Rabbi Schneider - Qualified for Greatness
You and I are in God because all of His creation exists within Him. The Scripture tells us, "In Him we live and move and have our being". But it's not just that we exist in Him. We also have to have an understanding that although we're in Him, we're unique individuals. We're persons with a separateness. And this is what makes love dynamic. In order for real love to exist, two unique, separate persons with unique personalities, unique taste, two unique persons need to choose to become one with each other in love. And yet in that union of love they still remain in their separateness. In other words, when I kiss my wife, Cynthia, I'm not just kissing a picture of myself. If that's all it was, I could look at a mirror and kissed the mirror.
Now, when I kissed my wife, Cynthia, I'm kissing someone that is a unique individual. She has a unique temperament, she's built differently than I and yet together we come together, and through that union, there's an oneness that's created. And that is the type of relationship that Hashem, that Father God is looking for from you and I. We don't ever just become so in union with God that we cease to exist with our own personality, with our own will, with our own temperament. No, we're brought into union with Him. But even when we're united to Him in oneness, we're still unique. And the only person that can choose to love God is you. You're not just a shadow. God isn't making you love Him; you have to choose to love Him. You're always going to be separate. You're always going to have your own will. It's always going to be up to you to give God your heart.
As I said last week, no one can give your heart to God but you. And understanding this puts a weight of responsibility on us. When we wake up in the morning, God's not going to make us love Him. And love is not a feeling. Love is a choice. When we wake up in the morning, you and I have to realize that it's our responsibility to put Him first. It's our responsibility to control what we say so that we're always placing ourselves in a position under His authority and under His word, watching what comes out of our mouth because we want to love Him. We have to choose to come under His authority because we love Him. We have to choose to be obedient. Jesus said, "If you love me, you'll obey me". But this is our choice.
As I said last week, when I was a very young Christian, I couldn't handle the fact that any of it had to do with me because I had no confidence in myself. I just said, "Lord, it's all up to you. If you don't save me I'll be lost. If you don't save me I'll perish. If it depends on me, I'll fail". So I could do is trust God in His sovereignty to complete in me when He began. And that's the right thing to do. But as I got older, I realized that God's not going to force me to love Him. I have a call, and only I can do it.
I want to move on today. I began to touch last week on the second revelation to set you and I free. And to do that I went to the book of Bereshit, the book of beginnings, the book of Genesis. And what I showed you last week was after every form of life that God created, the plants, the fish, the birds, the animals, and the cattle, after each one of those creations, He said, "It was good". There's only one being that God created that didn't end it with saying "it is good". And that's the creation of mankind. Let's take a look into this now. We're going to Genesis 1. I'm just going to review. I want to show you what we covered last week. First of all, I'm going to go to verse 10. "God called the dry land, He separates the water from the dry land God, called the dry land, earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw", notice the next phrase there, "it was good".
Next, the Lord creates the vegetation. Let's go to verse 12. "The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw," listen, our beloved one, "that it was good. God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made stars also. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good". And then He made the fish and the birds in verse 21. And again, you're going to find, after creating the fish and the birds, He said the same thing: it was good. "God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the water swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good". And finally the cattle and the animals in verse 25. "God made the beast of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that crept on the ground after its kind; and God saw, beloved ones, that it was good".
In all these examples, God created something, it was finished, and then He said, "It was good". But let's look what happened when God created man. Verse 27. "God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' Then God said, 'Behold, I've given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth and everything tree which has fruit yielding seed; it will be food to you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food'; and it was so". But you know what we're missing? No it was good. God gave man a mission and He gave man authority. But after He completed man, He didn't say "it was good".
Now it's true that in the next verse when the Lord looked at the entire creation, He said, "It was very good," speaking of the whole creation. But only after the creation of man was there no phrase "it was good". Why is that so? The reason is, beloved, when God created the vegetation, the plants, after He created, it was done. In other words, the vegetables weren't going to continue to evolve, they weren't finished. When God created the animals, it was done. His creation was complete. When God created the sun, and the moon, and the stars, it was over. So God said it was good. But after God created man, no "it was good" was spoken because man was not done being created yet. You see, you and I are still in the process of becoming. The cattle are done. The plants are done. They're serving the purpose for which they were created. Their completion was done when God created them when He spoke that first word.
