I grew up with brothers—three of them. Subsequently, my childhood was consumed by fear. My survival depended upon learning how to manage not only my circumstances but also my fear. At any given moment, day or night, one little slip, the briefest momentary letting down of the guard, and I could find myself under attack. So I developed coping skills.
Distress, Comfort, and a Catechism
Today I belong to Jesus—body and soul. Today I have an inheritance that reflects my spiritual DNA, and although I face daily temptations and suffer momentary affliction, I am also today sustained by this tomorrow-identity, from now until beyond the grave. Sin—the flesh, the world, the enemy—works to make me forget truth. When it succeeds, comfort flees, and I seek pseudo-comforts, and when they disappoint, I react accordingly in anger or dismay, eventually bearing out the consequences of idolatry. However, there is timelessness in God’s grace and forgiveness. My tomorrow-identity depends upon His integrity, not my feelings.[viii] His passage through the veil with me cannot be reversed or undone. His resurrection adheres me to Him, and He cannot become un-resurrected.
This promise is not just Abraham’s; it’s ours as well. We may not be “fathers of many nations,” but whatever our purpose, whatever our call, God beckons us to surrender our weaknesses to His power. In his economy, all bodies raised from death to life have a place in his plan. Life invades these dead-unable-to-sustain-life bodies—a picture of resurrection. What glory!
Context: The Tour Guide to God’s Word
We have a wonderful opportunity to know the exquisite richness and beauty of God’s word and to share its bounty with others. To approach it without acknowledging Him reduces it to meaningless history or storytelling. To read and study it without honoring the Author’s intent risks burdening yourself and others with the shackles of legalism or moralism. It becomes irrelevant as soon as we dismiss the context God has determined for each passage and each word. We attempt to usurp His authorship when we insert ourselves into the text as the hero, stealing glory from God, who alone deserves praise.
This article first appeared at Servants of Grace on May 17, 2021, as part of the series, “Fighting Biblical Illiteracy Through Study and Discipleship”.
Life Is a Beach . . .
In the city of God, we can find satisfaction, and in that satisfaction, glorify our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer. Why would I scan the horizon or search the bottom of the sea for more? My purpose is defined only in this language of God. I am without meaning without him.
Inside or Outside?
With him, we are crucified to this world. He didn’t die to make the world like paradise. He died to separate us for paradise, that better Eden.
(This post first appeared at Servants of Grace as part of the Hebrews devotional series.)
Able to be Steadfast
We do what we are now, as a new creation, able to do. The bear is made to hibernate in the winter. The sheepdog is made to herd sheep. The bird is made to fly and the fish is made to swim. We are made to glorify God. And his merciful conversion of our hearts away from sin and in love toward him makes it possible.
Reversal, Redemption, and Renewal
We all love to re-watch our favorite movie scenes, including the suspenseful ones, and we experience all the nervousness and anxiety all over again as if it’s the first time. It’s almost irrational because we are behaving as if we are in the dark about something we actually know quite a bit about. In part, that’s because it doesn’t have anything to do with what we don’t know, but how we are perceiving in the moment what we generally know. It’s also because we know all too well that death is ultimately inescapable, no matter how many times the hero thwarts it in repeat showings.
The Higher Math That Saves
Add some higher math to your witness today. Begin with an understanding of the old equation and end with the majesty of the new. With God’s mercy, stone cold hearts will be turned to flesh, light will overpower the darkness, and the eternal result will be redeemed lives walking in Christ.
Do Not Fear Those Who Kill the Body
Death cannot be avoided, but the sting of death can.