There is an expectation in the air that is heavy and loud. Because before Easter, there had to be Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, which really contained nothing GOOD. At least for Jesus physically. He had a lot of horrific things to endure before Resurrection Sunday morning. This future morning was what Scripture called “the joy set before Him” in Hebrews 12.
Jesus didn’t focus on the here and now, because there was nothing endurable about that time. But He looked forward to the future, when His actions would be the segue into eternal life with the Father for all who would believe. No longer would people have to follow the Law of the Old Testament with perfection or offer sacrifices to atone for their sins. He was offering Himself as the sacrifice that would last forever.
There are people who would like to believe that God is good, and in His goodness He would not do the unthinkable of relegating someone to eternal Hell. That is never His choice; it is yours. If you choose to live life with you at the helm, you are personally choosing eternal Hell over eternal life. The offer is out there for anyone with a humble enough heart to decide to live for an Audience of One, Jesus Christ.
How I pray that this Easter season is the one where you respond to that call that you sense in your heart!!
Wednesday afternoon, as I left the building where I work, I saw these tulip buds. Just a few days before the buds had not been there. Friday morning, the flowers were open. And I was immediately drawn to the one-that-is-not-like-the-others. The ordinary yellow tulips are beautiful, but in comparison to the un-ordinary solo bloom…or the extraordinary one…they seem lesser, right?
Tulips are my favorite flower, I believe. We all know it isn’t due to the smell, because they really have none. Maybe it is because they come in so many colors? The Dutch have this great way of tulip farming: every type of tulip is grown together in order to allow for cross pollination and the possibility of new colors and markings. Now, they also grow very regulated tulip fields so preserve the strains that are typical to tulips. But I, myself, love the possibilities of the wild field.
That field of tulips reminds me a lot of Christ’s church. It should be implanted with every variety of human imaginable, all with the sole purpose of growing in a relationship to God the father and Jesus His Son, all equally indwelt with the Holy Spirit, who gives us our unity. Doesn’t matter how you look; it only matters that your soul is stamped with the Spirit of the Son.
To the world, you will always look different, out of place, off beat to your surroundings. But that’s OK. It really only matters what you look like to God, who sees inwardly. And in the process of mastering that well know saying of Jesus, “be in the world but not of the world”, looking unique might allow you to access those seeking in an equally unique way, drawing them into Christ while there is still time.
Standing at the tulip bed feeling connected to the bloom streaked with red, I also couldn’t help but think of how some might say it is odd, weird, in need of being dug out so as not to cause more of this same “different-ness” to occur with each subsequent blooming. Do we as image bearers here on this earth see those who are not-like-me and wish they just didn’t exist?
Wouldn’t living as a believer be easier with no opposition?
Wouldn’t my life look a lot more perfect if I weren’t drawn to sin because of “them”?
We would also be shallow plants, lacking roots to hold us in place when storms came. It is the trials and adversity that grow roots, my friend. Things that we must work hard on cause us to burrow into Jesus and wrestle with who we are and who He is. I would love to say that I delight in things that are hard, but I know how untrue that is. Most days when hard circles around, I just want to get in bed and sleep. Or eat. Aw, there’s the rub, right? The overweight-ness that cause me to fail at doing hard is the cause of my eating that causes more overweight-ness. How I wish I was not this me that cannot seem to figure it out, the whole “just fix how you eat and you will lose weight” dilemma.
But in my recent day of reflection…yes, a solid day where God asked me to pay attention to what He is doing, even if it is not what I am asking Him to do…I learned some BIG things. I have had a handful of what I call “besetting sins.” Sins that are so much a part of me that at times I cannot even see myself separate from them. I am totally focused on the ONE: weight loss/health. But in my singular focus, I didn’t notice that two others, equally damaging to my life as an image bearer, ARE GONE. Ya’ll, I cannot even tell you how I felt when I figured this out.
I had not been asking God to heal me of them. I had not been lamenting over my performance of them. Nothing. I was totally comfortable with just hanging on to them and being best buds. All I have focused on is the weight. Well, God just eliminated these other two sin areas with no help from me. Like NONE. No long and moaning prayers; no childish begging; not even heartfelt sorrow over the fact that they were part of me.
But God in His grace and mercy and love wanted me to know that He is capable of anything, even the things I don’t petition Him for. He is the one who decides what must go away first. He is the one who decides how hard or easy it will be on me to peel my firm grip away from the sins I won’t/can’t let go of.
My day of reflection taught me some specific things:
God is not about doing things my way.
God’s plan is perfect and best, maybe to the extent that I remain hands-off.
God loves me far more than I can ever imagine.
There will be victory one day for me in the weight arena. If it doesn’t happen until I slip into my glorified heavenly body, I will need to be OK with that. But that doesn’t give me an excuse for not persevering. When we have sin to clean up in our lives – and yes gluttony and being overweight are sins – we always have the ability to eradicate that sin through the Spirit that lives in us. But it is the degree to which we cooperate that is the degree to which we walk away from that sin without a look back.
God laid a true miracle on my soul when He made me the recipient of total forgiveness of even the thought of the two sins I am freed from. Cannot tell you how that feels, but I am so glad I obeyed when it came to wrestling with Him for a day and seeing this thing revealed to my soul. So I move forward now in the constant struggle of losing weight, but with the smile in my soul of what God is capable of. I could wake up tomorrow with the burden of compulsive eating just gone! He has shown me His power to do that. But He is at the helm of my life for the most likely slogging-through-the-muck-and-mire scenario that I will face once again every morning upon waking!
But I feel such a renewal that comes with Easter. He is making all things new!!! ALL THINGS. Death has been SWALLOWED up in His victory on that cross 2000+ years ago.
LIVE as if the resurrection happened.