Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Arms Outstretched

2Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 

I was reading a devotion about morality this morning and how society has defined it in these current days. How society has changed moral values, even making laws regarding them, and continues to do so, as they see fit. Laws that need to be adhered to. The Bible is very clear on all issues, but I'm not so certain all our leaders understand this. Well, one thought led to another and as I started putting my thoughts on paper, even those thoughts evolved into something unexpected, yet related (I think).

What stood out in the article for me was Jesus' mission. He came to earth not to mingle with the so-called elite but with those of less standing. He came for you and me and to proclaim what is true. But, you might say, I'm a good person. I'm a good husband/wife/father/mother/employer/employee/provider, etc.  I know others who are not so good. Which law tells us this? We are not to compare ourselves with others...because none are righteous! All need Jesus. All.

Jesus was looked upon by the religious leaders as blasphemous. Can you imagine that? Jesus! They were pretty high and mighty in their thinking that their knowledge of the laws of God made them superior. So much so that they could not see Jesus for who He truly was. Who was HE to think He was better than they...and yet somehow they knew He spoke with authority and wisdom, which infuriated them and threatened them.

These leaders commanded everyone to adhere to their laws, though they, themselves kept having to create new laws to prevent the original law from being broken, or putting a fence around the law. They, too, struggled. If they had listened to Jesus they would have understood that even they were not capable of maintaining their so-called goodness/righteousness. No one is righteous...not one. Jesus was proclaiming even they needed a Savior, which fell on deaf ears, as happens today. And the laws of morality keep changing to suit the current demands of the day so as not to offend or cause anyone to feel guilty or "bad." Because, after all, we are all "good" people, aren't we?

No one is NOT in need of Jesus. No one. He spent His time with sinners and included religious leaders in this mix. And He gave of Himself for them...for us. He selflessly gave of Himself. He reached out to those in need. He did not turn anyone away, although He would rebuke those who thought they knew better. He's still doing that. 

Until we know Jesus in the depths of our souls, He will keep poking our spirits. I have been thinking these past few days for some reason about something I know I've written about before. The day before I received Christ I was still believing very adamantly that I didn't need what I didn't know then was called a relationship with Christ. I knew of Him, believe He lived, died and rose again. But the idea of getting any closer was not on my agenda. What for? 

I can mentally see my arms stretched as far outward as possible pushing Jesus, who was calling me, wanting me to become His, away. Pride, I know now, was the reason. I was doing fine on my own. What was all the hullabaloo about Jesus? I could manage my own problems, which just wasn't true. I didn't need to be any closer. I didn't need anyone prompting me to come to church, to just give it a try. I didn't need anybody telling me what to do. I just didn't! So I pushed away. 

But like Saul who became Paul, a change was to take place in an instant. In an instant. An instant. Like the Damascus Road experience. I remember the agitation I felt about (what I perceived as) the confrontation with my sister-in-law. She was gentle in her words, as she always is, but I viewed them as nagging. Stop bringing this church thing up to me, was probably what I was thinking.

Then the words that changed me from resisting to giving in happened, without warning and with great confusion, she said: I hear God's voice. In that instant, those outstretched, pushing arms became almost an inward collapse to my knees with tears and words I cannot believe I said: I want that! Where did that come from? Who could have ever guessed my resistance could have been broken in an instant. I was toast!! The next day despite how strong I thought I would be in that church service, I melted like wax. Jesus became my Lord, my light and my salvation. Replacing my outstretched arms were His outstretched arms welcoming me into His kingdom, to my kinship with the Lord Jesus Christ. 

This can happen to anyone at any time, and not even in church! Why some resist, or how, is beyond me. It just ain't their time, I guess! But that's okay. The Lord's timing is always perfect. He's always right on time. All the struggling, all the resistance, only brings a greater fall. Either we fall into Jesus' arms or to our own devices and failure. Which is it we want to do? Jesus is not the crutch so many believe He is. He is our strength, our wisdom, discernment, peace...and most of all our salvation.

I'm thankful He didn't give up on me. His timing IS perfect. It always will be.

Titus 1:1b-3 - ...according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and which now at His appointed season He has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior...

No comments:

Post a Comment