Thursday, January 8, 2015
renewed from abuse
It is easier to think of ourselves as a victim though, isn't it? It's easier to think that we are more in "the right" because we have been deeply hurt and broken by someones actions or some horrible circumstance. But as difficult as this is to hear, all mankind... all people... both you and I abuse. We abuse our time, our health, our money, our relationships... and worst of all, we abuse Almighty God. We mistreat and misuse His Word and justify our selfishness every step of the way regardless of the consequences. The truth is, by human nature, we all hate God. We hate anyone or anything who can ultimately lord over us. It doesn't matter to us that God is good. It doesn't matter that He made us to function properly under His glorious rule. No, our sinfulness defies His holiness and authority. So to God, we have all abused His Law and are as guilty as any murderer, rapist, or bully that preys heartlessly on society.
Is it hard for you to think of yourself this way? I know it is hard for me! I hate the thought of being labeled as such a terrible, evil person. I don't want to be an abuser! I hate abuse!!! What a sickening thought to be measured equally in my sin to a serial killer or a wife beater. Ugh. But it is true. We all have abused. We all need Jesus to save us from our sin.
Yesterday I was reading a little bit about Jesus as he was being put on trial before the cross. Throughout His infamous court case before Pontius Pilate, I found it interesting that Christ never made ANY effort to defend Himself. He never stood up to His abusive accusers. Wow! Can you image being put in a life or death trial and NOT defending yourself!? I can't. But here is why Jesus didn't... Surely had He decided to defend Himself, He would most definitely have won. For let's face it, Jesus NEVER lost an argument. He was and is ALWAYS right. During His ministry on earth, He baffled and silenced every challenge brought before Him with unmatched eternal wisdom. Why? Because He is God! So, why not speak up and win His own trial before the cross? Why not save Himself? Surely He was capable of proving that He was in the right and being victimized by those threatening Him. Surely He was justified to live.
Here is the answer: Jesus didn't go to the cross to save Himself. He went willingly and without argument, in fact, to save you and me!!! Whoa! In His infinite love, He took on all the abuse and sin of mankind and stood there silent. He allowed the bullying, the victimization, the defamation, the sin... all for our sake. All so that He would ultimately be murdered and overcome death (and this is the most important part to note...) SO THAT WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO LIVE NEW IN HIM! Jesus didn't fight his abuser's advances because He wanted to provide us a new WAY out of our chosen sin and corruption.
Jesus remained quiet because Jesus LOVES.
Today, I think many Christians are mistakenly focusing all attention on remaining victims. This mindset keeps us outside of God's intimacy - at arms length rather than welcoming His Spirit in as frequently as possible. Might I remind those who have claimed Jesus as their Savior who are still caught in this sinful rut... there is a better way, but you have to embrace and live it! As Christians, we have been given the Holy Spirit and God's Word to center our whole life around (and I mean EVERYTHING). We have available to us Christ's inarguable, life-changing LOVE as the most perfect guide in all matters! So why not tap in? Why not know God's law inside and out. Why not sacrificially live every second seeking and glorifying Him - the way we were originally made to function? Isn't it time to leave our paralyzing sin in the past? We are redeemed, are we not? Isn't it time to start looking solely at the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the temperament of Christ in His Word to measure our new life against? Shouldn't we be doing this every moment of every day, in fact? Are we not NEW? And if so, are we living kind? Are we gentle? Are we patient? Are we trustworthy and respectful? Are we giving? Are we encouraging? Are we honest? Are we humble? Or are we still defending abusive tendencies in our lives - standing on our judgmental Christianized soapboxes pointing fingers at one another and living hateful, mean, thoughtless, lazy lives outside of God's love? If so, perhaps it is time to remain quiet and begin looking only at Christ.
Jesus remained quiet because Jesus LOVES.
So many of us are still justifying all our focus onto past victimization and thus horribly abusing ourselves along with other people, places, things. But trust me, that mindset keeps God's church ineffective and old. Instead, let's choose today to renew our minds fully in Christ! Let's choose to spiritually unlearn what we have humanly learned and been exposed to. Man's way is selfish. But God's Way is LOVE! So, let's choose to start caring selflessly, sacrificially! For there is no other Way out of our abuse except through Jesus' forgiving, perfect, incomprehensible, unchanging LOVE! Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your eternal sacrifice.
"A mistreatment or misuse of virtually anything." YUCK!!!
BUT... the greatest of these is LOVE! And love never mistreats or misuses! Love is always good. Love is helpful, hopeful, healthy. Love is Jesus, folks. To live NEW is Christ... to live new is not abuse, but rather LOVE! It starts here... daily... sacrificially... with your life... in His Holy, Loving Name.
I encourage you today to measure your actions, words, motives, money, possessions, time (and anything else) against the eternal Word of the One and Only who requires no defense.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (John 13:34)
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