Cross

Struggling with Fundamentals?

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Luke 23:34

Everything I’ve done is rubbish. Every accomplishment, every achievement, every blog post – it is all rubbish. It counts as dirty rags and I’m deceiving myself to believe otherwise. I am a sinner, fallen and falling again each moment that I choose self over Life. Sometimes it does not feel that I have a choice, and then I realize that I’ve fallen again. Of course I have a choice. I am not my own. I was bought with a price – one that is so high I can never even hope to repay it, and yet I’ve been foolish enough to think that I can! I want to take back the last five minutes of my life and shake the girl who thought she could fix things with a few simple words. You can’t. I can’t.

The only thing that matters in this life is Jesus. Jesus bought our freedom with His blood. He bought our forgiveness with His blood. He suffered. He died. He was ridiculed for our benefit. He rose again in accordance with the scriptures so that we might have life instead of eternal death and damnation in hell. Here I am, squandering that freedom. It was bought with blood and I return the favor with venom and oily rags. I sit here, crying, wishing I could take it all back, but I can’t. I can only change what I do from here.

Sometimes it utterly amazes me that we can have relationships and friendships at all. We’re all so broken and focused on so many things that seem to matter, but really don’t. We think that if someone will just change their attitude or apologize or help us or do any number of things differently, then maybe we can launch ourselves into the place we really need to be. Maybe the key to our success lies in someone else’s ruin? It doesn’t.

If we’re looking in our neighbor’s garbage dump for our treasures – treasures we can mend and polish to make shiny again, we are looking in the wrong place. We are to stand up and look around ourselves as we walk out of the wreck and ruin of our own lives and recognize that it’s only in Christ that we truly find our treasures.

It’s in Christ that we learn to give and receive love. It’s in Christ that we learn to lean not on our understanding, but to trust God even when it seems all is lost. It’s in Christ that we learn to love those that would enjoy ridiculing, beating and ultimately crucifying us. It’s in Christ that we learn to push past our boundaries and barriers and reach out just a little – or a lot farther, towards building God’s Kingdom here on earth.

Nothing that Jesus did seems all that easy. He fed the hungry – thousands of them – with a few loaves of bread and fish. He allowed the sick, lowly, outcast, and social pariahs to partake in lavish meals with Him. Jesus healed what was broken, even when there was no logical solution in sight. He reached up and out of Himself straight to the Heavens, claiming His birthright with the humility of someone far older and wiser than His 30 some years.

Jesus did the very things you and I – especially me – claim to want to do, but often fall short of completing. He gave us Life in place of death and destruction.

I struggle with the fundamentals sometimes. Life has been hard, but it has also been good. God has called me up from the depths of my muck and mire and breathed Life into these bones. I will whistle without complaint as I work, because it is Christ that has called me to it. I will stop deceiving myself that it is I (or anyone else here on earth) who has done these things and brought about these changes in my life. It is Christ. It has always been Christ and it will always be Christ. I will stop struggling with the fundamentals and just drop to my knees and thank Him.

 

What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’sman. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it.

from Galatians 2 The Message

 

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