Galatians 3:21-22 (NLT)
Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.
If there a conflict? Yes Lord, I do feel conflicted. I am in the middle of my life. Looking back, I see the Glory of God shining through from where He brought me to what I have become. I am not satisfied. I want more of Jesus in my life. As I tried to explain my jumbled mind to my husband last night with little success other than to sound completely unraveled, I wonder if this is what some might call a “midlife” crisis. The point where others might buy a fancy car, get cosmetic surgery, or make a drastic change to satisfy that inner stirring without explanation. Well, I am not really interested in any of that just to see where I am going to land when all the dust has settled will be nice. I am entering a new phase in life. Next year, I will be fifty years old. I do not feel old. Our family has never really been one to worry about that. As much as I don’t know, I am becoming acutely aware that after being smothered in babies, children and adolescents for half my life – I miss it. Watching these two little ladies left at home enter middle school and high school, discover makeup, worry about fashion, and learning to drive that my time of a full house and overwrought schedule of mom is winding down. The career that I thought would be long term is also ending at the very same time as I enter a new opportunity. I am excited about what is coming but I am not there yet. Finally, I am different. The ordeal with our son and his triumphant battle over cancer changed me… for the better. But to find that new life that God has promised me requires that nasty little world called change.
Righteousness used to be something that I did. I walked with Christ therefore I walked in righteousness or so I thought. But in the midst of all this change, I feel disabled. I hate that feeling but God operates in it. I am not confident in who I am outside of motherhood because it has defined me for so many years. I hid behind the five children I was raising, pouring my heart, soul and life into molding and shaping good people. I am down to just two left in the nest who daily stand on the edge a flap furiously preparing to be set free. My career change is a good one. My job took more than it should have from me and I allowed it. The Lord is moving me for His Glory so I can pour more of my time and energy into Him. I must confess though that I leave behind a hectic job and dependent people. People who I feel responsible for. Oh my, I see where this is going and maybe you do to. My new opportunity is not so stressful and will not consume me like this one. What will “I” do in all this? Finally, our son’s battle has proven victorious so He does not need his mom’s constant help any longer. Each snip of responsibility leaves me hovering above the ground as I wonder what I will do with myself when no one needs me anymore. God’s promises are not found in my doing but undoing.
Could this be the final crutch that I have found? The one that keeps me at the gate called beautiful afraid to venture in. As I seek the natural satisfaction in life, God is calling me deeper into Him. Find me and you have life. Bask in my love and you will be fulfilled. Stop seeking satisfaction in the lesser things and let me give you that new life that I have promised. The beggar wanted money. But the Lord was setting him free from such bondage that day – He was going to walk. He would be healed and fully restored in that moment. I wonder what is keeping you at the Beautiful Gate today afraid to take hold of freedom? My need to “do” something keeps me at the edge but God is making it impossible for me to do anything so He can reveal His Glory in my new life.
2 Corinthians 3:7-9 (NLT)
The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God!
We should expect more and more of God’s Glory in our life. The change of each season should bear in us new fruit. The old passes away giving new life. When we slip back into religiosity it hinders us by making us think that there is anything we can do to produce God’s Glory in our life. We are vessels of God’s Glory but what vessel ever produces a thing. We are containers. We hold it until we can hold no more until it overflows into the lives of others. This is the Good News and how we share it. “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) When Jesus turned the water into wine, He used the vessels that were dirty used for ceremonial hand washing. Gross, right? This can only be representative of the miracle that He does in each of us. Washing us in His Blood and filling us with His Spirit – a miracle occurs in that moment that needs no assistance. The Lord doesn’t need our help. I do nothing to aid in this process except be an open and willing vessel for Jesus Christ. The way to continue to be filled to overflowing is found solely in my relationship with the Lord. He pours all that He is into me as I pour out anything that might come between us. I make room and He fills my life with good things. New life comes from this relationship – nothing more and nothing less.
Romans 5:17-19 (NLT)
For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.
One sin was all it took to bring destruction to all humanity. Just one. The death of one person – the Son of God, Jesus – was all it took to pay the penalty for all the sins of mankind combined. How can this be? If we really believed in the old song, “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus” it would change our lives forever. We would live in this newfound freedom. But it is really tough to wrap our head around unconditional, unfailing love because we have never experienced it before. We cannot grasp the concept of something for nothing because there is always a price. Good things are all too often too good to be true. We care comfortable in the Law but don’t know how to full claim freedom in our new life. I used to volunteer for everything and anything in church. In the last several years, I have not felt led to be involved in anything. No inclination at all which is not my nature. I am beginning to see the Hand of God in this as I come to realize how heavily dependent I am in the need to be needed. The Lord is breaking that in my life even though I resist until I fully accept that He is all I need to be satisfied and content. You can say you were there the day that it happened, the day I realized yet again how much Jesus loves me.
Romans 4:16-17 (NLT)
So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.
Faith, it’s all about faith. To believe that God is the God who brings dead things back to life and creates new things out of nothing. There are things that God promised that I buried with my sin. I decided that they would never happen because I blew it a long time ago. Faith brings those things back to life and God completes them. All I can do is believe. One might think this is easy but I dare you to try it. When the adrenaline is kicking as you weight the options of fight or flight, just believe. My world is unraveling around me. I am not really sure how I feel about that. As one chapter ends and another begins, I need to have faith that the best is yet to come because God leads me from glory to glory. He is the one who does it not me. I can wear myself out trying and freedom will allow it. Or I can concentrate my energy and efforts on loving more and making more room for Jesus in my life. I read Jeremiah 31:11-14 today where the Lord talks about redeeming us from those too strong for us and then restoring the lives of His People. He is doing that in my life today. I know it. I must only have patience and trust Him in this process because there really is nothing that I can “do” to make it happen just believe.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NLT)
Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
I watched a video the other day of a little girl who was three years old. It was her birthday. She was so excited about the big present left on her front porch. She didn’t know if it was a bike or a dollhouse as you can hear her mother talking from behind the camera. She giggles and says, “I don’t know” as she carefully and methodically opens the paper. Every so often she stops to inspect the box or pick at some tape, as her mother’s anticipation is evident in her encouragement for her to keep opening the package. Inside is her daddy, who is an American soldier returning home from a tour overseas, she hasn’t seen him in a very long time. When he finally pops out of the box, she steps back and then jumps in his arms. I wonder if that is how the Lord feels as we carefully approach that new thing that He has for us. Cautiously and curiously taking our time to open it and discover the Glory locked inside. He is waiting for that moment that we jump into His Arms and accept more of His Great Love. We live in Christ. Nothing we do will ever make this a reality in our life, only acceptance of His Great Love by faith that will make us live by what we believe. We are to be doers of the Word and all the Word says is to love. Thank you Lord today for this reminder. I needed it. To be reminded of how much you love me, how valuable I am to you, and that my purpose in life is not to be a wife, mother, daughter, worker but first and foremost to accept my position as child of the Living God!
Colossians 3:3-4 (NLT)
For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.