Ultimate Redeemer

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:15, 18-19).

Wow. Can anyone else relate to the verses of the day?

Sheesh! This describes me to a tee!

It’s so frustrating. It’s not that I don’t want to do what is right and good. It’s not that I don’t want to stop doing stupid things, dumb things, things that hurt the people I love, hurt the God I love.

Sheesh!

And the thing is when I start down this road of self condemnation it’s never ending. I can keep going.

It’s not like this is my first rodeo. If you’re anything like me, we’ve been down this road before. We’ve repented of the very sins we struggle with. We have already been forgiven for the things we are struggling with. And here we are again repenting and confessing the same sins over again. And we can’t help but wonder if God’s as tired of this as we are. 

The devil loves to chime in to remind us of that.

But, here’s the thing. Here’s what you and I must remember.

OUR PAST DOES NOT DISQUALIFY US. OUR PAST PREPARES US.

God is the ultimate redeemer. There is no sin, no past, nothing that God cannot redeem. God will use even our past mistakes and failures for his glory. God will use even our past mistakes and failures to redeem us and to encourage others.

That’s why this section ends with the promise “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

Because of Jesus, because of our Redeemer, our past no longer disqualifies us. Our past prepares us for God’s kingdom ministry!

Keep At It

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

The Greek word for handiwork is poema. It literally means that we are God’s poetry, we are God’s masterpiece.

We are God’s masterpiece, not like artwork put in museums for people to marvel at. We are God’s masterpiece so that when people see the work that God is doing in us, they cannot help but see and appreciate the Master artist. That’s how people come to know God.

How is God’s handiwork demonstrated?

Good works. Good deeds.

The lives, actions, and choices of God’s children resembling God.

For this is what we were created for in Christ Jesus. This is what God prepared in advance for us to do.

So how’s that coming?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Your life as a Christian should make non-believers question their unbelief in God.”

If you’re like me, this is an aspiration but not yet a reality. But I do pray and hope that I am getting better at it as time goes by, and I pray and hope that this is true of you.

Because we are sinners we will fail. But failure is not failing unless we quit.

So, keep at it. Keep going. God’s with you.

Come, Follow Me: Two Things Following Jesus Entails

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said (Matthew 4:19).

Come, follow me…

That’s the invitation Jesus makes to every single disciple. Seems simple enough right?

There are two parts to this invitation to follow Jesus.

First, “Come.”

  • In order to follow Jesus, the first thing required is a departure
  • You can’t stay where you are if you are to go to Jesus
  • You have to leave your present dreams, hopes, and life in order to go and follow Jesus
  • The first requirement for following Jesus is a departure of the old life, the life prior to Jesus

The second thing is, “Follow me”

  • In order to learn how to follow Jesus, the second thing required is unlearning to follow myself
  • We’ve lived our entire lives following our own thoughts, our decisions, our hopes, our dreams, our best guesses. And, look where that’s gotten us!!!
  • If we are to follow Jesus we must unlearn our natural patterns and habits of following ourselves

Two things required to follow Jesus: a departure, and an unlearning.

Ready to follow Jesus?