Thursday, June 26, 2008

More Than Surviving

One day often seems to slip right into another, with weeks evaporating like a drop of water on asphalt in the high heat of a blazing summer day. Often times I look back at my week and wonder; did I just make it through, though battered and somewhat bloodied, or did I escape without a wound though accomplishing nothing meaningful. Neither of these week-end results seems sufficient to me.

Is the Christian life really one of "just getting by" or "just surviving?" Something about the whole notion of struggling through the minutes and hours just to make it to the seemingly safe haven that we call weekends just doesn't make sense in light of what I know about God and His grace. So what do we know about God and His grace? For starters, we know this,

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, 'For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than just conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."(Romans 8:35-39; ESV)

This passage leaves me with two questions:

1) What is God's love worth to me?
2) How should I respond knowing that someting of such value cannot EVER be taken away from me?

To answer the first question, we must be very honest with ourselves and take a good look at how the knowledge of God's inseparable love affects us in comparison with how the loss or gain of other things affects us. Do you rejoice when you receive good things in your life, only to dispair when things are not quite as ideal as you would like? If this is the case, perhaps you must ask yourself, could there be a more ideal situation in life than to have had your soul saved (undeservedly) and to be joined with the Living God Himself through the Holy Spirit?

The all-surpasing worth of the love of God displayed in the incomparable act of forgiveness and renewal of life should be an unending source of joy when all other joys forsake us or are taken away.

How did we respond when the joy of salvation first swept over us? Were you as elated as I was? Did you think you could conquer the world for Jesus the Christ, the redeemer of your polluted soul? I did. I still do.

Perhaps we should scroll up a tad from Romans 8:35 to verse 17 which says, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comapring with the glory that is to be revealed to us." And a tad further down in verse 31 and 32 "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare is own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with Him graciously give us all things?"

To answer my second original question, I start by asking this; is there something more than Christ? Is there something we are still lacking? If we are lacking, will God, who "did not spare his own Son," not give it to us? But surely, O Lord, your Son is more than enough for us!

How shall I respond to my knowledge of the value of God's love? Perhaps with faith, joy and thanksgiving of course. More than that though, I shall respond by being more than just a survivor of my days, nay, more than just a conqueror! To conquer means to fight, and we fight with a God who is for us!

When we look at each hour of every day, each tribulation, each distress, each danger and every sword; I pray that God quicken us with the reality that we are more than conquerors through His all-sufficient everlasting love.

Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war
with the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
forward into battle see his banners go!

At the sign of triumph Satan's host doth flee;
on then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell's foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthem raise!

Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng,
blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.
Glory, laud, and honor unto Christ our King,
this through countless ages men and angels sing.

See the rest of the hymn here.


Daniel Patz June 26, 2008 at 2:35 PM  

Good post, Joe. I look forward to reading your blog. I enjoyed reading your reflections on Romans 8. Onward Christian Soldier.