His love has the first and last word in everything we do. Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)
His love has the first and last word in everything we do...
How true are these words in your life? I'd have to admit to you that Christ is not always the one in control of my actions - sometimes I just plain take over and cast his sage wisdom aside in pursuit of something I want to do. I deliberate over my actions and sometimes still choose the wrong path. Anyone else here with me? The good news is that if we are in Christ and he is in us, his LOVE has the first and last word in everything we do - even when we get a little out of control sometimes. His love pulls us back - not once, but repeatedly. For some of us, that 'repetitive action' in our lives is kind of 'shameful'. We see the frequency of our departure from his control in our lives and we get down on ourselves. Before long, the guilt of our wrong choices begins to make us feel 'full of shame' - as though we had a 'new identity' because of our wrong actions. The opposite is quite assuredly the truth - our identity is based upon OUR actions, but HIS.
Everyone is in the same boat...
All are included in his death because all deserved the same judgment for their sin - regardless of how 'big' or 'little' that sin is, how frequently it is committed, or how 'bad' one feels. His death included all so all could be included in his life. There is no lie the enemy of our souls can tell us that will keep us from that life - no lie we can tell ourselves about how 'unworthy' we are to experience his love. Everyone is in the same boat and it isn't a sinking ship! It is a very 'sea-worthy' vessel because he built it and he captains it! We have not gone too far - nor are we too lost. His love has the first and last word not only in what we do, but in who we are!
A couple of things for us to think about today:
- We make wrong choices, sometimes more than others. We make right choices, sometimes less frequently than we desire. Even in the midst of this 'up and down' kind of existence, God remains the same. We are not going to be tossed to the side and declared unworthy of his love just because we fall from time to time. His love is what actually picks us up, cleans us up, sets us right again, and helps us actually begin moving in the same direction with him. Not once, but each and every time we choose unwisely and need his forgiveness and restoration.
- We may not realize how much we are loved, but that doesn't make us any less loved. We may not appreciate fully his grace, but that doesn't mean we aren't showered with the blessings of grace over and over again. His love has the first and last word - that word is grace. We don't deserve grace - we don't earn grace - we don't even want it sometimes. We just receive it and experience the intensity of his love when we do.
- We don't realize just how messed up we are, but we see how messed up others are all around us. Why? Shame turns the eye away from our sin and it sees the magnitude of sin in another - oftentimes the same sin as we are trying to avoid seeing in ourselves. Shame makes us critical of others - grace helps us see the sin in ourselves and it brings it to the foot of the cross. The 'same boat' means we aren't unique in our struggles - it means we are all equally in need of this grace! Just sayin!