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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
(Part 31)

HEARING AND SEEING


June 22, 2010

Today’s readings
2 Kings 19:9-36
Psalm 48:2-11
Matthew 7:6-14

The psalmist says “What we had heard we now see” (Ps 48:9a), speaking about the beauty and awesomeness of the holy city, Mount Zion. That line sounds familiar. Ah, Job expressed it as well. Job spoke of God this way, “I had heard of you by word of mouth, but now my eye has seen you.” (Job 42:5).

The effect of what was seen was basically the same. The kings who saw Mount Zion were stunned and terrified, and fled at the sight of the divine glory (Ps 48:6). What Job “saw” of God made him accept that he had dealt with great things he did not understand, and so he backed off from challenging God about his own righteousness, disowning what he had said and repenting in dust and ashes (Job 42:3,6).

We hear a lot about God. We even learn a lot about God, through formation courses and teachings and books. But not very many reach the point of “seeing” God for who He truly is. To see God is to be truly awestruck at His awesome and fearsome majesty, to be truly humbled in His divine presence, to really finally realize how puny we creatures are before our Omnipotent Creator. To see God is not only to know with our minds who God is, but to experience with our hearts who He is. To see God is to reach the point where our lives are radically transformed in Christ.

How can we see God?

We must choose to enter the narrow gate (Mt 7:13). Not many Christians actually do so. They rather choose the wide gate and the broad road, which leads to destruction. They give in to the desires of the flesh, to the allures of the world, to the temptations of the devil. But even for those who try to be good, they might still miss the narrow gate. Indeed, “those who find it are few” (Mt 7:14b). Why? Because many do not realize that the narrow gate is that path that leads to the cross. Many well-meaning Christians avoid the cross, even though the very icon of our faith is Christ crucified. Even though Jesus himself says that if we are to be his disciples we are to take up our cross daily.

Even Christian preachers have resorted to preaching the gospel of prosperity in order to attract followers or to preserve their flock. But this false gospel shuns or minimizes the cross. When we embrace the gospel of prosperity, then we have taken the broad road. Did not God allow Job, who was prosperous in all things (wealth, family, renown), to be afflicted and to lose everything except his life? It was only after such affliction that Job finally saw God.

When we embrace our cross, then we embrace Christ who is on the cross. Then we will see God for who He truly is, and know His call to us for what it truly is.

As we enter the narrow gate, we then need to allow two things to happen. We need to “strike root below and bear fruit above.” (2 Kgs 19:30). We need to be rooted in Christ and we need to bear the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. This is a wonderful picture--a sturdy tree, with roots deeply imbedded into the ground, and with bountiful fruit. Paul says, “So, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him,[1] rooted in him and built upon him” (Col 2:6-7a). If we remain in Jesus (that is, walking with him and rooted in him), then we will bear much fruit (Jn 15:5).

As we take root and bear fruit, we also become servants of Christ and instruments of the Spirit in serving others. One of the greatest services we can do is the work of evangelization and mission. This is when we share with others the gift that God has given us. Our posture, given our experience of God’s love and goodness, should be this: “what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” (1 Jn 1:3).

God continues to reveal to us through His Spirit “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9).

We love God, but more importantly, God loves us. He wants us not just to hear but to see. God has shown us a bit of His glory, “the holy mountain, fairest of heights, the joy of all the earth” (Ps 48:2b). Let us continue to ponder God’s steadfast love (Ps 48:10) and let us share that love to all, so that His “praise reaches the ends of the earth.” (Ps 48:11a).

* * *

[1] Along the narrow path.

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