Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Enter at Your Own Risk!

Do you ever pause long enough during your fast paced life to consider your life?  If you do, what do you see?  Do you shudder and quickly slam the door to the room housing the effects of your past?  While almost in a panic, do you then lock the door, and begin searching for some way to conveniently lose the key--wondering what madness ever possessed you to attempt such a thing in the first place?

If you're similar to me, you probably retain the key for those times when curiosity, or the need to be validated, or a need for a ready excuse for your actions, or a need for an explanation suddenly compels you to peek again into the dark, dusty, dank room of your life.

Perhaps you're not like me, at all.  Instead, you approach your life after the fashion of the fabled Italian race car driver who, while ripping the rear view mirror from its mooring, proclaims, "Whatsa behinda me isa not importante."

Then again, maybe you live in that room, obsessively filing, polishing, and scrutinizing your past failures or successes--hopelessly ensnared by past glories and crippling guilt.

And maybe you find all this kind of chat rather annoying.  Your motto is to live for the day.  You see no need to worry about either the future or the past; today is all that matters--carpe diem--eat, drink, for tomorrow we die.

I wonder who of us is right.

Well, herein lies one of the great marvels of the Gospel, where we encounter evidence of the insuperable liberating power of Jesus, because we are all right--that is, there is truth  in each of the above life strategies.

Jesus died, was buried, and on the third day was raised to life; so we can live in His kingdom as forgiven people; we no longer have to fear the contents of that old room, but able to leave its door wide open; because of the faithfulness of Christ, we are able to confidently proceed in a life submitted to Jesus. Indeed, Saint Paul spoke for all of us in Christ:

"Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." [NET]

Nor do we need to fear the future because we know in following Jesus, even should we stumble, He is faithful to forgive us, and pick us up again to keep moving on in life--eternal life.  Through His Spirit He lovingly gives us, we recognize when we fall and the path to repentance.

By this same Spirit we learn how to live in His kingdom.  One way His Spirit accomplishes this is by reminding us of our past failures--not in condemnation, but to redeem them into a wisdom for living in the present and beyond.  His love being poured into our hearts steadies our path through this present life of certain temptations, distractions, and yes, troubles by using our experiences to teach us.  What were once agents of guilt become for us in Jesus agents of restoration.

You see, there is truth, and therefore value in opening  the door to the room of our past; there is value to taking time to evaluate what we find there, so we can properly press on by living for today without worry for tomorrow.  Jesus promises this to everyone who dwells with Him in His kingdom:

"So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’  For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own." [NET]

On the other hand, to cling tenaciously to any one of those above life strategies will always leave us wanting. Jesus would not have us use the freedom He has purchased for us to either wallow in our sinfulness or pursue our selfish-ambition.

God loves us and cares about our whole life; for this reason He has restored His kingdom to us who repent. And by trusting His one, only, and unique Son, Jesus the Christ--our King, Master, Lord--with a trust evinced by our obedience, we live that whole life to the fullest, forever.  It is the life we all secretly want, for it is a life of purpose and meaning.  Life we have with and through our King is true peace, and lasting joy, even though for the present it is not always happy.

In the kingdom of God, the room of our life need no longer be a fearful place; we can tear down that old warning sign, Enter at Your Own Risk!, and boldly explore the good and the horrible of our life's treasures.

What a terrifyingly wondrous, liberating thing it is to leap into the hands of the Living God.


Jon Kokko said...

Amazing grace is such an understatement!

I think there's a nexus we cross as believers to that 'terrifyingly wondrous' place. It's a hard bridge to press past. But on the other side..... wow. All I can say is wow..

Bruce said...

Well said. We need forever to fully grasp what God in His love has accomplished through Jesus; and even that isn't long enough.

Jeff said...

I know my room is not pretty!

How true it is that Jesus will make it all right!

C.S. Lewis talks about how the glow of heaven will diffuse over our entire lives so that when we look back we will see that we were always in heaven - even in what we thought were our darkest moments!