Thursday, October 14, 2010

I feel as though my legs would dangle from a throne

Ephesians 2:6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

The Ephesians verses are just after a description of our former selves, and how God saves us. The Colossians verses are right before a description of how to live a holy life.


Life is hard. No really, LIFE.IS.HARD. It's hard for everyone. And I would venture to say that we are all tired. Every single one of us; the newlywed, the widower, the single person, the barren, the parent of a newborn (or really, a child or children of any age), etc. If we are Christians, we are all fighting the SAME good fight; we are all persevering to the END of the SAME race. We're all sinners saved by grace. And we are all tired. If we aren't tired, then maybe we are too happy with this world.

Here is a facet of the most recent of my "being tired" story

It's been over a year since I was told I would be laid off - that was three jobs ago. I've had over a year of employment uncertainty. I've been unemployed for 4.5 months. I'm single. I'm 33. I'm exhorted to - serve more serve more serve more - to help all of this. That is my prescription. Service. Trust the Lord and serve others.

And the little Pharisee in me loves service! The little Martha in me loves serving others! But I really feel like I have a bigger Mary in me. I want to sit at my Savior's feet. And it's funny how the servant (Martha) and the sister (Mary) are at war within me.

Luke 10:38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

41"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."


Look at all of this time I have! I can volunteer at my church, and read my Bible plus other great books, I can go and spend time with stay-at-home Mom's! Woo hoo free time! Oh what fun it will be to find other things I can do!


Look at all of this time I have. I can sit Jesus Christ's feet. Now... How do I do that? Quiet times, books, listen to sermons, singing worship music. Let's see... oh yeah! I can pray! And... Let's face it - I'm attempting to do this all alone. And that's hard. But you know what's easy? Serving! Do do do, go go go!

Is this war becoming a little clearer to you? By God's grace I think it is to me.

It is so easy to forget what I've been saved from. One of those things is a futile mind. Now what is a futile mind, you ask? Good question! In Ephesians 4, Paul teaches us to put off the old self, and put on the new self.

Ephesians 4:22to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

According to God's word, the new self no longer has a futile mind (v. 17), which is marked by being deceived by desires. Our minds are to be renewed. But we are still sinners, and are easily deceived by every little thing. And I really do think that one big desire for me it to look to my works. To depend on the Law and forget that Christ came to fulfill it. To think that if I am 'good' enough, God will bless me. Which is funny when thinking about the BIGGEST blessing God has given me - being saved from His eternal wrath and spending eternity in complete and joyful reconciliation with Him - had nothing to do with any 'goodness' in me. I didn't do one thing to deserve that. It is only through Christ's work that God blesses me with my salvation. So why in the world would I think that He would bless me with any other thing because of my works? Do you see the problem here? The problem is that I am a sinner. And I want to do do do. Because that's easier than sitting.

Thank the LORD that He redeems everything! Because it was after my extended quiet times and reading Genesis + doing the hard and humbling work of cleaning my church that I had this thought (that I conveniently typed in my trusty iPhone on 6 October while I was vacuuming the 4th floor):

God uses His people as a picture of His faithfulness. Do you see how He is using you?

This thought was so comforting! It called to mind the story of Ruth (although let's face it, her labor was harder than mine). For about two days, that is. But here I go again, sliding into "how long oh Lord... will it be until you bless me." And yes, that can be a call for Him to return and for Heaven to be my home, but invariable it is a call to well-if-you're-not-going-to-return-any-time-soon- (according to my timetable) -then-please-make-this-life-easier-for-me. And let's face it, that's lame. It reeks of unfaithfulness to my God. To His good plans. To His sovereignty. To His love for me. It showcases my distrust of Him.

And that's so frustrating! I KNOW all that He has done for me in Christ! And yet I keep going back to these old ways of thinking. Is this a futile mind, or one that has been renewed in spirit? Yeah...


Back to those two passages from the top of the post. Being raised with Christ suggests something that's already happened. Being raised with Him. Where He is now. Which is at the right hand of the Father. For real? Because I feel as though my legs would dangle from a throne, so... Really? I'm already there? But I'm such a mess down here! Another thing I wrote on 6 October (along with the picture of God's faithfulness) is this:

Whole new level of trust.

This life on Earth is my childhood.

Apparently the thought of my life being a picture of God's faithfulness gave me a whole new level of trust of Him, and made me think that my life on this planet is my childhood. It's funny to think about eternity, and that our years on earth (no matter how short or long) seem like an eternity, but are a mere drop compared to the reality of eternity. I mean, why do you think God keeps disciplining us? Because we need it. Because we are His children. And I don't have a clear picture of what Heaven will be like, but I do know that it will not be like this life. This hard life. That I do know is true. Thank you Jesus! But what I do know is that through this life, God seems to be readying us for our inheritance. And one day we will reach that full maturity in Christ. So yes, my legs are dangling, but it won't always be that way. Come, thou long expected Jesus, come!

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