We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering His son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to Him.
Jesus’ love ran red so yours could be white as snow. Think about that sacrifice. Think about that gift. Then, when you feel like you can get up again, take those once-somber feet and tell the world about what He has done to make you new.
The Bible isn’t a rule book. It’s a love letter. I’m not an employee. I’m a child. It’s not about my performance. It’s about Jesus’ performance for me. Grace isn’t there for some future me but for the real me. The me who struggled. The me who was messy. ….. He loves me in my mess; He was not waiting until I cleaned myself up.
When Jesus looked down from the cross, he didn’t think “I am giving myself to you because you are so attractive to me.” No, he was in agony, and he looked down at us - denying him, abandoning him, and betraying him - and in the greatest act of love in history, he STAYED. He said, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” He loved us, not because we were lovely to him, but to make us lovely.
Fearing God isn’t about being afraid to know Him. Fear of God means respecting and trusting in His living word. It means we no longer want to be chained to our sin nature. Instead we want to be set free in Jesus and redeemed by His sacrifice of love.
“My generation is gruesomely lonely, but in response, we don’t need another handout, another kind gesture, or a better bible study. We don’t need more people that will merely know our name and address or care for us sporadically and at arms length.
We need big, re-imagined, Jesus kind of love, and people willing to sacrifice themselves in order to live it with us. We need people who will love us enough to get messy.
So be deeply involved. Be covered in someone’s tears. Be the person who gets the call at midnight. Be the person who hears the gory details when someone’s marriage or career falls apart. Be the person who tells someone the hard stuff that they need to hear but no one wants to say. Be the person who repeatedly gets someone else’s mud and blood all over you. Be the person who goes home a little uncomfortable at night, not because of your behavior and thoughts, but because you’ve been near enough to someone else’s. Be a family member to the lonely, messy people of this world, and to my generation.”
May everything we do, everything that happens this year, be an outflow of bold faith and joy filled expectation that God’s in control. May we lift up prayer to the Lord with heartfelt praise. May we worship the Lord our Savior Jesus in spirit and truth more than we have ever done before.
He beckons us saying, “Beloved, the war is over! A ceasefire was established when I laid my life down for yours. It is finished. Rest.” Sometimes we need to allow Christ to fight our battles. His armor will protect us. His love will lead us on.