A daily study in the Word of God. Simple, life-transforming tools to help you grow in Christ.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
I started out bad, but I am not ending that way!
We started out bad, being born with evil natures, and were under God’s anger just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy; he loved us so much that even though we were spiritually dead and doomed by our sins, he gave us back our lives again when he raised Christ from the dead—only by his undeserved favor have we ever been saved—and lifted us up from the grave into glory along with Christ, where we sit with him in the heavenly realms—all because of what Christ Jesus did. And now God can always point to us as examples of how very, very rich his kindness is, as shown in all he has done for us through Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:3-7 TLB)
Yesterday, we began a study in this passage. If we want to deal with the residue we have in life, we need to recognize WE started out bad, but WE don't have to finish the way we started! The truth of the matter is that none of us is truly all that different from the other - we all have a sin nature and we all need a Savior. God's love is what actually begins to differentiate us one from another - for it is his love that makes us truly unique. It is the richness of God's mercy that fills those empty spaces where sin had filled us with nothing of any value. It is his love that empties us of those burdens sin so quickly placed upon us, weighing us down with a burden we were never created to bear.
How we start may set the course in our lives, but it doesn't have to determine our final destination - the outcome. We do need to start somewhere, but if we must start again in order to change the course of our lives, there is no harm in that "restart" or "reboot". In fact, I have had to "reboot" a few more times than I might like to admit - and sometimes without really recognizing I had somehow become corrupted in the path I had taken! Restarting just means we make things fresh or new again - the old gets left behind and the new is free to take its place.
In every "restart" there is a recognition that Christ hasn't been the one in control - we have been. This recognition is what brings us to the place where we ask for grace and sink deeper into his love than we ever have been before, instead of sinking in the mire of wrong decisions. It is where we evaluate what we have been trying to accomplish and then recognize it hasn't gone all that well! It is Christ's ALL that overcomes our limits. This is something that may take time for us to learn, because we want to do it all and then seek God's help!
The sooner we recognize we cannot do it all, the better it will be for us. Why? There is "much" we can do - obedience - but we cannot "make" the end result as it should be. We lack the wherewithal to change things within our own character just by trying harder. Truthfully, we humans try way too much and then seek forgiveness for all our trying! There isn't anything wrong with admitting we haven't a clue how to get to where we want to go - in fact, stopping to "ask for directions" may just be what we need the most in order to accomplish the course corrections we so desperately need!
If we all start out poorly - sin being at the root of all we do - then we can pretty much be assured our end will fall short of righteousness. If we admit at the start that we need to have God's help to root out this sin, then we are open to receiving God's righteousness in place of our "bad" nature. Where God's nature is exchanged with ours, that is the place of "correct" beginnings - not "corrected" beginnings. As humans, we make a lot of "corrected" beginnings - starting again and again. As inhabited by Christ, we make "correct" beginnings for the one who lives and breathes all righteousness is working within us to help us take the steps in the right direction. Just sayin!