Set Apart by Grace
The Christian life is unlike any other way of living. Once we accept our need for the Savior, Christ Jesus, and for the redemption He offers, the Spirit of the Living God comes to dwell in each of us. This is not a minor event. This is completely life altering! Though we may look the same on the outside, our interior world begins to shift dramatically as we are lead no longer by our own desires but by His. All of this is reflected in our attitude throughout the remainder of our days. We have a new sense that our choices, our words, our decisions, our companions, our thoughts, the use of our time … all of it is more important than we ever realized. In a sense, our whole perspective on time changes, and we realize that every action has eternal consequences.
This is to say that all of life begins to look different to us from the foundation up. No longer is there a need to entertain the question, “What is the meaning of life?” or “Why am I here?”. It has all been answered, if not in detail, certainly we know that there is more purpose and meaning to our lives than we can begin to imagine. This puts everything we ever thought about ourselves and what we have, what we do, who we are, in a new light. This cannot happen without a tremendous shake up of our lives. We cannot help but look back on the “stuff of life” and re-evaluate our entire value system. Our lives have moved from this date and time into eternity. Though we are still in the world, we are no longer of it. We have become residents of eternity and citizens of the Kingdom of God.
We are a people set apart. Set apart by His grace, for His purposes. All around us we may witness those who act in order to preserve their power, influence, position, and other forms of worldliness. We must not be swayed by their actions or their influence, whether we meet such individuals inside or outside the walls of the church. Our highest calling is to remain true to the leading of the Spirit of God within us. This is our compass. This is our guide. This is the Voice which will not be ignored, no matter what conflicting messages we hear from the voices around us. We are His people, called by His name, set apart by His grace, for His eternal purposes. May we daily live in submission to His Lordship in our lives. Amen.
English: the forests in new hampshire in autumn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As I look outside my window I am struck by something. It is autumn. The leaves are falling. And yet- no one seems to be terrified! How can this be? Do we not understand that these leaves produce the very air we breathe? They absorb the deadly CO2 that keeps global warming experts awake at night and converts it into life giving oxygen. And yet- here they are – falling, falling, falling. Colorful and lovely to behold, but nonetheless, dead upon the ground. The ground has become a graveyard of death and decomposition as far as the eye can see. Surely an ominous sign. Can we be far behind?
Yet as I search the cable news networks, the newspaper, and the Internet for any mention of this impending calamity, to my amazement, I find nothing. Nothing but travel reports singing the praises of fall foliage. Recommendations of how and when and where to see the best and the brightest before it all slips away. In fact, it seems that many are willing to travel back roads and byways in order to make the most of the death spectacle all around us. Some will even board planes and fly to places like New Hampshire and Vermont just to witness the destruction. How can this be? What is behind this puzzling attraction to death, dying, decay, and destruction? Especially in a culture known for its singular dedication to youth, beauty, and an obsession with endless life saving measures designed to beat back the Grim Reaper?
It would seem that at some level we all understand the cycle of life and death – at least as it pertains to nature. Everyone knows that death must occur in order to give way to life. Autumn, and the ensuing winter, are essential to the glorious new life of spring and it is the certainty of spring which allows for the beauty of seeing the leaves fall and die. At some level we know that the trees really aren’t dead. They merely have the appearance of death….
As it is in nature, so it is with those of us who are in Christ Jesus. To every single person will come a day of death and destruction of the physical body. This physical death is a necessary act for the renewing of our soul in the next kingdom. It is in the Kingdom of Heaven that we will find glorious spring and rebirth. In the same sense that the trees feel no sense of loss as their leaves are stripped away leaving them bare and exposed, we as Christians should feel no terror at the inevitable loss of our physical bodies, because we know that by faith we have been granted access to glorious, rapturous spring for all eternity. Amen.