Before I sat down to write this blog, a painting by a Mongolian artist came to mind to illustrate how I feel about writing these days. I hardly have time to write interesting & well edited stuff, but I can’t wait until better times when my children are all grown up. The painting was all-dark, with black & white horses bursting with boundless energy. You could just imagine them coming off the picture at any point. In expectation, you are looking and almost waiting for it to happen. Sometimes the thoughts come and rapture your imagination as in a wild & beautiful dance! If they do, write them down. If you don’t, they will stop coming. This morning as I was running, I’ve almost turned around to go home to do just that. So much for carrying your pen & paper around!
Let’s consider the most important connection in the Universe. What would you say that be? I know what this connection is for me. So I would like to talk about it.
While shopping at the supermarket, I saw a new sign:’Wi-Fi connection available now!’
We all know that to connect to the Internet we must have access through broadband, Wi-Fi or another internet provider. You can huff and puff, but if the Internet is disabled (as the case on my phone) it will not happen. In a very similar way, to connect to God, we must have a right spiritual balance to start with. The Bible is clear on that:
‘If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’
This precisely means: ‘Saving faith is not mere intellectual agreement but deep inward trust in Christ at the core of one’s being.’ (ESV Study Bible)
This one sentence has a great depth of information. Throughout the centuries there were two groups of men that prayed to God. One group represents sincere believers, while the other reflects the image of those with a vain hope that God hears their prayers. We can say that now because we can evaluate their actions in the light of Jesus’ teaching. Their behavior was as far as the East is from the West. A classic example of such people were those who crucified Jesus, they appeared to be the most prayerful & spiritual people around.
Amazing, how the latest film, ‘Les Miserables’ pointed that idea out so clearly, as though Javert & Valjean were the representatives of two camps. Both were praying to God, while one’s prayers didn’t reach the ceiling, the other one’s went straight to the throne room of God, producing preservation of life and blessings. And the end is almost predictable, spiritual turmoil and darkness always leads to eternal oblivion whether we agree or not. Not being filled with kindness, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, just doing what is right in the sight of the law where humans lost value, life had hardened Javert. That is another type of balance that is important to understand. The law is good, but the aim of it always to preserve life, not destroy it, we can see clearer now, while living under the Covenant of Grace.
The situation in France at the time was so grim for the poor, to the point that you almost want to sympathize with the revolutionaries. The same air of oppression was in Imperial Russia. Because God’s Word wasn’t preached in the Orthodox church, corruption and injustice grow out of proportion. I’m convinced that if God caused national revival to both France and Russia as He did in England, the blood shed would be spared.
As we read about Puritans or saints of old, we can’t help, but see that they put a huge emphasis on ‘examining yourself’ theme, searching into the depth of their hearts already, as sincere believers. Once we put our trust in God, not just intellectually, but with everything that we have, we still have to keep testing ourselves. ‘Examine your souls, whether you stand in the faith. Tend to your souls, or are you not aware that Yeshua The Messiah is in you, and that if not, you are worthless?’
As I was talking to the friend on the phone about ‘Les Miserable‘, telling her about all the negative remarks that the critics already spat out, she said: ‘I believe there is such little humility in our society these days.’ She lived longer than me and she worked in London all her life, she must have come to such conclusion for a good reason.
The film clearly describes vividly what the Grace of God can do for a man. And what absence of it will bring – destruction at the end. How can anyone watch this film & not see this power of Grace, it is beyond me? I understand not all will embrace it, but surely they should see it. But they can’t. This must then only confirm total & utter depravity of a human heart.
Here is a really thought-provoking idea. These critics, who despised the singing so much by non-professionals, demanding perfection from the actors, are not extending any Grace at all to them. They are not happy that it was such a long film; they are not pleased that Anne H. nostrils are so close up, call it simply ‘disgusting’! The woman she plays just realized that her life is not worth living, her dreams are dead, so is she, no, it meant NOT to look very beautiful. This is simply hilarious that the very people, who suppose to understand the plot and paid for critiquing it, completely missed the point of it? Sounds familiar, I’ve read it in the Bible before.
Have any of those who complain out loud considered if they might be in need of God’s Grace at one point? How long is Christ less eternity exactly – I’m sure longer than this film & how will they endure it then? When they stand themselves before God, not having His grace and forgiveness, embarrassing perfection as their standard, how will they measure up to Holy and Perfect God? The answer is: they were thinking so hard to bring the film & the message that it carries down through their arrogant opinion, they didn’t think once that this rule could be applied to them just as much. No, there are still a lot of people out there how don’t think about God & His absolute truth for a moment.
