Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Substance vs. Shadow

As co-labourers with God, our responsibility is to be jointly involved with God in the process of creation. However, it should be noted that the kind of labour God is involved in is spiritual in nature.

It is more creative than the exertion of physical effort - the type that man is well acquainted with. It is this type of spiritual labour Jesus referred to in Matt 9:37,38 when He said, the harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.’

This expectation of God (that we become actively involved with Him in the creative process) is in line with the fact that He created us in His image and after His likeness.

This means that every human being possesses God’s creative nature. Although everyone has this innate ability, only a few men explore its potential. Conversely, a vast majority are involved in physical labour which wearies the soul (Eccl. 10:15) and achieves nothing of any lasting value.

This is the issue Jesus was addressing when He said, ‘Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed’ (Jn 6:27).

The physical labour exerted by most people is usually in a bid to acquire the shadow of their dreams. The people who participate in this type of labour erroneously believe that this apparent manifestation will satisfy the deep longings of their hearts despite what Heb 10 verse 1 states, ‘shadows cannot make the comers thereunto perfect’ (paraphrased).

In a more general sense, shadows cannot satisfy the hearts desires. It is, therefore, important for every believer to recognise the difference between the shadow and the substance of their vision. This difference could easily be overlooked especially since it cannot be discerned by the carnal mind.

Thus, many people who pursue the shadow of their vision erroneously believe that they are involved with its substance. The difference between the two concepts was stated in Hebrews 10:1, ‘For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of those things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.’ The distinct characteristic of the shadow reality was revealed in this verse i.e. that the shadow reality of anything lacks the power to create positive change, either in the life of the person concerned or in his environment.

The power to bring good things to pass simply cannot be done by the shadow reality, regardless of how often activities are carried out to that end. It simply lacks the innate ability to make the comers perfect and produce genuine impact and results.

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