Thursday, July 19, 2012

Don't Overlook This Important "If" Today

There was a time when I was God's enemy. We all were. We lived outside of the Kingdom, in a dark realm, lost in darkness, filled with ugliness and perfectly unaware of how bad off we were. To us Jesus was a myth, an old wives tale to keep children afraid to do bad things. It was a bunch of stories that taught good morals but had not impact on us. Live and let live, we would say. If it makes you happy go for it, we would say to the do-gooders.

We had no idea that every word we spoke, every action we took, every selfish thought we had was an act of rebellion and hatred toward the Creator of all things. Just like people today believe that every plastic bag, each trip in the car, and each factory used is an offence against the idol mother earth, all that we did offended the great Giver Of Life. But we didn't care; we didn't know. All we could see was our desires and the little life we had etched out for ourselves:

"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour." (Colossians 1:21)

Yet, somehow, somewhere, God reached out to each of us. He sent some vessel of light into our darkness and so much of what we were was revealed and we heard the invitation to return to what God had created us to be. He who considered us his enemy reached past our rebellion and offered us what we did not deserve:

"But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation..." (V. 21)

Not just forgiven but also transformed to be a new creation; one which is holy to Jesus, without any blemishes and, what is incredible, free from accusation. The enemy can try to remind us every day what we were but Jesus will hear none of it. The King only sees us as holy and without blemish. We no longer have any part with the darkness that once enveloped us and almost killed us, because we are citizens of the Kingdom of light. In fact, we have now been given the responsibility to go out into the darkness as messengers of light, bringing it to those who remain as enemies of God.

Yet, there is an "if" in all of this. It is true, through the physical death of our King we have been made holy, without blemish and free from accusation ...

"... if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel." (v. 23)

Sometimes we act like our redemption is an investment that we stick away in the bank and not worry about until the day comes when we need to cash it in. We treat it like an insurance policy. Yet, our salvation is not dependent on a single act that we have taken or a decision made many years ago. Our salvation is dependent  on a relationship that must stay active and vibrant every day of our life. It is a relationship that must be renewed daily as each day we make the decision to follow the King, allowing him to change us and develop us into the citizens we need to be for eternity.

It is like the parable of the talents Jesus told. The servants who invested those talents and produced more were awarded but the servant who hid his away and did nothing with it, producing nothing, was kicked out. That is a good warning for us. Much has been given to us and much is demanded by our King. What has been freely given to us we are expected to give to others just as freely. We are vessels of love, grace, mercy, compassion, of truth and light. Jesus encouraged us that as long as we remain in the vine we will bear much fruit but if we allow ourselves to be cut off from the vine we will be burned up.

Don't become lazy in your attitude in this relationship with Jesus. Every day seek for it to increase, to become more. Treat each day as a great opportunity to serve your King and receive from him all the resources you need. Be vibrant, fresh and excited with Jesus, don't let it fade or dry up. Every day seek him with all your heart.

"Continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel."

Remember who we serve, what he has done for us, what he has promised and that through him we can do everything. Start this day with a knee bowed to our King, ready to serve at his command. Where once we were his enemies, now we are his lovers, devoted to his every word and will. Let us serve King Jesus well today.

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