For me, the most radical demand of Christian faith lies in summoning the courage to say Yes to the present risenness of Jesus Christ. My Yes to the fullness of divinity embodied in the present risenness of Jesus is scary because it is so personal. In desolation and abandonment, in the death of my father, in loneliness and fear, in the awareness of the resident pharisee, and in the antics of the imposter, Yes is a bold word not to be taken lightly or spoken frivolously. This Yes is an act of faith, a decisive, wholehearted response of my whole being to the risen Jesus present beside me, before me, around me, and within me; a cry of confidence that my faith in Jesus provides security not only in the face of death but in the face of a worse threat posed by my own malice; a word that must be said not just once but repeated over and over again in the ever-changing landscape of life. Brennan Manning, Chapter Six
It’s interesting that the Americanized church readily emphasizes the great need for sinners to say Yes to Jesus as Lord and Savior, but rarely do we talk about these equally difficult decisions to say Yes, on a daily basis, to the present risenness of Jesus Christ? In truth, this secondary set of Yes responses may actually be much more difficult decisions to make than the first.
Now don’t get me wrong here. Saying Yes to Jesus as personal savior is truly a life and death issue, but why is it that once we assist a person in making their ‘salvation’ decision, we just assume the rest of the choices after that will be any easier?
As Brennan Manning states it, making a daily choice to say Yes to Jesus and His day-to-day presence in my life takes a truly heroic stance. No half-hearted, indecisive response will cut it here, folks. Life on planet earth, if you haven’t noticed, is one tough cookie. There’s little room for wishy-washy religion that believes we just need a little bit of God-luck in our pockets just in case we get in a spot of trouble!
Walking with Jesus, staying tight with Him day in and day out is no picnic in the park. If something like this were easy, everybody, quite honestly, would be doing it! But here’s the truth. Jesus says clearly, “In this life, you will have trouble!” But He also adds, “Take heart, my friends, know that I am indeed with you at every turn in life from now until the end of time.”
As I see it, holding onto a promise like that takes more than just a little hope and a 30-second prayer. Could it be that this is why Brennan Manning calls us to ‘summon courage’ when holding on to the truth that Jesus will never leave us or forsake us?
If I take a quick review of my journey with Jesus, I’m convinced that the most believable lie that Satan has ever told me (and keep in mind that Satan only knows how to speak in half-truths and lies) is the one that says, “Ahh, Marty, I know you want to believe that God really loves you, but look around you, son, where is your God right now?” Sadly, my friends, I will admit to you readily that when I’m in one of those low spots in life where all my hopes are dashed and my dreams faded, this one lie has worked pretty well over the years in making me feel rejected, abandoned and dropped off at the curb by my Heavenly Father.
The Gospel of Grace speaks a different word than this.
The Gospel of Grace tells me that:
I am loved by God. I am His beloved son.
I am liked by God. I am His forever friend.
God is right here, right now. I am not alone.
Which is stronger?
1) I am alone. God has abandoned me.
2) I am not alone. God is still with me.
Today, I must choose one. Today I must be able to say Yes to the present risenness of Jesus Christ in my current situation. Good or bad, Jesus is still alive and holding my hand. Dead or alive, Jesus is still here next to me, believing in me. Right or wrong, Jesus is standing behind me, backing me up when everyone else has deserted me. Regardless of circumstances, Jesus has always been my fortress. Jesus, today, is my Strength and my Deliverer. My Christ will always be my Rescuing King. In Him, this day, I will choose to trust.
Yes, Lord, I believe.
My prayer: Thank You, God, for the Holy Spirit’s role in empowering me to say Yes to Your presence in my life in the midst of every circumstance, every trial, and every hardship that might come my way. Thank You, Jesus, for Your promise of never leaving my side, and with Your help, I believe I will always be able to choose Yes, even when everything inside me feels like saying No. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Why is it that we emphasize the choice of saying Yes to Jesus when it comes to salvation, but seem to leave the rest of the challenge to chance? What can I do to better prepare myself and others for the inner fortitude needed to say Yes on a daily basis to the present risenness of Christ?
So what is God speaking to you today as you live as Abba’s child in the midst of His Gospel of Grace?
Over an eleven-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at God’s Gospel of Grace; Exploring the Good News of God’s Unconditional Love & Acceptance. We are using Brennan Manning’s classic book, Abba’s Child – The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging as our guide. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Gospel of Grace home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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