Ephesians 4:14-17 (MSG)
No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.
The country mouse made it into the city last night to see my favorite college football team beat rivals. It was an awesome game but I made a critical mistake. Wearing a new pair of shoes with the wrong pair of socks paired with limited parking about two miles from the stadium, I knew early on this would be a problem. In the South where I live outside of the metropolitan city but in quiet suburbia, there is no shortage on parking. Even at our home games as crowded as they are, its only a couple of short blocks. The problem was not in the proximity, but rather my poor choice of shoes and socks that caused discomfort. I have stood through many games cheering for our team. So when we finally made our triumphant walk to the car claiming total victory with a shutout, my feet were killing me because of my ill-fitting shoes. Lesson learned.
I knew better than to wear new shoes without first trying them out, but since we flew to the Hamp, my choices were limited. I know better now. Life is filled with lessons. As a believer, we leave this world behind to learn a whole new way of life or at least we should. Following Christ demands a change in attitude and action to be successfully. We must decide to live by faith and not sight. We must set our sight on confident hope no longer focusing on the circumstances of life but the Consistency and Constancy of Jesus Christ. Every day we walk out our salvation and work out the difference with our flesh in our goal to be found faithful. Some days we make it comfortably but most days it is a struggle as our commitment to Christ thrust us from comfort and conformity into a whole new environment. When I set out walking to the stadium yesterday, I knew that there was a problem with my shoes. I made the choice to continue my journey because I wanted to be with my family and enjoy the game. There was a great level of discomfort afterwards as we returned to the car but it was worth it. Now I know what I must do to wear the shoes that I have and walk in them comfortably. Are you willing to go through a little discomfort to find your place in Christ?
Isaiah 43:1-4 (MSG)
But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.
Following Christ will cost us our life to do it right. I know that doesn’t sound quite as favorable as the modern day message of the Church but it is exactly what the Lord has already told us. (Matthew 16:25) If you try to hang on to “this” life, you will lose your life. It is important to note that salvation comes by repentance. If you are never come to realize that all sin is turning away from God and that there is no such thing as acceptable sin, you will never find your way to the Lord completely. You cannot ever tolerate the sinful nature and see the Glory of God. Grace is reserved for those who are truly sorry for sin and seek to know Him more. God is not a fool. We must wage war against our flesh even when it is painful emotionally or perhaps even physically to surrender our life to Christ. This life is not for everyone just those who want all of Him. To find our place in the Kingdom is to forfeit our place in this world. The more we know Him, the less we fit in as we become temporary foreigners of this place and permanent residents of the Kingdom of God! God is not a dictator. He will not make you bow down. He is, however, Sovereign. We cannot come to God any way we want. We must come through His Son, Jesus. There will be discomfort as we nail our passions and desires to the Cross. There will be some unsightliness as our sins are covered in His Blood. There will be trials, problems and hardships as our faith is made genuine and confident hope established. But it will be worth it to know that we have found our life in Jesus!
John 14:1-4 (MSG)
“Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.”
Do you trust God today? When we were planning our trip to New England, I purchased tickets for the football game in advance. I also purchased a parking place for the game knowing it was limited in Boston. Making our way into the city, traffic was at a standstill. It took hours to make a one-hour trip. Once we arrived on campus, it took forever to find the parking lot which was supposed to be close to the stadium but obviously their idea of right next to and mine where quite different. After parking, we walked and walked to get to our destination. Once there I pulled the tickets out of my backpack and when we presented them at the gate, the attendant let us in and we immediately found our seats. We have a reservation. Jesus went to prepare a place for us like no other. The details of Heaven seem too good to be true. But for those who commit to the journey, no matter how uncomfortable, how far it stretches one’s patience, and changes the way we live, those will never be disappointed. They will find the greatest victory of all called redemption living forever with the One who loves us the most. It will always be worth it no matter how uncomfortable we become as long as we strive to mature in the Fruit of the Spirit, take the time to harvest seeds of righteousness and allow Christ to change us into Children of God! We will shout in victory!
Matthew 7:21-23 (MSG)
“Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’”