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“The hardest thing in the world is to take Christ alone for salvation and then to return to Christ alone every day of the Christian life.” – Tony Reinke
Our human nature wants to manipulate our salvation. It goes something like this: Christ did the hard part (dying on the cross) so now we’ll take it from here.
Everyone of us desires glory. We were build for it, and one day we’ll experience it, but not here. And yet, every time we use self-salvation strategies to keep God liking us and thinking we’re terrific, we end up in self-worship and self-glory.
We long to be something apart from him.
Have you noticed how burdened we feel most days with the many pressures and layers of life?
We’re addicted to living that way. We don’t understand any other kind of life.
But what would happen if we truly knew ourselves from God’s vantage point and realized we are nothing? And then be glad that Jesus is all we ever need or want?
What would our lives look like with that mindset?
“When our self-evaluation is emptied, Christ’s glory weighs heavier in our lives.” – John Newton
We need to be people like those who go to AA meetings. We need to say to ourselves in the mirror every morning, “My name is Bub, and I’m a sinner addicted to myself.”
I think we need to confess that everyday to the Lord.
He might even say to us, “Now you’re getting it. I’m here to help.”
What do you think?
A lot of Christians think they need to be as close to the world as they can in order to be cool and accepted. They wear the clothes, drive the status car, engage in the culture, and adopt the language, even the curse words.
That’s a very bad idea.
How can a person who has been raised from the dead be anything but gloriously different? (see Ephesians 2:1-10)
It’s the sinner who needs put-on identities. He has nothing else.
In contrast the Christian has the Holy Spirit in him.
Under the Old Covenant the Spirit was given to a few men and women for a short time to do a special work, and then withdrawn and placed back in the Temple, which was His customary home.
Under the New Covenant, the Christian is himself the temple, and the Holy Spirit dwells in him from the day he believes the gospel to the day he dies, and beyond.
The Spirit comes for a purpose, the first of which is to vindicate the promises of God. He promised in the Old Testament to fill His people with His Spirit permanently, and on the Day of Pentecost He did just that. This He did for the praise of His glory, and to make God look good.
Second, we are blessed because by the Spirit:
- we understand the gospel
- we repent of our sins
- we believe in Christ
- we feel conviction
- we grow in grace
- we know the truth
- we recognize heresy
- we witness for Christ
- we suffer with grace
- we die in hope
We do nothing good apart from the urging and restraining power of the Holy Spirit within us.
And one day, the Holy Spirit will raise our mortal bodies and invest them with the glory of immortality, thus making us fit to live in heaven and in the presence of God forever.
Remember, every Christian possesses the Holy Spirit, including the one you can’t get along with, are looking down on, is slow to learn, and difficult to love. Which means practically everyone, including you!
The reality is every believer is a treasure in the Holy Spirit, which makes every one of us invaluable to God and to each other.
Talk to me.
You know the bible is real when you read verses 35-37 in Mark 10.
Jesus has just finished telling his disciples the horrible death that awaits him in Jerusalem, but instead of sympathy or concern, James and John ask for a promotion. They want the power seats in heaven. When the others find out what they’re up to, they become indignant because they didn’t think of it first most likely.
The focus is ripped away from Jesus’ death and lands on human ambition. It affords Jesus an opportunity to teach his disciples what it takes to live in his kingdom.
To be a bully, to seek your own status, and to be only interested in your own agenda is the world’s way.
As a disciple you seek to be nothing, a servant ready to help others. Just like Jesus. Why was he on his way to Jerusalem? So he could die in our place on the cross for our sins. The sins of James and John. The sins of all his people.
I’m amazed at Jesus’ patience with his own.
Thank God because I’m just like James and John.
I’m committed to me. My goals. My honor.
Every once in a while I catch myself serving others.
I wish it was the reverse.
That’s why I need a Savior.
And that’s why he’s given me his perfect record.
Because I need it!
Talk to me.
Was the Exodus a splashy demonstration of God’s power?
Who else could have mobilized millions of people with their animals and belongings across a body of water like that?
Not even Disney World.
But why did God do that?
Because God had set his love on these people and they were being abused by Pharaoh.
“Time to get up and leave!” God said to them one night.
But was that all there was to it – to usher out a body of people into a new location?
God wanted to free Israel from slavery so they could serve him and sing his praises.
That’s what Israel was made to do, and that’s our purpose, too.
God is worthy of our praise and we need to give it to him.
We express our highest purpose when we celebrate his glory, and honor, and power.
The God who parted the Red Sea is not old and feeble. He’s still in the exodus business.
Every time a person comes to faith in Christ, he experiences his own exodus from sin and hell.
In the Exodus Israel was as guilty as Egypt. Israel deserved death as much as the Egyptians. They were all sinners.
But the waters parted for Israel while it drowned the Egyptians.
God’s people obeyed by putting the blood of the lamb on the doorposts. A picture of Christ’s blood for the remission of sins.
It wasn’t because the Israelites were a better race of people. They weren’t. It was because they had the blood of the lamb on their houses which protected them from death.
And that’s exactly what Jesus has done for you. If you believe in him by faith alone, then you have experienced your own exodus in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.
You are now free to serve God and sing his praises.
Are you doing that?
Talk to me.
Rev. William Willimon said in reference to the resurrection, “A dead body got loose.”
I love it.
Not only did a dead body get loose, but the only body to walk out of the grave.
Have you spent time thinking about the resurrection lately? I have. Maybe because it’s springtime and all the blossoms and tender green shoots are shouting at me. It’s God social media to a dying world.
I was on a hike last week surrounded by brilliant blue skies, a gurgling creek, and trees bursting with new life.
I found myself looking around at the breathtaking scenery, taking in the magnificence of God’s handiwork. Who but God could have designed green and blue and yellow and put them together.
I stumbled across a baby rattle snake with skin that rivaled anything in today’s fashion styles.
And yet most of my fellow hikers were plugged into their headsets with their eyes on the ground.
The outdoors is speaking God’s message for all to hear.
There’s life to be embraced in the one who got away from death.
As C. S. Lewis put it, “Christianity is a world that is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there is a rumor going around the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life.”
Look up and think about that today.
Talk to me.
You have been given Christ, and in being given Christ, you have been given life.
- You don’t need to search for meaning and purpose.
- You don’t need to search for identity.
- You don’t need to look for something to give you the inner sense of well-being that every person wants.
- You don’t have to wonder if you’ll ever be loved.
- You don’t have to worry that your life and work will result in nothing.
- You don’t have to wonder if you’ll have what you need to face what will be on your plate today.
- You don’t have to worry about your future.You will never be left to the limited range of your own resources.
- You will never, ever be left alone.
- There is always someone who understands you and offers you the help that you need.
- You don’t have to worry about whether your wrongs will be forgiven and your weaknesses greeted with patience and grace.
- You don’t have to worry because you have a Savior who has invaded your life with his grace and has made you the place where he dwells.