Normally, when I'm preparing Sunday's message, I feel energetic as I dig into a passage of scripture and find new meaning and perspective. However, this week I just felt exhausted. I felt exhausted because the scripture I dug into contained thoughts and actions that I knew I needed to apply to my life. After service tonight I felt even more exhausted...in a good way. The Holy Spirit showed up and delivered a message that I was amazed at. It was truly a blessed evening.
During lent we focus on self-discipline, reflection, and repentance, and tonight was no different. We studied Romans 8.31-34, which says, "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us."
There's so much meat in this passage (really in all of Romans). Reflect on the fact that God gave us the ultimate gift - freedom. When Christ died on the cross for us, He lifted the burden of sin from my shoulders and placed it upon Himself. This took away all power and authority from Satan over my life. No more could the accuser stand before the Judge and say my name! I am justified in Christ!
This passage reminds me of the account of Abraham in Genesis 22, when he is willing to sacrifice his son and God stays his hand. However, God did sacrifice His own Son. God knew that Abraham valued God above all else. He was free to pour out blessings and promises upon Abraham because He knew that Abraham wouldn't be distracted by it. If you feel that you could use some blessing in your life (and I figure most of us feel that way), consider, would you be distracted by the blessing? Are you truly free from all else but captivated by God?
Think about your own life. Do you value God above all else? Is everything in your life nothing in comparison to God? Try saying it out loud. "God, everything in my life - my house, children, spouse, job, even my future - is nothing in comparison with you." I said that out loud for probably the first time in my life this week. And I felt ashamed and free at the same time. Ashamed because I realised that I haven't been living my life in that way. Free because I finally did say it out loud and realised that I truly wanted to mean it. So say it out loud. Go ahead. I dare you.