Sunday, March 23, 2014

When Old is New

Nothing new. Ahh, the world shakes, nations tango and tremble, rise and fall. Young people disregard old people, recreate old trends. Successful people leapfrog; the downtrodden disappear. There is nothing new under the sun.

There is nothing new in--nothing to add to--God's Word. How dangerous it is to look for something new, hidden, secret. And yet, perhaps it is even more dangerous to know what God's Word says and fail to do it. How tempted we are to overlook the simple and obvious in search of a closet permission to meet our heart's desire. But that is not how it works.

God has given us a simple truth (remarkable, but humbling): Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I am a sinner. I need a holy God.

To believe that, to take God at His Word and bank my life--my eternity--on it, is to turn my world upside down, inside out. It's not new. It's not improved. It's not going to be on the nightly news. But if I were to truly embrace and live by His grace, based on the old, old story of Jesus and His love,

- I would measure the activities of my day in eternal rather than national currency.
- I would desperately seek to touch the hurting, needy, and outcast.
- I would willingly sacrifice comfort and conveniences.
- I would not attach my name to success, but to weakness, failure, and infirmity.
- I would not worry.
- I would look for ways to serve others instead of myself.
- I would sleep at night, both from a sense of well-earned weariness and God-given peace.
- I would not want.
- I would thank God instead of asking, "Why?"
- I would hold my agenda (my children, my home, my job, my ...) with an open hand instead of a closed fist.
- I would spend more time on my knees and less on my feet.
- I would not humor self-condemnation or false guilt.
- I would be quick to confess my wrongs to God and others.
- I would be quick to listen; slow to speak; slow to anger.
- I would praise, not complain.
- I would love without expectation.
- I would give without acknowledgement.

In other words, I would look, sound and live like Jesus. I would find that He has made Himself at home in my body, my mind, my world, my family, my church, my life. Jesus would be here, living through me, and I, by faith, would experience the joy, peace and power of the gospel that only He can give.

The Christian life is not new. It is not old. It is. Because I Am has come. I Am is here. I Am is among us. The life lived by faith in Christ is a present reality that began in eternity past and runs through eternity future--but it is not dependent on me. God's work will continue and live on... and on....

The beauty and strength of the Christian life is found in the precious truth of this Savior, told over and over, day after day, moment by moment. And in those moments, I no longer need something new. He is. Enough.

For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
“Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:20-25)
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. (Ephesians 5:1-2)

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