The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Better 'Focus on the Physical'

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory , Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow'rs before Thee, hail Thee as the Son of love.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness, drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal glad- Thou'st filled us with the light of Day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heav'n reflect Thy rays,
Stars, like angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise;
Field and forest, vale and mountain, bloss'ming meadow, flashing sea;
Chanting bird and flowing fountain, call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest,
Well-spring of the joy of living, ocean-depth of glori'us rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother- all who live in Love are Thine:
Teach us more to love each other, lift us with Thy joy divine.

Now ' we've joined the mighty chorus which the morning stars began;
Father-love is reining o'er all, brother-love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife;
Joyful music lifts us Son-ward, in the triumph song of Life!

I realize that in the past, I've spoken disparagingly of, and even degraded a focus on the physical, but I will strive now, to show how taking our focus off of the physical ( not necessarily a bad thing ), and focusing instead, on the greater spiritual aspects of Life, will allow us to have a better focus, or outlook, on the physical aspects of this life, in Christ.

First, we'll take a look at Paul's words to the Roman believers, in Romans 12:1 & 2. Paul told them to 'present your bodies a living sacrifice.........................acceptable to God...........and be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind'.
Paul, here, is clearly not telling them to stop living as in the world ( I Corinthians 5:9 & 10 ), but rather, to be 'transformed' in their minds/consciences, thus enabling them to truly live their lives in this world in a way that is pleasing ( acceptable ) to God!

I've chosen the words ( revised by this author ) of 'Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee' to start this article, because I think it shows well my purpose here, in that it is impossible as Christians, especially believers in His fulfilled kingdom, to denigrate any part of His wondrous creation, but rather to worship Him through our appreciation of those works and our love and mercy toward those parts of His creation that, to our human eyes, may seem unworthy of our love and mercy.
As I hinted at above, and have said before; it is only *because* we have experienced His love and mercy, and have been 'transformed' in our minds, that we are able to reflect, or show, that love and mercy, to others who were created in His image.

One idea that Paul stresses in his letters is the idea that we should not think of ourselves higher than we ought, or to think ourselves as better than another, for 'God has dealt to each one a measure of faith'.( Romans 12:3 ) Paul gently reminds his brethren in Corinth that they have nothing that they did not receive from another, in other words that they should not boast as though they had not received it, but had gained this gift, or Gift, on their own.
( I Corinthians 4:7 )
He further reminds them, in chapter 8, verse 2, that even though they thought they had the knowledge that they needed, through this Gift, they knew nothing yet as they ought to know.
Several chapters over, Paul then adjures his readers to 'do all to the glory of God' .
( I Corinthians 10:31 )
Earlier in this chapter, Paul also reminds his readers to seek 'each one the other's well being', a thought which he echoes a little later, in his letter to the Philippians, where he told those brethren to look out not only for their own interests, but also for the interests of others.
( Philippians 2:3 & 4 )
Back in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he reminds them that they were not discerning the Lord's body (others in the church ), by thinking of themselves before others, in eating to the full before those who may not be as fortunate as they ( I Corinthians 11: 20-22, 29 & 33 ).

Paul himself realized that even his knowledge, or 'sufficiency', was not of himself; as he told the Corinthians in his second letter, but that his sufficiency was of God, who alone enabled him to 'accomplish' his ministry ( see also Ephesians 2:8-10 ).

On a more personal note here, and I'm sure that others can relate; when I try to do something on my own, I usually have a harder time than if I remember that God is the One who gives me the strength to do anything at all; thus taking my focus off of the daunting physical before me, and enabling me even thus to view ( focus on ) the physical in a better light, 'realizing' that it's not up to my feebleness, but that His power is what enables me in the first place.

Along these lines; this human existence, with all the trials and tribulation of everyday life becomes alot easier to 'grin and bear' when we begin to 'realize' and understand that, since we are 'covered' by the Righteousness of Christ and are thus 'under' His grace; we can thus focus, once more on the physical aspects of this human, physical existence, and the weightier matters of the law of Christ, which are 'justice, mercy, and faith' ( Matthew 23:23 ).

I think too, that when we 'realize' that, in reading passages like 'the love chapter' ( I Corinthians 13 ), it is Christ's righteousness ( imputed to us-Romans 4:11 ) that enables ( I John 4:19 ) us to love our neighbor as we ought; we, through the 'clearing' of our conscience, are able thus, to 'focus' our attention, not on our own physical ability ( or inability ) to love God, and our neighbor as ourselves, but on the spiritual, and thus physical 'ability' that God has granted us to love Him, and our neighbor.

As always, my hope and prayer is that my readers will not only be Bereans, and 'search the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so', but that they will begin to 'realize' ( as I am, slowly ) that 'these things' are so, that we have been given life ( to share ) in Christ, and that we have not only the 'ability', but the responsibility, to love as we were ( and are ) loved!

In His Kingdom and glory,
Charles Shank