Thursday, March 6, 2014

3/6/2014 by Andy Wilson

Think for a moment about what it means to be God’s child. Following the language of the Bible and Christian tradition, we can talk about our identity in two ways.
The inward, hidden reality of our life is that we’ve been reconciled to the Father through the Son. God has adopted us as his beloved children and given us his Spirit as a gift.
The outward, tangible reality of our life is that we’re trying hard to follow Jesus. We don’t always succeed. In fact, we often fail miserably as the Lord presents us with difficult or frightening challenges. But we know the Lord’s plan for us and for the world is good. We know that, as we follow him, we grow to resemble him, and he uses us to build his kingdom. So we make it our goal to follow Jesus no matter where he leads us. We don’t allow ourselves to become discouraged when we fail.
During Lent we make a conscious effort to plug into both realities. We turn inward and meditate on the unmerited grace we’ve received from God in Christ. We seek intimacy with Jesus, and allow his living water to well up inside us.
We also examine the outward displays of our discipleship. We work hard to be obedient and to imitate Christ in our daily actions.  Throughout the journey, we ask: “Is there tangible evidence in my life that Jesus is my Lord, and that I’m following him even when it’s hard?”
We need both perspectives – the inward and the outward. Religion that doesn’t give rise to a change in our behavior is worthless. As James says: “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17). At the same time, all our efforts to do good will come to nothing if we choose to live outside of God’s grace.
If we’re truly intimate with God and filled with his Spirit, we’ll naturally desire to follow Jesus and bring him glory. And, as Jesus reminds us, the yoke we bear as we walk with him will become light and easy (Matthew 11:28-30).
May we discover Christ’s joy and peace as we travel the downward way of the cross.

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