Skip to main content

This is indeed a "set up"

Have you ever been "set up"?  It could have been a "set up" for some kind of prank where someone proudly announced "gotcha" at some point.  Maybe it was a blind date and you endured the torture of having to get ready without really knowing the other person you were going to be meeting that night, but in respect to your friend who "set you up", you go despite everything within you that is saying "don't go".  Perhaps if was your relative helping you get your first start out in the "real world" by packing up some care packages complete with a new set of pots and pans, some towels, a little bit of basic stuff you need to start a new life on your own.  Whatever the "set up", you had some apprehension, did you not?  Anytime we feel "set up", we will always feel some type of nervousness, anxiety over the potential outcome, coupled with a sense of excitement because you are going into the "unknown". God doesn't want us to feel like we are being "set up" for any type of failure in this walk with him - so he makes sure to let us know we are NOT set up for failure - but for success!

God didn’t set us up for an angry rejection but for salvation by our Master, Jesus Christ. He died for us, a death that triggered life. Whether we’re awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we’re alive with him! So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it. (I Thessalonians 5:9-11 MSG)


We approach things differently when we don't have a grave sense of apprehension, don't we?  There is less anxiety and more excitement.  God wants us to approach this relationship with him without anxiety - because all which could "go wrong" was already taken care of by Jesus!  Nothing remains which could interfere with our ability to draw close to our heavenly Father. ALL was dealt with at the cross!  We may fear rejection because of our past wrongs, but in reality, we are embraced in spite of those past wrongs!  This is contrary to our way of thinking, so God continually has to remind us that his way of doing things differs from what we might expect from an "earthly" father.  When I disappointed my dad, I know I was fearful to be with him - not so much because he would reject me, because he NEVER did, but because I felt the shame of my transgression.  In God's presence, there is no shame! We need to learn this simple truth - this truth which we tend to make so complex in our minds.

His death triggered life in us.  His sacrificial offering on our behalf settled once and for all this question of "standing" before our heavenly Father.  His life given on our behalf made a way for us to no longer "fear" God, but to settle right up into his lap as our DAD!  Just like my earthly father always restored me into loving relationship with him whenever I did something to disappoint him, I can count on my heavenly Father to do this even better! Some may not have known this type of relationship with their earthly fathers, but hear me - God isn't like your earthly dad!  No matter how good or bad your earthly father may have been - God is infinitely better!  He is infinitely patient, loving, forgiving, embracing, and restoring in his character.  Nothing catches him by surprise.  No need on our behalf is too small or insignificant for him to pay attention to when we call out.  Neither our limited view of his ability nor the limited understanding of his goodness keeps him from acting on our behalf.

IN CHRIST:  Life is exchanged for death.  Freedom is exchanged for bondage. Peace is exchanged for anxiety.  Forgiveness is exchanged for wrongdoing. Hope is exchanged for despair.  If you don't see the pattern here, let me spell it out - this is a finished work in Christ Jesus.  When we step into this relationship with Jesus, nothing and no one can separate us from the goodness of our heavenly Father.  Not our misgivings or mis-doings.  There is no cause for apprehension or anxiety.  In stepping IN, we step OUT of what we once knew and how we once operated.  

One of my favorite songs contains these lyrics by the group Rend Collective:  

Countless second chances
We've been given at the cross
Countless second chances
We've been given at the cross

Fragments of brokenness
Salvaged by the art of grace
You craft life from our mistakes

If you don't hear the words of grace interwoven in this chorus and verse, read them again and again until you do.  God is not going to set us up to fail - in fact he sets us up to get second chances - at the Cross.  Countless second chances - this is the action of grace.  Grace is not some theory - it is a person - Christ Jesus!  Countless second chances - in Christ - no apprehension, no doubt, just grace!  Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Your full attention, please

My mother frequently uses the term "Listen to me!" as a way of getting my attention so that I actually stop, pay close attention, and hear out whatever her idea or issue is at the moment. It isn't always at the most convenient moment, nor is it always easy for her to get out whatever it is she wants to share. Yet, it is important enough for her to ask to for me to hear it, so I respond with, "I'm listening, mom", and she begins.  It isn't said in anger or in a moment of disappointment. Rather, these words are usually spoken in a "sing-song" manner, but with very specific intent - they are intended to get me to REALLY listen to what she was saying. Why? Because she knows she has something to say even if it is getting harder for her to say it! She has walked through much already, learned many lessons, and has the advantage of experience on her side, but the disadvantage of advancing age makes it harder and harder for her to actually form those t…

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…