Monday, February 6, 2012

Why Did Jesus Even Bother With Me?

Have you ever wondered why God even bothers with you? It's not like you are a superstar. There might be 20 or thirty people in your life that know you, perhaps 1 or 2 who know you well. You keep messing up all the time. You often forget to pray. You haven't brought anyone to the Lord and you're not even sure you know how. Maybe you came from a place of terrible sin before meeting Jesus and that stuff just will not let you go, always haunting you. How could God save someone like you let alone have any time to deal with your daily problems?

If you feel this way or even think it let me give you a bit of news. It's not something soft and tender like "God chose to love you despite your sin" which is true. There is another reason and it goes beyond the benefit of salvation for you.

Apostle Paul ended up an incredible man of God, an apostle in the Body of Christ, a man used by God to give us two thirds of the New Testament, a man who had an incredible insight into the Body of Christ, but he didn't start off that way. Paul was the great persecutor of the Church. The Church had never experienced such a vicious attack as they did under Paul. He was responsible for the beating and jailing of innocent people, Christians, whose only crime was to follow Jesus Christ. He even sanctioned murder. His persecution of the Church was so great that entire families were forced to flee to different countries, leaving behind everything they ever knew, to start over again. They had to learn a new culture, new trade, new language.

God's grace changed all that, turned Paul around as he met Jesus, and set him on a path of tremendous service to the very one he had been persecuting. That's just like God to convert his foe into his very great friend. But Paul could not or would not forget where he came from so he would always remember the grace that had been shown to him:

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. (1 Timothy 1:15)

Now, are you telling me that you have done worse than Paul against Jesus? Doesn't matter if you have, Jesus Christ came into this world for the likes of you and me. He came for you and me. Repeat that to yourself; he came for me. Say it again until it sinks in past that stubborn heart of yours; he came for me. Let it sink in real deep because I need it to go in deep enough to protect you from what is coming next. Sometimes we are so egocentric that when we find out something isn't about us it pops our balloon.

Here's the thing, Jesus saved you for more than you. He had more people in mind than just you when he extended his grace to you. I know I am repeating myself but I want the concept to be sitting there before I present the Scripture. Your salvation is bigger than you are:

But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:16)

Paul realized that his salvation had to do with more than just him. Jesus was using him as a trophy of grace, an example to all other sinners of what the love of God can do if a sinner is willing to repent and receive forgiveness. Consider what God did with this trophy of grace. Consider how many people came to Jesus because of this man who had been the great persecutor of the Church. Pretty amazing when you stop and think about it.

Why does Jesus bother with you? First, it is true, he loves you dearly. You are precious to him. His grace is immense and not cheap. It doesn't cost us a thing because Jesus paid the price in full with his own life. Second, he wants to use you as a trophy of grace. He wants the world to see what he does with the ugly and hideous nature of sin as he turns your life around and creates beauty from garbage. Perhaps you don't feel like it but you are beautiful as he adorns you with his great garment of grace. Your beauty is for others to behold, to marvel at, to be awestruck at the transformation. It is all for their benefit, so they will see and understand what God wants to do with those who are rebellious to him and who are ugly with sin. Your salvation is for the benefit of your friends, family, teachers, co-workers and everyone you will encounter in the future. Pretty amazing, isn't it?

Realizing this, perhaps we can shake off that egocentric perspective and begin to see things with God's eyes. As we do we can feel such great joy and peace knowing that God wants to use us for his great purpose, that everyone would be saved. Realizing this, being filled with such great joy, we join with Paul in praising such an awesome God:

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17)

So go, you trophy of grace, and fulfill your destiny. Allow Jesus to use you today for his honour and glory.

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