(These thoughts felt too personal to publish, but my husband said they would help some of you. So, dear readers, here they are, with a prayer that God may bless you through them.)
It was almost 8 PM. Miles and miles away, Bible study was beginning but this season, due to logistics and health issues, I cannot attend. One of my girls, knowing how sad I felt, had kindly turned on Handel’s Messiah. The music swirled around me, along with airy fluff from a cattail that had exploded.
And so, sitting beside the fire, I picked up the study guide my friends were using far away and experienced its amazing message as though for the first time:
God made the world. I rebelled against his loving rule, even this very afternoon. Even this very moment, in fact. I want to be in charge, to make things work my way. But from the Bible, history, and personal experience we all know how that invariably turns out. Besides the inevitable failure of my rebellious efforts, there is also God’s judgement to face.
Once again I’m confronted with the sacrifice Jesus made to save me from God’s fair punishment and my own willful ways. And, not only did Jesus die, but he was also raised, because he is the Messiah, the ruler, the judge. How blessed I am that my judge died for my sins and, instead of condemning me, gives me his goodness as though it were my own!
Yes, indeed, there are two ways to live. My own way that causes such pain and sadness and intense restlessness, and God’s pure way that brings goodness and hope and peace.
This was what our study was teaching us to present winsomely to non-Christian friends. Yet, though I have been a Christian for decades, I needed to face this gospel message personally last night, alone, with tears in my eyes and a repentant heart.
I experienced it again: The gospel is for me, too, because I, too, am a sinner. It is for me, too, because Jesus loves me and offers it to me.
And I get to share that!
And these two ways to live, God’s way and my way—well, because of God’s grace I most eagerly want to live God’s way, according to all of his commandments, because Jesus saved me from my sin, so I can begin to live God’s way again. Around and around that goes, in a heavenward spiral.
Yes, now I get to share that!
May God bless you as you, too, get to know him and his Word more deeply and as you learn to share the good news about Jesus. As Psalm 90 points out, our time here is short. Let us use it wisely to connect with God and with those around us. Perhaps we will even be able to show those we love the God who loves us.
The guide our Bible study group is using and that I confronted so intensely last night is Two Ways to Live: Know and Share the Gospel by Phillip D. Jensen and Tony Payne. I highly recommend it.
For more encouragement, visit Missional Weekend, Coffee for Your Heart, Raising Homemakers, Titus 2 Tuesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Mom to Mom Monday, Monday’s Musings, Missional Weekend, R&R Wednesdays, From House to Home, Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Make Your Home Sing Mondays.