I’m not really worried about people like that here. The point of this blog is hopefully to encourage those who were walking with the Lord each day, but somewhere somehow the heart & head stopped being synchronized. The connection to God broke because sin got in the way. As Christians, we still carry on believing in God in our head, just like ‘demons who believe and tremble’ (this is a great thought to muse over), but our heart & will can refuse to follow in His ways & to walk unashamed with Him daily. Our will reverses to obey our flesh than crucified Savior. Because we stopped watching the adversary of our souls through the Bible & prayer, other things more appealing got in the way. Often we ourselves are the last to know about it. Everyone else can see it, but not us. Satan’s deception is powerful & not easily broken without prayer & repentance. We have myriads of examples to that in the Bible, but almost never thinking it could happen to us…
God had paid the final & the only acceptable price, but often this alliance is costly to His followers just the same! Our flesh hates to even think about it. I know how it feels to be at the cross roads & in the ‘spiritual swamps’. Only the Grace of God is able to pull you out of there. How scary is that place seems is once we escaped from it? Our sin has such blinding power, enchanting us & alluring supernaturally, constantly trying to overthrow dominance of the Holy Spirit in our lives as born again believers. This condition doesn’t come upon anyone over night though. You hear that a Bible teacher had left his wife for another woman. You hear about the break up of the Christian family. You hear about abuse of the children in a believer’s home. You wonder – how on earth is this possible? But it is & rather easily – it is The Great Delusion, ‘ Javert’s Syndrome’ would be proper to diagnose. Most of the time those Christians somehow convinced (due to the power of delusion) that what they do is good & right. I think synonyms for word ‘delusion ‘ will also massively help to know the meaning of the word:
At other times, we are able to realize that what we are doing is wrong, but the power of sin & deception of the enemy is iron like. When you drink coffee without measure with 5 spoons-full of sugar every day & of course know this is a bad combination, BUT the voice in the head says….’ I need my caffeine. I need my coke. I need my sweets. I need to go shopping. I need to argue my position.’ Endless…
When we are delusional because of our sin, the Bible is extraordinary fog-less on the issue:
‘Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.’
‘Jesus uses hyperbole (intentional overstatement) to emphasize the necessity of rigorous self-discipline & RADICALLY removing sin from disciple’s life before it leads to judgement. Here hell= Gehenna is a word for a place near Jerusalem where rubbish was constantly burned, so became a metaphor for the fire of hell.’ ESV Study Bible.
Speaking on behalf of women, it is hard, but possible to come back to your normal weight after the childbirth. I’ve always keep a pair of jeans that I used to wear before I had any children. They are my standard to measure up to and be able to see where I’m with my weight. It is painful, but possible to change your eating habits, even after many years of ignorance about proper nutrition.
What is almost impossible or extremely hard to do is to keep up your spirituality once again after you had a number of children without the spiritual encouragement of your husband or your pastor. I remember a good Christian friend sharing with me how her husband was not walking with the Lord, she tried to get to church on her own with five children and was late every time. One day he approached her and rebuked for being late all the time. He pointed out if she is not serious about God, how is she possibly expecting the Lord to take her seriously. After that, she has never been late for the service again. They had prayed together for the soul of her husband. The Lord had answered and as a family they turned out as faithful servants of the Lord, serving Him beyond their own country.
Let’s not pray like Javert or pray at all. We have to connected to God in the way He intends us to. No one knows for sure how it could be done…. unless we consult Him through His Word. Remember this is the God who raises the dead. There is none like Him in this galaxy or in all the galaxies! The point of prayer is for God to hear us & answer us according to His will. If you see someone deceived, lift them up in an intercessory prayer. That is the best thing you can do for a friend or a family member. Valjean could not last in 18th century France without God’s providence in his life. He was a marked man! That’s the beauty of Grace – God gives it to those who don’t deserve it and there is no human reason behind it – why it was Valjean, but not Javert. Surely he could have been a changed man if it were up to grace of God. Why not? We don’t know. If out of all people who should have embraced God’s Grace it should have been Judas who hanged out with Jesus for three whole years. Only imagine. But he hanged himself. Judas without God’s grace could not see the face of God in Jesus or His kindness to all that came spiritually thirsty & hungry to be satisfied at long last.
The musical finished off on the note saying that when we see kind act, we look in the face of God. True. Judas thought it was more profitable to save the oil for the poor rather waste it on Jesus. If you can’t ‘waste it’ on Jesus, how on earth will you love the poor & outcast?
My oldest son was so interested to know what the film was all about when I got home from the cinema. After I’ve introduced to him some of the plot, he curiously inquired: ‘ Is Valjean a real man?’ That is a good question. He is not or most of us don’t really know that. But he does represent all men just like him. Victor Hugo thought about this concept for a long time. It took him long 17 years to finish the novel and in the end he said: ‘I’m not sure if anyone will read this novel…’ To our knowledge today this tale translated to almost every known language. Even though Hugo himself did not profess to be a believer, rejecting the influence of the Catholic church that his mother was loyal to, God certainly used his talent & desire for writing to produce a tale that stood through the centuries as a great masterpiece. The Lord is Sovereign and even Satan is only on the short leash from Him, serving every purpose that God has in mind. Let’s not forget that. Valjean clearly didn’t make it into God’s courts, but how well his symbol served to every believe to see that the law without the grace only condemns the sinner.
‘I, Yahweh, search the mind, I try the heart, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.’
No one can hide absolutely nothing from God . What a thought!