Section One: The Spiritual Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic One: Being A Believer.
Our reading for today: Romans 5: 6-11 (MsgB)
Christ arrives right on time to make this (salvation) happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented Himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put His love on the line for us by offering His Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to Him. Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of His Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of His resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!
Did you ever play the game of Hide and Seek when you were a kid?
For those who may have forgotten, the concept of this children’s game is pretty simple. Usually played in the out-of-doors, a large tree is, most often, picked to serve as home base. Then one lucky person (usually the loudest and most obnoxious one of the group) chooses to be the Seeker, who leans, with eyes closed (sorta), into the tree, while the rest of the kids have a pre-determined amount of time to run and hide. Once the Seeker counts out the pre-determined number of seconds (usually counted out-loud much faster than slower!), he or she yells out for all to hear… “Ready or not, here I come.” And then the fun begins, as the Seeker scours the surrounding area, looking behind trees, bushes, houses and other assorted large obstacles, searching for the Hiders. Once the Seeker spots a Hider, it’s now a horserace to see who can be the first to touch the tree back at home base. And as I recall the game personally, most participants, myself included, eventually end up with bloodied knees and scraped-up elbows as we tumble and fall racing back to the tree!
Now, you might be saying to yourself, what’s all this have to do with today’s passage from Romans 5…but to that thought, I say, please be patient…there is a method to my madness.
As I see it, life here on planet earth is a lot like the game of Hide and Seek. As a matter of fact, in Genesis, we find our earliest ancestors, Adam and Eve, doing exactly what good Hiders are supposed to do…hunkering down in an apple orchard, hoping God, the Seeker, will never find them!
You see, if I’m really gut honest about myself, I’m pretty shamed about the way I’ve lived my life…how about you? I’ve tried my best most of the time to be successful but, truthfully, the results are pretty unimpressive…certainly nothing to be shouting about to others. So inevitably, most of us take that shame and self-pity and go hide behind the nearest tree, hoping others will never find us there…especially God. And yet…if truth be known, you and I really don’t want to remain alone, hiding behind that tree for the remainder of our lives. Inside, we secretly hope and pray that someone will eventually find us and recognize us for who we really are…but sadly, for many of us, that scenario is only a distant hope, a dying promise, or a rarely-spoken-of pipe dream.
But then…there’s God, the Seeker.
The One who really loves us more than we could ever imagine. Wait, what’s that I hear? It’s a loud voice, yelling out across the yard…
Ready or not…here I come!
And as Paul writes to his friends in Rome, the search is now on. The Seeker is pulling out all the stops to find us! Yet, unlike the game of Hide and Seek, where the Seeker is trying to win the game, God, the unconditionally-loving Seeker is looking for us with His best intentions for us firmly planted front and center in His mind. You see, God the Seeker has made arrangements long before the game of life ever started to send His Son, Jesus of Nazareth to clear the field of obstacles that might try to stand in our way. Gosh, as Paul puts it, even the fact that we’d prefer to stay hidden ourselves, hunkering down in sin and shame, doesn’t obstruct God the Seeker from finding us and redeeming our lives for His greater glory!
So, I say, come on God, let’s play. How invigorating and life-giving to be hunted down by the Seeker who really cares, who really loves, and who really desires to bring me back to home base, back into His garden, forever and ever. Amen.
My prayer: God, my Father, this game of Hide and Seek is truly, as Paul says, something to sing and shout about! Hallelujah! Thank You, Jesus for doing everything that was necessary so that God the Seeker could find me and call me back home to be with Him. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: As I see it, God is always desirous of playing Hide and Seek with us. Whether it be the first time or the thousandth, am I willing to play and be found by Him who is the ultimate Seeker? What obstacles or excuses am I using today to keep me hidden from the love of God? Am I truly open to being found and will I willingly allow the Seeker to find me?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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