The Game Called Life
Posted on 01/20/2019 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)
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Great is the Lord God Almighty
Great is the Lord on High
The train of His robe fills the temple
And we cry out highest praise
Glory to the risen King
Glory to the Son, glorious Son
Lift up your heads, open the doors
Let the King of Glory come in
And forever be our God
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
Holy is the Lord on high
Let all the earth bow before You
And crown You Lord of all
Holy and Anointed One
Your name is like honey
on my lips
Your spirit like water
to my soul
Your Word is a lamp
unto my feet
Jesus I love you
I love you
Risen and Exalted One
I EXALT THEE
For thou O Lord art high
above all the earth
Thou art exalted
far above all gods
I exalt thee
I exalt thee
I exalt thee
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1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV)
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world.
17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
You've probably heard that passage before. Do not love the world, or anything in the world. The things in the world are not from God, but are from the world. The world is temporal, but God, and those who dwell in Him, are eternal.
So we hear this. We tend to believe this in our heads, and in our hearts. And then it is Monday. And all the things in the world seem SO important. Our stories. Our circumstances. Our earthly, carnal forms.
Another version reads like this:
1 John 2:15-17 (TLS*)
15 Do not hold on to the world or the things that are in the world. If any one loves the world, the Love of the Father is not in them.
16 For all that is in the world -- the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of this temporary life -- is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world and its desires are passing away, but the one who abides in the pleasure of God dwells in eternal presence.
Do not hold on to the things that are in the world. That includes our posessions, our relationships, our jobs, our hobbies, our problems, our desires, our ambitions, our goals, our dreams, our wealth, our poverty, our abundance, our need, our beliefs, our politics, ...or, our stories.
Our earthly stories. Things that are all passing away.
Now, this isn't saying we can't enjoy them, we can't weep with them, we can't engage in them, we can't play the roles that are involved with them; But we get lost in them.
We take them so, so seriously. Many of them, we envision somehow lasting forever. But as the New Testament writer says, they are but a vapor. Here for an instant, then they fade away. The things that occupy all our attention, that we see as so incredibly huge, that we take so seriously, are fleeting. They have relative meaning, but ultimately, they will very soon no longer exist at all.
Now, the title of this message is The Game of Life. And that might offend some people. After all, to call life a game is to not take anything seriously.
Sin is not a game. Salvation is not a game. Spiritual warfare is not a game. Godly living is not a game. Right? Well, let's take a look at those examples.
Sin. What is sin? What we call "sin," the outer action or the entertained activity of the mind, is only the fruit of something deeper.
Ultimately, sin is the state of dwelling in a place other than the place of honor, the place of glory, the place of presence, where we are seated with Christ in that heavenly realm.
Sin is found in the attachment to the temporary forms we call "life." Sin disolves when we dwell in the eternal presence of Love, of God.
How about Salvation? Well, salvation is the work that Christ completed on the cross. He holds it out to us; not as a church membership, or a sinner's prayer, or a label we wear, or something that He uses to beat us over the head until we accept it.
But it is a priceless gift. A call to rest. A call to total peace. An invitation to rest with Him in realms of ever-present glory.
We can't buy it. We can't earn it. We can't get it by getting lost in this temporary world of form, and its stories, and its cares. We can't pray hard enough to find it. We can't serve long enough to earn it. We can't repent thoroughly enough to force it to embrace us. For embrace us, it already does; that is its very nature.
Salvation is the eternal embrace of the Love that God is. We can dwell in it, here and now, or we can dwell in the world, embracing its stuff, its stories, its cares; taking them so seriously, as though all the temporary things that are passing away, somehow have eternal importance.
While, if the truth be told, all that has true value is where we dwell as we play this game of form. And if that place is in the heart of God, then everything else will fall into place.
Ephesians 6:12 (KMV*)
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
This verse is part of a passage that talks about what is referred to as "The armor of God." And we could talk about this in great depth. We have, in fact. But the word "armor" is used because it is in the context of spiritual battle.
Isn't that important? Well, consider this: From where does freedom come?
We might take authority over a spiritual trouble-maker. But is that our eternal identity? Are demons a part of who YOU are? Or is that just something we might do while in this temporary world?
Praying for blinders to be removed from someone's eyes so they can see Jesus; Is fighting against blinders a part of your identity? Or is it something you do for a short time, a very temporary role you play?
You see, we are given roles, like an actor or actress in a movie. Those roles are not forever. And those roles are ultimately not who you are. Actors and actresses generally know this. But we generally do not.
We love this world, the temporary things and stories and roles we play in this world. And that identification with and attachment to those roles and story lines takes us out of that dwelling place where we rest in the glory of the peace and the Love of God.
Which brings us to the last item: Godly living.
What is Godly living? Well, Micah 6:8 (TLS*) sums it up like this:
8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you? but to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.
All these things: doing the right, or appropriate thing, loving mercy and
compassion, and walking humbly with God, these all come from dwelling with Christ in that heavenly realm of glory.
So to be free from sin, to embrace salvation, to do spiritual warfare, or to not battle when it is not needed, and to practice Godly living, rest in the temple with Christ, far above all principalities and powers, all stories and situations, all temporary successes and failures; all these things are fleeting, they are passing away.
They are not eternal. They are not who you are. They are like a wonderful and terrifying game. And if you are lost in them, identified with them, seeing them as absolutely all-important, then you are not seated with Christ in the temple of your body in that realm of the eternal glory of His presence.
So step back. Step out of the excessive thoughts produced in the head. Step out of the story of your life. Step out of the "you" your mind has created, who you've always thought you were.
And just be.
There is Life, the breath of God, filling the temple of your body. Dwell there, seeing the thoughts come and go, the life situations rise and fall, the roles you play for this short time form, play out, and then dissolve; and be fully here, now, in the glory and eternal majesty of the Life, the Love, and the Bliss that is the timeless presence of God.