1 Corinthians 13:11
That last verse cited (1 Corinthians 13:11) indicates a different aspect of manhood. Not the consistence of its identity (i.e. being a man), but rather the fundamental moment in which manhood occurs (that point at which the boy becomes the man).
A good example is child birth and fatherhood.
9 months prior to the actual physical birth of the child, the expecting father begins to prepare (buying diapers, building the crib, painting the baby room, etc.). Now, he technically already is a father because he is in a unique process only indicative of becoming or being a father (conceiving a child, preparing for his/her birth, etc.), but he still isn't actually a father because the child is not yet born and, therefore, his essential fatherly identity, which is purely contingent on his physical interaction with the child, is not routinely assumed and practiced. However, that monumental moment in which the child is actually born into this world is the point at which preparation meets practicality. That time when you put away the hammer that built the crib and put the baby in it; when you stop saving the money and start putting it to its intended uses. And, while we do have these instances occurring in their unique ways in life, life in and of itself can be described in such a way. A great journey and revelation of who you are and where you are destined to head; fatherhood or aborted dreams and destiny. The key questions I think worth mentioning at this point are:
What are you building towards?
Who is guiding you? (You? God? Someone/something else?)
How are you going about doing this constructive work?
And, ultimately, why?
Once one has concluded that there is no other higher purpose than the purpose God gave us through Jesus Christ, we will have effectively ended the construction phase for ourselves and have begun the maintenance phase. We are grafted into a living body and network of Christ (Christians) and are then commanded to perform the will and mind of the Head, much in the same way that my body does my will to write this blog with the words that come to my mind. None of my body fights against me when I attempt this and every single cell within me works for my benefit and not its own as I accomplish those first two things; my will as it comes to me from my mind.
Upon the redemption, the...
By the Blood of the Lamb, we are no longer to be autonomous individuals made up of cells unidirectionally moving towards our own preconceived benefits (health, family, security, happiness, etc.), but united and unidirectional cells making up the Autonomous Individual of Christ. No cell in the body works against the body or for it's own benefit unless it is cancerous, essentially a cell that won't do what it's instructed to do, which, most specifically is to DIE (biologically, a cancer cell is one in which apoptosis, or programmed cell death, does not occur for a myriad of reasons). This is absolutely relatable from the human perspective. After all, what mentally stable person actually wants to physically die? Jesus didn't even want to do that. Thankfully, His obedience to God's call for apoptosis for the sake of humanity was perfect and His Body is cleansed for He is the Great Physician and His Church, the ones He comes back for, that is, His Body, will not even have so much as spot or wrinkle (totally submitted to the Head).
What do you think He will do to the cancerous cells?
What will he do to the cells who refused to die to themselves and their wants and their dreams and their goals and their comforts for the sake of His?
What do you think He will do when that cell is standing next to a cell who was burned alive in front of his family because he refused to disobey the orders of the Head by giving up the Bible and the aforementioned cells best excuse was, we lived in ________ (insert almost any 1st world country here) and we could afford the cushy, “posturepedic” crosses made by Stay-Asleep-Number and the soft restrains option for the nails, cuz...
real nails hurt...
And, besides, I lived in _______ (re-insert that 1st world country again). It's not our cultural norm to be persecuted in such a way. I received that country's persecution for hiding my faith in my heart and between my like-minded friends. I think that's comparable.
Besides, there as so many people all over the world who are persecuted like him (point to burnt cell). Am I my brothers keeper?
You gonna say that standing next to the minister who obeyed the voice of the Lord and went to Somalia and was tortured for 5 YEARS before being publicly decapitated?
What will God do to the cancerous perpetrators who don't live for Him, but cling to His life-giving resources only so they can fit Him snugly in their prayer closets and their conscious inside of a desire to not feel guilt for self-absorbed and self-directed living?
The answer is found in the book of Revelation, by the way.
Now I'm not trying to convince you to sell your home and move into an impoverished life of overseas ministry (not everyone is called to that, but the key is, THEY answered God's call. Did you? Can you even hear Him in your life?)
Praise God we get to choose which cell we will be (either cancerous or healthy), and that choice effectively gets expressed through who's directions we are taking; the One who instructs death to self, or any other.
Yet, even in our life's house (which we are constantly working on in some way until we are called before the General Contractor and Architect of this life) when we accept Jesus, we do so in a TOTALLY cancerous state and He enters into our dirty, dysfunctional house after patiently knocking for however long it took for us to open up to Him. It's not until we really choose to open up in such a way that we truly begin to live.
Have you truly done that?
And if so, what rooms are you keeping locked away and inaccessible (you think) to Christ's cleansing, healing touch?
Are you ready to stand next to the decapitated missionary?
Are you ready to be one?