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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Invitation to be possessed

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
(I Corinthians 6:19-20)

This is the beginning of the season of the year when everyone succumbs to the buying and selling of goods in some manner.  The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally called "Black Friday" - the beginning of the bargains of that kick off the season of Christmas shopping.  Thousands will wake earlier than usual, down a quick breakfast, then charge head-long into the hoards of holiday shoppers just looking for the next great "buy".  There is one "buy" that has already been accomplished for us - one that we cannot find or purchase on our own - it is our salvation.

Our passage today reminds us that we are bought at a price - the price of the cross.  God has provided the greatest gift of all - not so that we can squander it anyway we please - but so that we can honor him with the transformation of our lives.  We are no longer our own to do with as we please - we serve a higher purpose after receiving this gift of Christ - the purpose of serving a holy God.

We are purchased at a price that we could never afford to pay.  When something is purchased it is no long the property of the one who formerly owned that thing.  When we buy that shirt from the storekeeper, it becomes ours to wear and place on the display of our bodies instead of the store's manikin.  When the exchange of the "property" takes place, there is a surrendering of the rights of ownership of that "property".  

That which is purchased has had a price paid - there has been a sacrifice of payment that paid the exact price that was owed for that which is purchased.  That is what Christ's sacrifice did for us - paid the exact price owed for our sin - redeeming us from the coldness of being "manikin dwellers".  

We are presented as a gift to another - Jesus.  You and I are God's special love-gift to his dear Son, Jesus.  Purchased specifically for him - to become that which will bring him honor and praise.  We are offered to him, no longer slaves to our sin, that we might fellowship with him in the depth of the communion of intimate friends.  The purchase of our lives had a purpose - bringing honor to God.

That which is purchased becomes the possession of the one who pays the purchase price - to do with as he pleases.  The one who possesses the thing that is purchased has the enjoyment of that item.  We are purchased with a price far greater than we could pay so that we could be the enjoyment of our Savior.  He savors our presence as much as we savor his.  There is a change in us that allows us to submit to the one who is now owner of our lives.  We call this obedience - not just because we have been purchased - but we have been brought into the full possession of the Son.  

It is also true that what is owned requires special attention - in order to keep what is possessed in "tip-top" condition.  We would be silly to buy something of great value and then leave it out in the elements, rotting in the sun, rain, and winds of the storms that come.  We don't place a thing of great value in harm's way - we cherish it, give it a place of honor, and direct our attention to it on a regular basis.  So it is with Christ's treatment of his greatest gifts - us. He places us right in the center of his presence, so that we might be given the direct attention we so desperately need.  In turn, we bring him honor.  He enjoys (delights) in us and we experience the enjoyment of his great delight.

Today, you are invited to be purchased - to be possessed by another.  In that possession comes an exchange of position - being brought into the very presence of a holy God.  In that exchange of position comes the privilege of being the object of his affection - his undivided attention.  Are you ready?