But you and I, beloved, we're in the process of still becoming. We're still evolving into all that God has called us to be. We're changing. We're being changed, the Scripture says, from glory to glory. We're growing from faith to faith. We're being transformed. Even still we're being recreated into the image of God' Son. You and I are on the journey of becoming. You see, it's important to understand that you're not done yet. In fact, hear me now, your imperfections are what qualify you for greatness. Even the sin in your life that must be overcome is what makes you great. Why? Because your imperfections, even your sin, is the starting point from which you journey. Jesus said seven times in the book of Revelation 2 and 3, "He that overcomes will inherit these things".
You see, God made it this way. God made it this way because He wanted you and I to evolve in such a way that we participated with Him by the Holy Spirit in overcoming evil, in overcoming sin. You see, goodness is not truly good if there's no choice involved. In other words, if God created you and I without giving us the freedom to sin, without giving us the freedom to choose between good and bad, then our goodness would not really be goodness in the fullest sense of the word. In order for goodness to be fully good, in order for love to really shine, there has to be a choice, there has to be an option involved.
That's why the Lord said in the Torah, "Behold, I've put before you life and death. Choose life that you may live". This same concept is illustrated when Jesus said this: "What good is it if you love only your friends? Even sinners love their friends". It's just the natural thing to do. Jesus said, "I'm calling you to love your enemies". You see, Jesus has called us to overcome. And it's when we have to strive to overcome, when we've got a sin in our life that we're really struggling with and we're clinging to God and we're praying and we're praying, and we start moving forward, and then maybe we stumble, but we get up again and we go a little further, and then we get up again and we go a little further, until finally we master it. That's what brings Hashem joy. That's what makes us great.
I remember years ago I was in a pastor's office, and someone had started attending his congregation that was a cocaine addict. And this person really gave their life to the Lord. They really fell in love with God. And they were coming to services all the time. And it was such a beautiful thing to see this person coming right out of the world that was a drug addict coming to Jesus and seeking to follow Him. But after about six weeks, this man came to the pastor just broke and crying because he had lapsed back in to taking the cocaine. And the pastor said to him, "Listen, you used to do the cocaine every day. Now, look what you did. For six weeks you didn't do it. Now pick yourself back up, and let's keep moving forward".
You know what happened? The man went three months now. He never did cocaine for three months. And then after approximately three months, again, he had a relapse. He was so broke and he felt so bad. He came to the pastor once again crying. The pastor said, "Listen, just a few months ago you were doing cocaine every day. You just went without doing cocaine for three months". And this went on for a little bit of time. And eventually, after a year and a half, this guy was completely clean, he was completely free. You see, his cocaine addiction is what qualified him for greatness because he had something to overcome. And in overcoming, he was made great. The victory that you'll receive is dependent on how much you overcome. "He that overcomes," Yeshua said, "will inherit these things".
So don't beat yourself up because maybe you have a bad temper. Don't beat yourself up because maybe you have a problem in your life in this area. Some people are good people, and yet they keep catching themselves lying. Don't beat yourself up. Just commit yourself to following the Lord, to overcoming, to doing your best and you will overcome. And at the end of the day, you'll have journeyed from over here to over here because you've overcome so much. And your award will reflect how much you've overcome. I believe that when we get to heaven, the amount of reward we receive will be based on how much we overcome. Jesus said, "Many that are last will be first; many that our first will be last". We're going to be really surprised. And some of the people that you thought were the most moral, righteous people in the earth will not have as big of a reward as somebody that you might know that they seem to have some problems in their life.
And then what you're going to find is is that the person that had problems in their life, but had to struggle and strive so hard to overcome, maybe they came from a broken home, maybe their mom or dad was a drug addict or in jail, and it was so hard for them to get to where they were, even though they might not look as righteous as this person that maybe was raised in church their whole life, you're going to find that some of these people that don't look like they're...you know, like elders in the church, they're going to have the highest reward because they struggled and tried so hard and the distance they traveled in sanctification was so far. They're going to have the greatest reward.
Mystery number two, revealed, beloved is don't beat yourself up. You're imperfect imperfections, your sin, the part of your personality that needs to be changed, it doesn't disqualify you, but rather it qualifies you to enter into something great. And the more you overcome, the greater will be your reward. Beloved, love yourself where you're at. God loves you where you're at, but He's not going to leave you where you're at. Accept who you are. Recognize, once again, that those things in you that need to be overcome that's what makes you great. Because in overcoming those things, you're going to find yourself transformed into the image of Yeshua, shining like the stars, the Scripture says, forever and ever.