Friday, May 10, 2013

Fully Involved

I have a friend who is a constant joy and encouragement to me.  (No, she doesn't come clean my house or do my laundry, although, if someone feels led, I promise I will blog about you too!)  The thing that makes me eager to spend even a few minutes with this lovely lady is how full of joy she is about God's redemptive power.  It bubbles out of her even if you aren't talking about spiritual things, and when you are, it just overflows .
The awareness of just how much God has done in her life is an ever-present light that just surrounds her.
She isn't merely grateful for being saved; no, she relishes in the grace that redeemed her, reformed her, made her completely new and fresh and reborn in Him.  The transformation is truly a beautiful thing.  She has her own testimony to give and I look forward to the day when that is written up and shared, but for now, yes, she lived in a deep, dark place, a place of pain and hatred and hurt, a place that many of us loathe to even think about. That is all past and is so foreign to the bright and beautiful lady I know today that it is unimaginable.

So this brings me to what I want to share today. I ask in advance that you stay with me, I understand that some may be shocked or even offended by the very idea that I would say this out loud, but friends, I believe that the Lord gave it to me a few days ago and I've been thinking about it ever since.

We all know that Jesus Christ came to earth and suffered a horrible, torturous death on the cross to pay for our sins. He gave his life and spilled his blood for our salvation and transformation. It is this miracle that my friend  lives her life daily basking in the glory of.  And really, she needed it.  But me, why don't I find myself overwhelmed by this same grace, this same mercy, this same sacrifice?  Perhaps..., no, surely not. Surely none of us that have experienced God's saving grace would ever think that Jesus didn't need to go quite that far for us?
No. We would never say this, or even think it, but subconsciously, do we live it?  Are we under-whelmed by Jesus's death because maybe in our case a good beating would have done the trick?  After all, my sins are quite minor compared to others.  There really wasn't a lot of saving and redeeming to be done in my case. The whole blood-death-sacrifice seems a bit overkill.

When these thoughts first came to my mind and heart, my reaction was, "Lord! of course not! I'm very grateful for what you suffered for me, for your shed blood that paid for my salvation, for the old rugged cross that ...."  Yeah. I went there. I quoted hymns to God.
Gently he continued to speak to my heart. "I know you don't THINK it, but do you act it?  Is my sacrifice something you pull up to ponder at Easter?  I know you are overwhelmed with life and all the trials and challenges. I'm not asking for you to devote hours each day dancing before me with praise, but it would be nice if every once in a while you were lost in the sea of my grace and goodness, that it registered with you how fully involved I am in your salvation and redemption."

"Fully involved."  I hadn't thought about it like that before.  When God made the plan to save us, he didn't hold anything back. Jesus was fully involved. This wasn't a part time gig, it wasn't a sideline, it wasn't, "I'll take 33 years off from running the universe to hop down to earth and redeem those humans."  The decision to make this sacrifice, to put on humanity, to die, to face down sin and defeat Satan, this is something that forever altered eternity.

I don't ever want to live in a manner that even suggests that I do not need Jesus' full sacrifice. I don't want my heart-song to be half-hearted. The sin that bound me, that separated me from God, that made me unholy and unfit to stand before him is just as dirty, just as loathsome, just as painful as any other sin.  He took it all away, he removed the barrier that stood between my soul and God's holiness by nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:14); it took the very same sacrifice, the same torturous death to redeem MY sinful soul as it does for anyone else's.

I have asked God to give me a new glimpse at where my heart would be without his salvation; I've asked him to quickly convict me should I ever cease to be as fully involved in my praise as he was in my redemption. I want to be so full of awareness of what he has done for me that it overflows, that it is contagious, that it draws people and reflects back to God.