Yesterday I went to see “A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood,” a story from the life of Fred Rogers.  What a movie, an emotional roller coaster, to be sure.  Some tried to dub him, “A living saint” given his gentle demeanor, his love for people. In truth, he was a man committed to Someone else.  He was a Christian, who read Scripture everyday, kept a prayer list, and lived his faith. You may not know that he was also an ordained Presbyterian minister. The movie makes no specific mention of Christianity, though it does refer to his prayer life. Yet, it is clear that Mr. Rogers regarded himself as a servant of Christ and that his faith went far beyond mere sentimentality.

Paul in his first letter to the church in Thessalonica, mentions that he thought of those converts often, hoping that they were keeping the faith. He gets word of their commitment, writing that “Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love.”  He tells them of his joy.  “For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. … It is God’s will that you should be sanctified.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3, NIV)

Those who are “in Christ” are a people possessed. Whoa! Yes, that’s a scary thought, at first. “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19) When we receive the love of Jesus by faith, when He gives us life and peace, He makes us His very own possession, not to exploit us, but rather to prepare us for a life that is rich with goodness.

Peter teaches us about the place prepared for us. “You are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you— from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.” (1 Peter 2:9-10, The Message)

In the story of Mr. Rogers we discover a man who knows he belongs to another, who chooses to work out the implications of his faith in the down to earth situations of life. It is interesting to hear him admit to having a temper, but choosing not to indulge that temper. He is transparent about his own humanity, but makes no excuse to live in ways that would cause pain to others. Isn’t that exactly what Jesus asks of all us to claim to be His disciples?

Jesus’ invitation to ‘come, follow Me,’ requires a parallel willingness to ‘take up our cross.’ We can only know all He has prepared for us if we are daily dying to Self, praying to live in the Spirit, being sanctified. That is not a terrible word though some read it that way.  When we let Him sanctify us, we are being made holy.

Holy means that we are owned, prepared to serve His purposes, wherever they are found, whenever He asks.  There is a separation from the world’s values that is both worked in us by the Spirit and worked out by us in our choices. Have you heard Him invite you to ‘come out … and be separate?’ He follows that invitation by saying ‘I will welcome you and I will be your Father.’   The price of true intimacy is be submitted to Him, willing to be owned, willing to say ‘no’ to sin and Self in order to be able to say an unqualified ‘yes’ to Him.

It is said that everything of value comes at a cost. It is true. A cheap grace, a kind of ‘Christianity’ without true discipleship, is commonly preached and practiced. The depth of discipleship, which brings beautiful character and let’s the beauty of Jesus shine through, comes at a cost. A treasure is found, beyond estimated worth.

The word from the Word is a parable of Jesus. Will you hear the call? “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a pearl merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” (Matthew 13:45-46, NLT)


Refiner’s Fire

Purify my heart
Let me be as gold
And precious silver
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold
Pure gold

 Refiner’s fire
My heart’s one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You my Master
Ready to do Your will

 Purify my heart
Cleanse me from within
And make me holy
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from my sin
Deep within

Brian Doerksen © 1990 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing (Admin. by Vineyard Music USA)

Vineyard Songs Canada (Admin. by Vineyard Music USA)

CCLI License # 810055

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