Eagerly Embraced

Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness. (Philippians 3:6-9)

As I have now taken the next step in my life known as retirement, I have been looking back over the years and there is one thing I know for sure - I did a whole lot of striving for things that really didn't produce as much as they promised along the way. That isn't to say I didn't accomplish good things along the way, but I am free now to look back at some of those times when I was merely spinning my wheels on stuff that really wouldn't matter much to anyone, much less to God. I think we all have those things that we now look back on as not really all that important, but hopefully you are able to look at all those things that left an impact, as well. We will leave an impact of some sort - don't we want it to be the best it can be? There are indeed things we all thought were so important that we now willingly lay down in pursuit of the things Christ has intended for us. All that stuff that we believed would bring us 'significance' may one day be gone - what will we be left with in the end?

Embrace Christ and be embraced by him - there is more significance found in that embrace than any other thing we could pursue in this lifetime. To embrace means we receive gladly - there is a sense of eagerness in taking what we receive in that embrace. Have you ever embraced someone who didn't really want your embrace? They get all stiff, pulling away slightly, not really enjoying the close contact - right? It is though they become like stiff boards. I wonder how many times Christ has reached out to us in eager embrace only to find us a little like 'stiff boards' - not really returning his warm embrace of grace, but rather choosing to pursue other things than a close relationship with him. We all probably lose our way at times, don't we? We see those arms open wide to us, but we really don't 'enter into' that embrace at that moment. Instead, we choose our own way, chasing after what will amount to nothing more than 'dung' in the end.

Everything else is 'inferior' to knowing Christ and being fully embraced into his grace-hold. A Canadian educator is known for reminding us that we 'don't go through life, we grow through it'. (Eric Butterworth) Too many times we merely 'go through life' allowing life to do what it will around us and sometimes even to us, but miss out on so much in the moment because we are doing life apart from Christ's direction. We choose our own destinies, but when that destiny doesn't 'pan out' like we hoped it would, what do we do then? Some just choose a new path, going fool-hardily along that path as though it will be the one to fulfill them. All I have to say is, "Stop - don't take another step along that path!" Why? It won't produce the results you desire for those results are only found in being fully embraced by Christ's grace. Our treasure and our reward is not found at the end of the rainbow - it is found in drawing near the heart of the one who holds all treasures and rewards in his hand. Just sayin!

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