Monday, November 16, 2015

Identity in Christ - 46 (Quickened)

“Quicken” comes from an old fashioned English word for life. I think the compiler of the list used “quicken” so he could have a trait that began with “Q.” As far as I can tell, it was derived from a German word for the “inner life.” It seems to have something to do with the English expression “being quick,” that is, “alert, prepared, smart.”

The passage says that we were dead, because of our sins. However, God gave people life when Jesus rose from the dead.

There are two understandings of life in Scripture. One is animation. The heart beats. People inhale. Cells divide. Food is eaten, digested, processed, and produces growth and energy.

The other is abundance. Living as designed. Not merely existing, but having joy, peace and purpose. Looking at the day, not in dread, but in hope and expectation.
  • God’s Perspective

God did not create people to merely exist. Scripture lists a group of characteristics that describe what a person’s life should be like, if they lived truly in partnership with God’s spirit. This is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

God intended people to naturally express these things. But people are not like that. The naturally express selfishness, gloom, worry, irritation, cruelty, without integrity, not keeping promises, hardness, and vacillation. It is a life that is pushed around by circumstances, and not by the inner reality of who they are.
  • Living My Life 

I recently had someone ask me a question about Sabbaths and Sabbath years. Why did God include it in his commands? What were they for? I include it here, because it seems to me to be an example of God’s intention to promote life in his family.

God instituted the Sabbath after Israel left Egypt. They were slaves to the Egyptians. They worked seven days a week. Israel’s heart focus dwelt on what they needed to do. They lived with the idea that their actions had the biggest impact on their quality of life. They lived with the rhythms of Egyptian life, where religious rituals placated their gods, and kept them favorably disposed to them. Israel adopted this mind set.

God instituted the Sabbath to introduce a rhythm of rest into the life of Israel. Rest is necessary for physical health. Rest is necessary for spiritual health.

The Sabbath is a regular reminder that our lives are not operated at an optimal level by what we do. We live optimal lives in relationship with the Father. We live:
- In dependence on his activity on our behalf. 
- In close connection and communication with him.
- In the realization that he is sold out for us.

“Being quickened” might be best considered as an attitude and a perspective, rather than a practice. Practices will arise. Whatever occurs in our inner being always results in some type of activity.

The Sabbath was intended to reinforce God’s design that people receive life when they rest, are dependent, in their Father. The primary way god’s family receives life is in rest, dependence, faith and relationship with the Father. We receive grace and love from him in relationship, based on our heart focus. If our heart focus is on our energy and work, we will cut ourselves off from relationship, and we will experience a loss of life, frustration, worry, powerlessness, and negativity. If it is focused on our relationship, we will live out our identity in him. We will live out his presence in us.

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