I had other posts semi-drafted to possibly publish on the blog this week, but my soul has felt heavy with some local news from this past weekend — a tragedy that touches the lives of a number of dear friends. So I’ve been quiet.
But then there’s Easter coming up. And as I’ve thought of Easter’s intended implications onto our every day lives, and those thoughts have collided in me with thoughts of this local devastation, well…I just have to take a minute to point to my Jesus.
And because you’re busy, I’m busy, the world’s busy, I’m going to get right to the bottom line.
Jesus changes everything.
When out of His love and grace Jesus died and then rose from the dead, He changed everything for humankind. No longer are we distant rebels from our holy Creator God. In Jesus, the Father calls us daughter and son. In Jesus, the Father sees us as righteous and forgiven and holy. In Jesus, selfish man can draw near to the One our souls were created to worship. And that identity change has zero to do with our abilities or inherent goodness. It’s all in grace, received by faith.
But He didn’t just come to change our identity before the Father. He intends to change our experience in this world. He intends for that shift in our identity to radically impact our everyday lives on this broken planet.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Listen, if you, like me, in faith believe that out of the Father’s grace and love He sent Jesus to this earth to die as the perfect blood sacrifice for your and my sin — and the sin of the rest of all humanity for all time — and that this Jesus rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, and will come again to finish the story, then that means you’re a “Christian”. Happy birthday to you.
But if you’ve been a “Christian” for any length of time, you know how hard it can be. Because we see our own discrepancy. We live here on this messy planet with messy, tragic situations and complicated people. And an enemy who prowls around aiming to kill, steal, and destroy. And our flesh that wants its own way all. the. time. And though Jesus died to change everything, including our experience on this earth, we struggle.
We struggle with sin. We struggle with self. We struggle with other people who won’t do what we want. We struggle to believe that God is good.
But Jesus’ death and resurrection means to bring freedom to our soul. He means to bring joy and hope and peace. He means for us to experience abundance regardless of circumstance. Yet experiencing all He intends happens as a result of the every day choices we make in the every day moments of life. Soul abundance will only happen when the truth of the gospel invades our today.
Soul abundance will only happen
when the truth of the gospel
invades our today.
What does that mean? That means that we follow Jesus’ lead. We surrender. We surrender our rights, our plans, and our selves. We surrender our places of addiction and sin. We surrender our loved ones and all the what-ifs. We open our hands to God and say, “Have your way.”
We surrender in order that we can receive. We receive His grace. We receive His continual forgiveness. We receive His presence. We receive His mercy. We receive His power and His lead. We receive the identity He declares over us.
But we need each other. If there’s anything God has taught me in recent years, it’s the vital necessity of vulnerability. Because our hearts deceive, the enemy lies, and our selfishness likes to have a say. We need at least one trusted friend who knows the places in us that we like to hide from the rest of the world. Someone who will speak life into us when we’re tempted to stray. A friend to whom we can humbly say, “I’m a total disaster right now. Will you help me up?”
Jesus changes everything. He changes our identity. He changes our hope. He changes our perspective. He changes our desires. He changes our grieving. He changes our joy. He changes our lives from the inside out. All by His grace.
But experiencing all that His death and resurrection intends to change — the abundance He means for our daily lives — includes our own choice to surrender, moment by moment, to a faithful, loving, good God who pursues the heart of sinful man. By His grace, we get to surrender and receive, today.
Happy Easter, my friend.
Fill me Lord…
What does it mean to you to have the gospel invade your today?