I read a great article this past week addressing the question of heaven and who’s going there. The answer was surprising:
“Those who can stand it.”
Those who can stand what the love of God really means and what grace really looks like, who then receive, redistribute and strive to live in it. It gave me a lot to think about. Can I stand it? Surely not on my own.
Because real love and real grace are messy; there’s nothing tidy about them at all.
I used to believe I could come reasonably close to grasping how deep and wide is the love of Christ but the longer I live, the more I see how each and every time I think I’m getting close, I flat out miss it.
I need real love. I need real grace. In order to give it,
I need to receive it in all it’s messy glory.
I miss it with my family, my neighbor, the person in the pew and the girl in the mirror… I just fall short. Of course, God’s word tells me why. Even now, in my state of consciously developing salvation, I’m still a sinner. A sinner struggling down the path in the company of other sinners.
it’s not easy to stand firm and stand strong when it seems the winds of culture are blowing in at hurricane force packing the punch of an F-5 tornado. Sometimes it’s no easier when everything seems to be going my way and I get stuck in the molasses swamp of complacency and self-satisfaction.
But make no mistake:
struggling is not a sin.
Giving in, giving up or giving away– THAT is the problem and it’s why we’re in the mess we’re in today. The battle raging all around is not a new one. God’s word assures me there’s nothing new under the sun so even as I click open my browser to scan the headlines and status updates, it’s just the same story repeated in diverse fashion: Good v. Evil.
While the battle is the same, the battlefield over the years has slowly, but intentionally, crept into areas and ideas we may have once thought were sacred and untouchable. Not anymore.
This is the ultimate battle for allegiance
staged on the age old ground of definitions.
It began in the garden of Eden. Remember? God created and gave form and substance to everything we know and see. He defined it all at creation….as small, as big, as deep and as shallow as you can get. God created and defined all emotions and relationships. God defined and then set the boundaries.
Enter Satan and with one question he plants the seed of doubt:
“Did God really say?”
A single hint of suspicion sets the stage for confusion, resulting in a rebellion that’s had us scrambling ever since. SIN. Have you seen it in children? Rules and boundaries are set. Almost IMMEDIATELY, They want to see how far they can go, if rule “x” applies to circumstance “Y” and… WHY? Testing. Defining.
I don’t have to look as far away as my children to see evidences of this behavior in my own life – times when I pushed boundaries and definitions simply to get my way or attempt to justify a choice I selfishly wished to make or a lifestyle I wanted to have.
That’s just sinful nature
and no legislative act can change this fact.
Courts are attempting to redefine what’s already been defined for us so society can do what it wants to do. As if the man-made can nullify the God-breathed. This is sinful rebellion.
Arguments are encased and encrusted with imitation knock-offs of the family jewels, “Love and Justice”, while forgetting these two precious realities are also, only defined by God. Defined in ways far more glorious and valuable than the cheap and tawdry definitions trying to take their place. We forget that the God IS the very definition of love anchored in the bedrock of justice. Not mushy, gushy Hallmark sentimentalities. God’s love is self-denying and substitutionary; an unwavering sacrifice yoked with an unwavering justice. HOLY.
I fully believe we must stand and give an answer when challenged but must not get bogged down there. To do so is to be drawn off course or distracted by the smokescreen of a defeated enemy standing on the sidelines enjoying the show while he can. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
One of Jesus’ hardest teachings is found in Luke 9:60:” “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Our call is to “Go ye therefore”
and live the answer out loud!
God has already defined for all time, our job is to represent here and now…for such a time as this and to live fully INTO the definitions we’ve been given.
To love rightly and well, to love hard and sacrificially.
To be Life-giving, Life-supporting and Life-affirming.
To BE Truth and Love; not simply speak it.
No doubt the stakes are high and the fire is getting hotter. Jesus said these would be some of the signs of the times. But don’t get blown off course. Be moved and be motivated, firmly anchored and remembering:
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice,
and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
Yes they will know we are Christians by our Love.