Colossians 1: 13-14 (the message)
God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.
Are you in a pit today? Do you feel doomed? Like no matter how much you wish you could change or no matter how hard you try things will always be the same? Perhaps you don’t mind the pit. Perhaps you have lived in it so long that it doesn’t feel so uncomfortable any more.
How about a dead-end alley? Have you taken turns and made choices that set you on a certain path and now you can’t imagine there is a way back? Do you look back with sadness…seeing clearly now where you turned off and how it set things in motion that have left you at a dead-end? Maybe today as you read this you feel doomed to keep repeating the same bad habits, sins or destructive behaviors that have haunted you or hold you back.
This morning I write with hopes to remind or reveal to you that there is indeed a rescue for you! God already paid the ransom for your release. Jesus, God in a human body, walked and talked, ate and drank for 33 years on this earth. He laughed and cried. He experienced frustrations and was moved with compassion. He healed hearts and bodies. He set men and women free from the bondage of their sin. Then Jesus let them beat Him bloody, march Him up a hill and nail His hands and feet against two wooden posts. Those that would mock Him made a “crown” of thorns for Him and spit in His face. Can you see? The Creator of all we see and taste…of galaxies and oceans… the ladybug and the lion…sweet summer breezes and the roar of a thunderstorm…The design behind physics and math…the inspiration and source of creativity for the written word and song…The God who orchestrates the sound of snow crunching beneath your feet and the birds that begin to chirp each spring…The God who keeps count of every hair on your head and keeps every tear in a bottle…Yes, the Bible declares it! This God, this Creator, who would die a criminals death on a cross to pay your ransom note…to buy you back from the pit…to rescue you from your dead-end and doom…did so because you are priceless.
Remember Grace? My post yesterday…my heart to express a little of Grace. This is Grace: God the Creator chose to inhabit what He created so He could rescue you. God would not be without you. He would not choose to just let you go. Jesus, fully man and fully God because of the virgin birth, was born with a mission and He achieved completion in a glorious fashion: Resurrection. The final sting of sin, eternal separation from God, was smashed to bits with every drop of His blood. But not only did Jesus come to bridge the gap between our sin and God, I truly believe He came as the Bible says to give us abundant life now.
What is abundance? See, I kind of think that our quest for abundance is what often digs our pits and gets us off track. We have a place inside our heart that longs for this supernatural, unconditional love and acceptance. No matter how tough we may seem, we long for someone to see us as we truly are, good and bad, and tell us we are valued and loved and safe. Humanity makes a mess of it as we struggle and strive to fill this void with everything and anything but God. And I dare say one of the worst and most damaging concoctions is religiosity. Those that have the desire to make peace with God and perhaps experience a taste of Grace are often met with religion instead…a set of expectations that will in turn evaluate your performance and worthiness. I do not believe for a second, not anymore, that the Creator humbled Himself to live in a human body and took on death and suffering the way Jesus did so you could then spend your life trying to “better” or add to what He already did.
There is nothing you can do to improve on God’s work. And there is nothing you can do to change His mind!! Jesus is not only your rescue from hell for eternity, Jesus is your rescue from hell on earth. He is your rescue from that pit and He is your rescue from the sins and habits and wounds that seem to keep you doomed. Jesus snapped the power of sin into irreparable pieces on Easter morning. It’s finished. You are already set up in God’s love. The question that remains is not what else can be done but will you fully embrace what Jesus did over 2,000 years ago on the Cross?
There is no magic formula. And although I tried for years, there is no precise prayer except the one that comes straight from your heart to God. The prayer that is full of your own words, thoughts and needs. The prayer that comes from the real you…from your heart, however messy and crusty it may be. Jesus loves you. More than loves you like we love chocolate or our dog or even our children. Jesus loves you in a way that can’t be contained or explained fully. God’s love and grace do not fit neatly into 5 easy steps. No, it’s messy and spills out and drenches us from head to toe! And all the while as we are absorbing the nearness of Creator He is drawing us out of the pit…setting our feet on a new path…filling in the cracks…washing the past away…pulverizing regret…renewing purpose and hope…helping our hearts grasp all that our minds cannot understand.
Jesus, I ask on behalf of any struggling person who reads this post that you help them to hear Your heart for them. I ask that you enable them to feel Your presence and a new desire inside to get to know You. Jesus, I know that your rescue is real. I live in it every day and I know it is Your Spirit within that compels me to share mine. Only You, God, can rescue broken hearts and marriages. Only You can renew hope and help us to engage in Thanksgiving when we suffer loss. The joy of being near You, Jesus, is what changes our lives…makes us willing to let You have Your way in our lives. Yes, that is my prayer this morning. God, I’m asking You to draw us to places in our lives in which we become willing to really let You have Your way in us. There is a rescue and a healing in Your way. I love You, Lord. In the powerful name of Jesus.