Sunday, August 25, 2013

No Party Poopers in Heaven

How important is it that we Christian Childlovers keep our peace with children and not offend their dignity? Because if we ourselves are children of God, our Father in heaven will honor us as though we were His own sons and daughters (just as we honor our young friends as though they were ours). If we are sons and daughters, we no longer work as servants, nor are we merely invited guests at His banquet, but we get to sit at the table and be presented as sons and daughters of the most gracious Host. This banquet we usually call "heaven," referred to in scripture as being like a big party on our behalf, a "wedding feast" where "dining" goes on and where all the saints get to partake of the party delights as sons and daughters would: "And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” (Revelation 19:6-9).

Indeed, all are invited to it, even us Childlovers, but not everyone wants to attend, and not everyone who wants to attend will go. We have to be on our best behavior if we want to go, just like children. So who gets to go? In the scriptures we learn that those who are downtrodden, besieged by desires they can't ever possess, and who are needlessly persecuted in this life, who patiently endure these trials, may find themselves first in line to inherit the comforts and the graces of God, and share at His table, but only if they keep their peace and humble themselves to the bitter end. This is how we are perfected in order to attend. If these trials are not patiently endured and we do not act our best, we may find ourselves last in line, or even worse, not allowed to go at all: 
"And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” LK 13:22-30
The Lord wants each of us, including you, to attend as a son or a daughter so much that He's willing to make sure you look and are your very best, so that He can present you at the celebration as His own child, give you a good pat on the back and call you His own by adoption. For this great honor on your behalf, you may be going through a time where God is perfecting you so that He can present you as the main attraction of His great banquet, and pass on to you the inheritance of His kingdom. So if you are troubled in this life, and feel like God is constantly punishing you when you err, take this as a sign of His love. He just wants you to be the best you can be:
"Brothers and sisters, You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children: “My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.” Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline? At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it." HEB 12:5-7
If you instead reject His discipline and start acting out, screaming and whining that you can't get your way, then not only can God not present you as the main attraction of the party, but won't even allow you to go. It would be unbecoming to bring an angered and petulant child to a party, and it also wouldn't be just, not just for the child, but also for the party-goers, for the party to be spoiled by the likes of some kid who is just going to lash out at everyone. Likewise, it would be unfitting and unjust for God, if you should spurn His discipline, to allow you entrance and to present you as His own child. No parent wants to proudly acknowledge an obstinant child who is acting out and causing a scene as their own, much less shower them with praise. God is no different:
“After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out." LK 13:22-30
And just like the child who feels like his or her parents are so unfair for not letting him or her go to the party when he or she refuses to listen to their instruction, so too is the person who will have to "sit in their room" while everyone else gets to enjoy everything God wants for them to enjoy at the great heavenly feast. Make sure you do whatever needs to be done, and endure whatever needs to be endured, so that you can go join the party. It's no fun unless you get to be there, and everyone, including God, wants you to be there.

Friends, humble yourselves like beautiful little children. 
Grace and peace be with you.

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