Friday, December 2, 2011

holding out the word of life

God, I can't do it.
I can't find the words to pray - to write - to express my heart's cry.
I sit here quietly and calmly composed -- just another patron of this local coffee shop -- nothing out of the ordinary.  But inside, I am wailing.  Weeping.  Throwing up my hands and asking for mercy and understanding -- pleading for wisdom for an entire generation.

I want so much for everyone to understand.
...to understand that the road, although narrow, is worth it.
...to understand that the life You have given is full and complete.
.
I want so much to find the right words.
...loving words.
...gentle words.
...words that build up and do not tear down.

And a part of me wants to shake everyone (including myself sometimes) and just say, "Why don't you SEE it??  This FULL LIFE is right before your very eyes -- within your grasp -- why don't you reach out and grasp it??"

We don't reach out and grasp it
...because the way is difficult.
...because we have cultivated a life for ourselves in which we can barely discern between the world's teachings and Jesus' teachings.
...because right now, it is easier to live for the flesh.

I, too, have fallen victim to the world's enticing.  I, too, have called myself a Christian and not followed the teachings of Christ.  I have believed that it's okay to live for self, to rely on money, to seek after earthly things.  I have believed that life is about the here and now -- about carpe diem! and living without ever wondering, "What if?"

But the carpe diem attitude has left gaping wounds in my soul.
My mind still fights against mistakes and misrepresentations of what it means to be God's child.
I am still doing battle with my past.

And now the "What if's?" have turned into -- "What if I had followed Christ the whole time?"  "What if I had obeyed from the beginning?"  "What if I had taken the responsibility of being a Christian seriously?"  

How could my life have been different if I had just let God transform me from the very beginning?

I try not to dwell in these "What if's?" because what's done is done.  I cannot go back.  And God can redeem even the worst parts of my past to bring Him glory -- and I have witnessed Him doing so through the hopeful tears of a college student girl who feels like no one in the world understands her struggles.  

I understand.
I have been there.
But I do not want you to have to be there.
I do not want you to have to go through what I have gone through.
I want you to experience the life I now experience -- the peace and love of the Lord that infiltrates every bit of my life.

Philippians 2:15-16 says I am to shine like a star in the universe as I hold out the word of life.

This is me holding out the word of life to you.


I do not just live and breathe it.  I want to offer it.
Please reach out and grasp it -- grasp the beautiful reality --

  • that God has made you.
  • that He loves you.  Adores you.  Thinks you're pretty awesome.  
  • that He wants to dance with you.
  • that He is so holy and there is nothing you can do to earn your way into His presence.
  • but that it's okay, because He sent His Son to take our place.  And since the Son and the Father are one, this means that the Living God came down to us as a baby -- the lowliest of the low -- and put Himself in our place.
  • because we do not deserve eternal life and God's favor, because we have fallen short.  We mess up, time and time again.
  • but if you confess that you have no business coming to the Father out of your own merit, that you are a hopeless sinner and need Jesus to cover you before the Lord, and if you make this God of the universe LORD of your life (and that means all of it), that you will be saved.
  • and right now -- RIGHT NOW AS YOU LIVE ON EARTH -- your life will forever be transformed.
But hey.  I can't say it better than my buddy Paul:

"But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ.  God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood -- to be received by faith.  He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished -- he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.  Where then, is boasting?  It is excluded.  Because of what law?  The law that requires works?  No, because of the law that requires faith.  For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law."

Romans 3:21-28

Get ready for a wild ride.
It's not easy, but it is so worth it.

Please.  Take my word for it.  I am living, breathing proof of the transformation Christ offers.  It's not fluff.  It's not brainwashing.

It's real living.

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