Escape is not always a cowardly thing.
Sometimes heroes are the ones who lead an escape. Jesus is certainly such a hero. Through his courage and action, we can escape:
- the judgment our sins demanded,
- the wrath of God which is surely coming on the earth, and even
- death itself.
There are other things we cannot escape:
- the responsibility for the call of God on our lives,
- the consequences of a lifestyle of sin,
- the pain we cause others who are counting on us if we fail to follow through with our ministries, and
- that wonderful/horrible day when we stand before the Lord and give an account of what we did and did not do with His grace in our lives.
There is a great danger that each of us must learn how to escape.
The more serious we are about fulfilling the plan of God for our lives, the greater this danger looms. Faithful ministers of the Gospel are especially susceptible to this danger.
Because we love Him so much and the work before us is so important and the needs of the people around us are so pressing, we can acquire the idea that we are indispensable to the work of God. This leads to illegitimate feelings that we must learn to escape:
- If we stop praying for a minute it is a sin for the Bible clearly says to pray without ceasing.
- If we take a day off and do nothing to advance the Kingdom, we are sinning because we are not redeeming the time and our harvest is in jeopardy.
- If we relax our high-speed, multitasking brains for an hour or two, we may miss the return of Jesus because the Bible says “ in such an hour as you think not, the Son of Man cometh.”
This behavior pattern is called a messiah-complex.
How we escape the messiah complex? We established that Jesus is our hero, our rescuer, our Messiah. Escape begins when we realize that He is the one upon whose shoulders the government of the Kingdom of God rests—not us! Jesus is the Messiah—we are not! The man or woman of God must learn a new level of trust in God Almighty. The Bible says He never sleeps. Might that be true so that we can sleep? In fact, God set the example of resting—taking time off!—on the last day of the creation week. If are going to be rested and ready to worship God on the Lord’s Day, we need to set aside time to rest up, to escape from the pressure of work for a few hours.
One of the reasons we are given minds capable of learning all sorts of things is to give us interests beyond our work. We should never let the enemy of our souls accuse us wasting time when we are following those interests. God remembers that we are human beings. He knows our minds need rest and our bodies need exercise.
Go ahead today and escape or a while from the cares of this life.
Have some fun. Learn something new that means absolutely nothing to your work. The Kingdom of God remains secure, resting squarely on the broad shoulders of the Messiah—and that isn’t you!
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous escape.
Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 NKJV
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Psalm 103:14 NKJV
For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Lord Jesus, today is the Sabbath, the day You ordained for rest. Free me from any tiny bit of a Messiah complex. You are the Lord; I am Your servant. You do not count my rest-time as time wasted. Tomorrow, Sunday—the Lord’s Day—is the day when I will spend every ounce of my heart, soul, mind, and strength to the joy of expressing my love for You. In preparation for the day of worship, I will enjoy a day of rest and/or diversion. These things, too, are gifts from You. For Your Glory, Lord! Amen.
Rock of Ages
Words: Augustus Toplady; Music: Thomas Hastings
1. Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.
2. Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law’s demands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.
3. Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.
4. While I draw this fleeting breath,
when mine eyes shall close in death,
when I soar to worlds unknown,
see thee on thy judgment th
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved