with which I worked with electricity and its related equipment.  The same holds true of God.  He has given us an instruction manual and codebook to know what the principles of God are and how we are to relate with Him.  The more I come to know, experience and live with God in my life, more comfortable and at peace I can feel with Him.  I can never lose my respect for who He is and what violation of His principles and laws will bring.  Now I no longer have to fear God in terror, because I am operating out darkness and ignorance, I am learning to fear God in the highest form of His love.  My obedience and submission to God has moved from being motivated by fear to being motivated by love.  Jesus says, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.”  As I am caught up into the love of God it supersedes the fear of God.  

Let’s take it a step further.  Have you ever wondered why birds can land on power lines with thousands of volts going through them and not be killed or even hurt?  It is because their body becomes that same potential as the power line.  As long as they are at the same potential no harm comes to them, but if they had a long enough legs or wings to reach over and touch and another phase wire or ground they would be toast.  In our unity and oneness with Christ we are at the same potential as He is.  We are conducting His power and life, but if we take that God life and identify it with the flesh, now we have a problem.  Spirit and flesh are at two different potentials and they don’t mix without problems.  We short circuit God’s Life in us and then we become the problem and no longer the solution.  Thank God for the blood of Jesus that is the insulator and the repairer of those conflicts, but it is not the permission for them.  Sin brings us out of the fellowship of love and back into the realm of fear.  Maybe you see how the perfect love of God cast out fear because it can bring us to that place of being at the same potential that He is.  That doesn’t make us God, but it does make us the conduit and transmitter of His life and love.  The potential that exists with us in this place is far greater than when we were on the ground.  As long as we stay in the flow of His love, walking in the Spirit, submitting our whole selves to the principles of His Life, we are operating at an unlimited potential because of that Life that is flowing through us.  

Hopefully this illustration helps to see how the fear of God and the love of God come together.  

 

Blessings,

kent

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