It’s been less frequent that I’ve posted here to my blog, and part of that has been to be true to God’s call on the believer’s life to be connected first and foremost in “the real world” so-to-speak, to be genuinely engaged where God has placed us in-person. Life has been full and I’ve been humbled in various ways by my need for God to overhaul how I view people, finances, spiritual disciplines, and friendships.
“One day at a time” is a constant response I’ll give for myself or for anyone who can’t answer the daily question we like to ask each other of, “How are you holding up today?” Today I am refreshed by yet another reminder of God’s awesome nearness to me as one of His children, one of Christ’s humble followers. I soaked in Romans chapter five and rolled around in my head and heart the beauty of Paul’s statements about being made right with God in Christ as the bedrock of all the rest of the grace that God gives us…
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”
“… since we have been justified (made right) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Peace… Isn’t that the ground on which we stand for any true sense of closeness to anyone? Can you even begin to imagine how awesome it is that we have FRIENDSHIP, NEARNESS, PEACE available to us when it comes to having a relationship with the God of Heaven, the God Who created us all, the God Who made Himself nothing, taking on our sinful human form that He might die to make us eternal heirs of Heaven’s kingdom, eternal children of the living God, united with Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace Himself, that we might enter the eternal romance so-to-speak of the Triune God’s perfect fellowship! We think of romance today as the confusing romance novel of ever evasive hopes for love that never seems to satisfy. What about the kind of romance we see in Romans chapter five?! As I read through this, it all seems too good to be true! That’s what this world defines as romance (see the google search results below).
a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love. “in search of romance”
a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.
Biblically, according to Romans chapter five, this peace given to us through a simple and pure faith in Jesus’ death for us is the launching point for so much awe and wonder and unimaginable nearness of relationship to the eternal God of love, holiness, and glory!
Our eternal friendship with God and hostility toward the temptations and sins we encounter in the remainder of our early lives, these become our daily conversation in the mind and heart. The more we foster this awesome relationship with the living God through he means shared with us in Romans chapter five, the more our attraction to God, wonder in His presence, and joyous obedience to His requirements of us develops. The more we celebrate this relationship, the more God gives us hope for victory over temptation and sin. Friendship with the world, with sin, and with the temptations screaming for our attention, is obviously friendship with God’s enemies! Why would we cultivate these friendships when they simply do not satisfy? Even our friendship with God in this life is imperfect (on our end). We drop the line, we could say, on our conversation with God consistently. Our receptivity to His favor on our lives is so weak and unimpressive.
God, however, the One Who gets all the glory for our this divine friendship goes through the years of this life and endless eternity of our FOREVER FRIENDSHIP WITH HIM… This God makes no mistakes, dear friends. We can rest in Him and trust His investments into our eternal relatings with Him.
Two brief encouragements:
1) Soak in the book of Romans in the New Testament for a reminder of God’s initiating grace in this divine friendship with God and hostility toward all that is evil and anti-God.
2) Remember God’s use of friendship with God’s other children.
This second point is how I’ll close out this post. We must remember God’s kindness in giving other followers of Jesus to us as siblings (whether we enjoy them at all times or not) and for Him giving us to our other siblings (whether they enjoy us at all times or not).
It is very easy to neglect other believers and not realize why we are doing it. Neglect of the healthy practice of biblical friendship I’m convinced is one of the leading ways Satan and his goons (all being powerful fallen angels, I’ll remind us) love to get some influence on believers, influencing us to not only doubt God (our daily chief root sin) but to act on that doubt and discolor non-believers’ and believers’ view of the Gospel of Christ. Satan revels in our ignorance of one another and one another’s concerns.
May we as believers look out for each other. We are eternal family members after-all. As we look out for each other and lift each other up in prayer and genuine acts of love and friendship, may we together, as a united front, share the Gospel of Christ with our lives in every way possible, drawing the lost to be found in the awesome Person and Work of God in Jesus Christ, that they might know of the true WONDER OF CHRIST’S DEATH FOR US ON THE CROSS!
This death brings life and changes everything from being an eternal death to being an ETERNAL LIFE! This life is dirty and full of the fall of humanity showing up all over believers and unbelievers, and yet God, in His favor, gives both believers and unbelievers opportunities to obey God in this life. It’s pretty amazing when you see genuine obedience ENJOYED, especially when it’s not to earn salvation but rather in gratitude to God for Him giving us any form of any life at all. I have good friends who are not professing faith in Christ who remind me routinely that gratitude to God is hugely important in this life. My one longing hope for these dear friends is that they would consider the hope that every humbled follower of Jesus has for ETERNAL LIFE!
May we go and cultivate genuine and lasting friendships, honest and gratitude-filled friendships in this life. Through these friendships with believers and unbelievers, God intends to introduce the love of God in Jesus to His children and soon-to-be children.
God is not nervous about how we will handle today, friends. May we lay out our full weight upon His grace. May we stand in this GRACE, and take one step at a time in joyful obedience to His simple calling on our lives to introduce each other and the lost daily to the unearned FAVOR OF GOD because of the death of Christ for us all, all who simply TRUST CHRIST!
Much love in the Lord,
P.S. The photo used for this post was taken while my son and I were fishing on Lake Yosemite here in the relatively little town of Merced (I like to call her “Mercy”) in Central California. God’s favor is all over this little town called Mercy. The sky keeps my eyes lifted to Heaven in prayer for my new town of primary calling. I pray for God’s favor most importantly in the area of the Gospel of Christ being known and humbly responded to, but I also pray for the protection of the poor, weak, broken, lonely, despised, forgotten… And, I seek to find ways to touch their lives myself along with my neighbors. God sees their plight and doesn’t forget them, so why would we? After all, morally, we are all in a far worse plight than we realize apart from God’s grace given to us in the death of Jesus for us all who believe, right?!