Tag Archives: salvation

Alan from behind looking into the distance

Finding Myself Again

(A two minute read)

I have people in my life who will say that I ‘found Jesus.’ Others will say that I ‘came to faith.’ They misunderstand. The opposite is true. God came to me. I wasn’t looking for Him. But He was looking for me. Endlessly. And when my time came, I couldn’t ignore Him.

He approached me first, then I found Him. Then I came to find faith in Him. Only then could I hear Him say ‘Follow Me’. Only then could I follow Him.

In that faith that I found, I now know that there are great things in store for me. I’m God’s masterpiece, ‘created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that (I) should walk in them.’ *

Here’s the deal: I was His masterpiece before I followed Him in faith. I was His masterpiece when I was still His enemy and hated Him. I was His masterpiece when I was broken. That’s why He came after me, because I was broken and had thrown myself in the trash. I was like Forky in Toy Story 4. Because I lived in the trash, I thought I was trash.

God disagreed, and tracked me down. What artist paints a masterpiece and throws it in the trash? Or, in my case, if the masterwork is thrown in the trash, doesn’t the artist go to retrieve it? To redeem it?

It’s by God’s grace that I was pulled from the scrap heap, saved from my own destruction. Now, I may finally ‘walk out those good works that God prepared beforehand.’

I do this successfully only through complete surrender. Surrender is difficult sometimes, but it renders the Christian life very simple. The simple answer to every question is to turn to Jesus, who tracks me down no matter how far I wander. And when He reaches me again, He says ‘Follow Me’. And I do, because He’s the one worth following, and I find myself again.

* Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

Photo by Rachel Richards

an arrow attached to a tree

Things to Think About

(A two minute read or a lifetime of pondering)

Life is full of a questions and ideas. Some of them pass like the wind. Some fall to earth and become objects of curiosity for a time. A few of them grow into something I can write about.

Some parts of this short collection could appear later in more complete form. Or, they may pass like the wind. I can’t see from here.

They are offered for you to think about, write about, dream about or forget about. Freely they were given, so freely I give them away.

  • Jesus is the new tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We eat of Him and it undoes that other one.
  • Look at all the things the tree provides: Seed, fruit, sugar, shade, protection, beauty, heat. What else?
  • The world: Based on a true story.
  • “What if?” That is simultaneously the most wondrous and the most dangerous question in the world.
  • We are, all of us, works in progress, but only if we keep our minds open to weigh all things carefully. Otherwise we are standing stones, casting a shadow, providing no light.
  • Resentments are nothing more than bones chewed beyond nutrition or taste. Long after the taste is gone, the hater gnaws compulsively, not considering the worthlessness of his action.
  • It’s easy to remember God loves me. It’s harder to remember that He died a brutal death to express it. Harder still is to accept that He did this because of his hatred for all the evil and sin in my life.
tool set

The Fixer

In a recent post I asked the question, ‘How does it feel to know you are part of God’s plan to save the world?’

This could be meaningless for you, I suppose, if you haven’t yet responded to Christ. Or if you have, but don’t believe that He’s active in the world. Or, it could be taken as a jest.

But what does ‘saving the world’ mean, exactly? It sure seems to mean a lot of different things, depending on whom you ask. Some people think they are saving the world by not eating meat. Others by fighting human trafficking. Still others take up arms. Some are pacifists. What they all have in common is that they are willing to fight for what they believe in. Most of us have a hill we will die on, as the saying goes.

The ones who fight for things we believe in become our heroes: Martin Luther King on one hand, or Malcolm X on the other; the RAF in 1940; today’s culture warriors, either left or right; maybe a soul-winner like Aimee Semple McPherson or Reinhardt Bonnke; perhaps a fictional world-beater like Lara Croft or Frodo Baggins or Hari Seldon.

You undoubtedly have a list of your own.

But when we say ‘saving the world’, it doesn’t actually mean ‘saving the world.’ It means ‘fixing a problem’, a completely different matter. Even the most influential world beaters are limited to one time and one place. The world is changed in a limited way for a time, and then quickly reverts to what it was before: broken and in need of saving again. And again. And again.

When the world is broken it needs saving, not fixing. And that leads to the most important name missing from the list above: Jesus Christ. He is the one and only exception.

Maybe you think that Jesus’ life, death and supposed resurrection didn’t fix anything. The poor and weak are still exploited by the rich and powerful just as they were before Jesus’ time. Natural and economic resources still remain under threat. They are still a source of contention among nations and within societies.

Human beings, individually and collectively, are forever in trouble. This is because we tend to break things. We also love to try fixing things. Yet, no matter how hard we work at it, any victory in the face of trouble is limited and temporary. Does that mean we shouldn’t try? Of course not. But when we limit ourselves to fix ourselves by ourselves we get nowhere.

It’s not about fixing something, or solving a problem. It’s about salvation. Any fixing we do is temporary. But salvation is eternal. That leads me to the belief that the world isn’t broken. It’s desperately lost.

Before I had a relationship with Jesus Christ, I was in Fix-it Mode. I was Mr. Fixit McFixface. I’d dive right in and strive for that best outcome. And, I would usually fail miserably.

So, if the world is lost, not broken, it can be saved. It can be remade. We are needy and desperate beings. As philosopher Karl Barth understatedly put it, we are ‘in distress’, and God is eager to ‘grant…assistance.’ 1

So, for my part, I’ll dig into His handbook and when there’s an instruction I don’t understand, I’ll raise my hand and ask a question.

Meanwhile, I can happily stop trying to fix my friends and family. They aren’t broken. They aren’t projects. They are just needy people like me, who need a little love. And when I love them – I’m doing my part to save the world.

1. Quoted by Eugene Peterson in A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, (Downers Grove IL: InterVarsity Press, 1980)

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