Welcome to another Monday Motivational! If you are a first time reader it is great to have you here, and if you are a frequent visitor of the blog it is great to have you here too! I hope that everyone enjoyed their day yesterday celebrating Easter. I had a wonderful Easter packed to the brim with all the essentials—went to a 7 AM sunrise service (still trying to recover from waking up that early) , went to a breakfast potluck where I ate more food than any human should ever need/want to consume , went to the 11 o’clock service at SHBC for some more Sunday morning fellowship , swung by Tina’s house to see the family , went back to Camp to do some Easter fishing (unsuccessfully, but that was to be expected when you are as bad at fishing as I am) , watched a movie , and then called it a day. All around it was a great day of fellowship with family and friends, paired with some great messages about the Gospel of Christ and doing my part to advance it. However, I did not write this post just so I could brag about how awesome my Easter was. I want to talk with you guys about something that I clearly overlooked growing up in the church with hopes that you finish reading this post and think “yup, I knew that”, or “hmm, I’ve not looked at it that way before”.
I hate to admit this, but I am sure if we are all honest with ourselves you have experienced something similar. Growing up in church you find yourself hearing lessons, sermons, studies, etc. about things you already know or still have the notes for. I am not proud of this, but when those moments came up for me in my younger years I would just sort of check in and out of what the speaker was saying. My favorite way to do this was by occasionally tuning into what was being said and then trying to draw pictures to animate the lesson. First thing to note about this is that I am in no way, shape, or form an artist, but that did not stop me from thinking “oh, the speaker is talking about Daniel in the lions den. I bet he wants me to draw him a picture of a guy hanging out with lions rather than listen to what he is trying share with us!”. Second thing to note about this is that it is insanely rude. Picture a tiny kid walking up to the pastor at the end of the service and instead of being able to tell the pastor that they learned something or enjoyed the sermon, the kid hands him a picture of a stick figure man standing beside what are supposed to be lions but the kid didn’t know how to draw the back legs so they all just look like overweight deformed chickens. It would have been more polite for me to just walk out, but instead I would give them horrible pictures that inadvertently said “I know you put a lot of effort and prayer into sharing with the congregation what God has put on your heart, but I already heard that story so here is a picture for you to decipher later”.
Easter was a time for me when this would regularly happen. I knew who Christ was and what He did for me, so did I really need to listen while someone explained it to other people? Short answer, yes! I am sure if I had it would not have taken so long for me put together the thought I had last week while reflecting on Easter and what it means to me personally. In my mind I have always combine all the events of what happened leading up the crucifixion and resurrection so that they were one joined story with only one purpose—show that Christ died on the cross for my sins. It is all one story, but there are many purposes to what happened, and how they happened. Because of this limited thinking I missed something that is very important.
While thinking about the events leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection I thought about Judas betraying Christ and Christ still loving him through that and even eating the Passover meal with him. I thought about how Peter was told that he was going to fail Christ and when he did Christ still loved him. I thought about Christ praying to God in the garden of Gethsemane for a way out, but knowing His prayer was going to be met with a no because it was the will of God for Him to be our sacrificial lamb. I thought about Christ’s interaction with the man on the cross beside him and how Christ did not loose sight of his purpose for being here (Luke 19:10). I thought about God turning His back to Christ in the final moments and how that is a crystal clear picture of what our life is when sin is in control. Then I started to think about His resurrection and I found myself at an internal roadblock. Christ’s resurrection has a lot to do with the story of Christ at this time, but does it have the same purpose of pointing out where my salvation comes from?
To be honest with you, I don’t know for sure. I know that I have sin in my life and because of that I fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) so I on my own cannot be in His presence, but I was justified through the redemption in Christ who was put forward as propitiation (Romans 3:24-25). I know that we are cursed by the law when we try to live through works of the law (Galatians 3:10) and that Christ redeemed us from that curse by becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). But where does the resurrection of Christ come into play when discussing my salvation? I am not sure that it does. I think that Christ had to be the perfect sacrifice and die on the cross to redeem me from my sins, but outside of my salvation purposes He conquered death to make an example of it. For us to be free from the stronghold of sins in our life and the wrath of God for those sins Christ sacrifice was essential. His resurrection was a picture of His sovereignty and authority over all things. An opportunity that could only come after His death so to not distract us from the purpose and power of His death, but an opportunity that had no other association with His death beside it being a step in the direction of showing us His Deity and Sovereignty over all facets and constructs of this world.
I was so focused on keeping the story together with a common application that I allowed myself to miss the purpose of the ending. How often do we fall victim of doing this? How often do I fall victim of doing this? Sometimes we are so close to something that we don’t allow the intentions behind it to grow in meaning or application. What are other things that I have missed because my own limitations being put on the Word of God? What are things that you have missed? Make an effort to remove your limitations from the Word of God when you read it during your daily devotions or when you are listening to it being read on Sunday mornings. Allow your eyes, ears, heart, and mind to be open and accepting of what the Spirit tries to reveal to you in God’s Word. Who knows…you may find out that you missed something before.
Happy Monday guys!