Monday, May 4, 2015

STILTS OR PILLARS?


Given the images in the title, which would you rather your life reflect - a stilt or a pillar? My answer is a pillar.

In the Old Testament, pillars were instruments of remembrance between man and God and between each other (Genesis 28:18; 31:45; 31:51). Samson used his strength and positioning of his body between the pillars of his enemy's home to bring the house down (Judges 16:26). Absalom named a pillar after himself because he had no heir (2 Samuel 18:18). The temple that Solomon built had many wonderfully crafted pillars to adorn the property (1 Kings 7). An image of beautiful strength is displayed in Song of Songs 5:15. A picture of a steadfast city - "pillar of iron" is found in Jeremiah 1:18. Even God revealed Himself to His people as a Pillar of cloud by day and a Pillar of fire by night during and after the Exodus.

In the New Testament, the imagery of pillars as signs of strength, steadfastness and dependability are still evident. However instead of being designated to things such as cities, temples, and piles of remembrance, the imagery and meaning of pillars is now assigned to Believers in Christ.

Paul, in his letter to the church in Galatia, singled out three brothers for this honor of being deemed - a Pillar of the Faith. James, Cephas and John were especially noted by Paul as having this distinction.
  • James, Cephas [Peter] and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised.(Galatians 2:9)
In essence, Paul was receiving a stamp of approval from three close disciples of Christ who "were by general consent looked up to as especially steadfast upholders of the truth of the gospel or of the Christian cause." (Pulpit Commentary) Evidently, the church in Galatia needed to hear the support of the Disciples in Jerusalem to lend more weight to Paul's teachings. He got it, they got it and the world has never been the same. Need I say Paul is a Pillar of the Faith in his own right?

Every good thing that a pillar could stand for (pun intended) - I desire to have and live out that quality. The Scripture that ministers and challenges me here is 

  • Revelation 3:12 - "The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God." 

Christ makes being a pillar conditional, but then takes care of the condition. He says the state of victory is the prerequisite for being a pillar in the temple of His God. Christ said - “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) We still must journey through life, experiencing trouble in all its forms, but Paul reminds us - in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37) Christ has the victory and our responsibility is to keep proclaiming it over our lives, because "the one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God." - not a stilt.