I’d like to read a couple common Bible stories – one of which is a true story, and the other a parable – which are used quite often, sometimes together, to prove a point.
But I’d like to take this point a wee bit further than it generally is taken 🙂
The first one is the story of the ten lepers, which you can read in the NKJV below:
11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”
I think we’re due another story 🙂 (NKJV)
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming;[a] go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
Now, this story is often used to press a point: not everyone makes it. We have to be ready, with lamps burning, in order to be brought away with the Bridegroom.
But there’s another point I’d like to make – not an entirely different point, just taking the original point to a different level.
If you’ll go re-read the story of the lepers, you’ll find something: all of the lepers asked for mercy. Not just the Samaritan. Every one of them. What’s my point?
Good question. If we look at the story of the ten virgins again, we’ll find that all of the women were virgins. All of them had stayed pure waiting for the Bridegroom, but not all were ready with lamps burning bright. Translation: we can stay pure, waiting for Christ to return, but not actually be picked up by him.
Oil in the Bible represents the Holy Spirit a lot, and I think that in this case, it represents when we are on fire for the Holy Spirit and being filled with Him constantly. If we’re living a stagnant life of waiting for Jesus to come back or looking like the world six days a week, we’re not on fire.
Let’s read another passage, which can be found in Matthew 7 (NKJV):
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Note that this passage is not referring to those who don’t live for Him. It’s referring to those who actually have prophesied in His name, cast out demons in His name, and done many wonders in His name.
And if some people who actually do those things (like every one of us was commissioned to do in Mark 16) don’t make it, who out of us will?
(Note: this passage refers to those who practice lawlessness. In other words, we can do mighty works in His name, and not be repentant, which causes a problem. But that’s another post I might get around to one of these days)
Now, my goal is not to plant a seed of doubt in your heart for you to think that you might not make it – that’s not the idea.
Nor is the idea to operate out of a spirit of fear to make you flip out, run to church, get extra-involved in charitable works in hopes you might make it, and live in fear for the rest of your life.
In fact, that’s the exact opposite of what I want to happen.
The idea is that you actually have an intimate relationship with Him (not the church), are filled with the Spirit, and have deliverance of what is oppressing you – yes, you.
The idea is that you take your eyes off of what can be physically seen, take your mind off of what can be physically understood, and focus on a God that cannot be seen with your eyes or understood with your mind. Rather, He can only be known and revealed through being continually filled with the Holy Spirit (as the original verb tense was anyways, but that’s another blog I might write someday).
If we continue, as the body of Christ, to know Him and make Him known only through the tangible, or what can be seen, touched, and understood … we’re truly missing out.
I’m probably overdue to wrap this thing up, so I’ll leave you with this: seek the Lord – not out of a motive of religion or works or because it’s the best thing to do. Seek Him for Who He is and what He’s done for you. Soak in His presence, and listen to His voice.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. – John 10:27 NKJV
4 thoughts on “Are You Ready for Him?”
I regret having to say this, but I had a major disagreement with the following statement, which you made almost at the end of the post:
“I’m probably overdue to wrap this thing up”
You were by no means overdue to do any such thing. 😉
That aside, it seems I’m noticing a theme among some of the stuff I’ve been reading today. (#creepy 😉 ) For instance, just a bit ago I was reading these strong words over at Doulogos:
“It starts on one’s knees – have you even asked God to take away every false love? If you have, have you knocked on that door until it was opened? Did you wrestle in prayer as Jacob did with the angel – saying I shall not let you go until you bless me? Or did you give up after twenty minutes with a shrug because you didn’t believe God would ever do it in the first place?
No one stops loving the world who hasn’t been to the throne for grace, and no one who is serious gives up until they have victory. A soldier who lays down on the field as soon as he hears gunshots is not pressing onto victory – no, he charges into the teeth of the fray and starts fighting. Christian, maybe today you see yourself as that one on the ground, afraid of the fray, you see an unwillingness in yourself to go the “whole nine yards” – don’t call it weakness, call it worship, for you are as much an idolater as can be. You love your flesh, and you worship it, and so long as you fawn over it like that, you continue on as an idolater. “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” – Ephesians 5:5 [ESV]”
Judas saw Christ performing miracles. It’s likely he even performed miracles, just as the rest of the disciples. Yet he wasn’t saved – scripture refers to him as the son of perdition. Likewise there will be many on that Day who thought they were super-spiritual, yet they will be horrified to realize, all too late, that they’d never truly known Jesus. They had never bowed the knee to Him in repentant faith. They practiced some sort of religion, but their motivation was of the flesh rather than of the Spirit.
I think another scripture that’s really relevant here is 2 Peter 1:10-11:
“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities (referring back to the previous verses, which I didn’t quote here for sake of brevity) you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Alright, now I’m going overdue, so I’ll stop. 😉
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I was getting over 1000 words, which is a bit above my average, so I decided to drop it. But I guess you’re right – word counts shouldn’t limit my fuego 😉
But you really did creep me out there for a bit with the not-even-one-sentence preview I received of your comment… I thought we were going to end up having a disagreement in the comment section of my blog 😉
Amen! I have a feeling we would have quite a fired-up conversation about this in real life 🙂
(And I have a major disagreement with your last sentence, but I won’t point that out)
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Well … knowing me, if I were trying to point out a way in which we disagree, I’d do it in many words, so as to be as gentle as possible … and I’d preface what I was actually trying to say with many paragraphs of preamble, so you’d properly understand where I was coming from. Apologies for creeping you out. *insert halo-head emoji here*
The longer I blog, the less word counts mean to me. If I go over 2000 words, it probably means I had something awesome to say for once. But then again, nothing I say is awesome unless God uses it to touch the hearts of those reading it.
Yes, a “fired-up” conversation about this in real life would be inevitable. Especially if I were grilling meat. (Uh oh, it seems I’m getting hungry)
And thank you for sparing me the disagreement. I appreciate it. 😉
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Apologies for creeping me out accepted.
And yup – my words are meaningless if they don’t bring glory to Him.
Go grill yourself some meat! You’re (supposed to be) still a growing lad!
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