Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Almost There?

I plunked down into the largest, most comfortable chair in our family room, looked around me and groaned. "Will we ever be ready?" I asked my husband. He chuckled. "Almost there," he said, "Almost there." I didn't like that word 'almost,' but I recognized he was right. Even though the house looked like a hurricane had struck, with tools and cans of paint scattered everywhere, boxes half full and bags brimming to the top, I did concede that we were getting closer to our goal. The house is almost ready to show to a realtor.

It's been two months or more of constant work, laying new rug, washing and painting walls, replacing doors, fixing and adding trim, sorting through closets and drawers and making umpteen trips to local shops in search of boxes. And I concede it has all been worth the effort. Our home is looking so good I'd like to stay and live in it for a while longer! But that is not to be. It's time to move on.

Our spiritual life can often seem like this same process. Sometimes we look at what seems like the chaos of our lives and we think, will we ever be ready to meet the Lord? We put in a lot of work and effort, doing what we think is expected of us as Christians. Sometimes we can see good results and are encouraged, but often it seems like we take two steps forward and three back. So we try harder and over time we can see that we are making progress. We might even start to think we're almost there.

But we're wrong. Working hard at the spiritual disciplines is a good thing, but if we believe that's what is going to get us 'there,' we've slipped into a mentality that denies the power of the gospel and the power of what Christ did for us on the cross. You see there is nothing we can do to get there - nothing we can do to make God love us more - nothing we can do to make us worthy of entering into the presence of Jesus and His Father. Nothing.

Jesus has done it for us, by sacrificing his life, shedding his blood and taking on our sin so that we are able to stand justified before God Almighty. The astonishing mystery of that act is the pivot of history, the pivot of our very lives. The moment we recognize that Jesus died for us, we are free from having to work to 'get there.' We have already arrived.

All that we do from that moment on should not be from a sense of duty or need to do more to please God. It is rather an outpouring of our love for Him and the outpouring of His love through us. Perhaps the most profound and most effective phrase in scripture tells us this - "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10) That is the moment of arrival.

Is it time you moved on?

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