Tuesday, August 1, 2017

You used to live that way...

18 You know that in the past the way you were living was useless. It was a way of life you learned from those who lived before you. But you were saved from that way of living. You were bought, but not with things that ruin like gold or silver. 19 You were bought with the precious blood of Christ’s death. He was a pure and perfect sacrificial Lamb. 20 Christ was chosen before the world was made, but he was shown to the world in these last times for you. 21 You believe in God through Christ. God is the one who raised him from death and gave honor to him. So your faith and your hope are in God. (I Peter 1:18-21 ERV)

All of us have points in our lives that we look back upon and say, "I used to...", but now we "no longer". I used to run - but no longer. I used to play sports - but no longer. I used to be married - but no longer. I used to like that person - but no longer. I used to be thin - but no longer. You get the idea! "Used to" and "what is" are not always the same! In fact, there is very little that is actually the same in life - the last breath you just took won't be the same as your next, nor will the last blink your eye made open with the exact same view as the image you beheld just before that blink. Everything changes - but one thing remains sure - the foundation of God's love in our lives.

Our "used to" moments are likely not always that "good" when we look back upon them. I used to do a whole lot of things I am really grateful that I no longer do! If we are all honest here, there are probably some things that need to go into the "used to" category in our lives. They may even be those things God has been working in our hearts to get us to let go of for some time now, but we just don't want to "let go" because we have become emotionally attached to it. The emotional attachment may not even be all that "good" or "edifying", but we won't let go of it. The moment we let go, we know something will be different and "different" scare us because it is the "unknown".

Let me just say we all have some "useless" things we hold onto in our lives and God has probably been after us for a while to get us to just rid ourselves of those things. We all form these emotional attachments to perceptions that may not have been right, or actions that may have wounded us. We also form emotional attachments to hopes that aren't very realistic and need to be laid down in order for us to move on from where we are right now. In essence, these "attachments" are "useless" - they need to be moved into the "used to" category in our lives. There is hope - it is found in what Christ wants to do with us when we finally let go and cast those things squarely into the "used to" rubble pile. We may not fully comprehend what he plans for us when we do, but we can count that it will be awesome.

Why do I say that with such assurance? I think our passage points that out for us - Jesus' sacrificial death was perfect - he gives perfect gifts! His plans are perfect. His actions are perfect. His determination and perseverance are perfect. God doesn't do things "half-way". He goes above and beyond what is expected and does the unexpected - that is what grace is! We may not want to let go of the emotional ties we have to that thing we know he is telling us to be free of, but we can count on this - if he asks us to let go, it is just so he can hold onto us until we are fully free of its hold! Just sayin!