Team of Misfits

“When people mock the God of the Bible, this is the God they are mocking: the one who aligns Himself with the last and the weakest; the one who promises to set things right in the end; the one who says the last will be first.

“This is His team. His starting lineup consists of the poor and the outcast and the orphan and the alien and the widow. I may be none of those things, but if God identifies with them, I want to identify with them.

“This is my team… He has a team… make no mistake; it’s a promise: They’re going to win.” – Brant Hansen, Blessed Are the Misfits.

Live knowing how the story ends. Laugh more. Be silly. Bring joy. In Christ, you win, because he won.

So Were We

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:3–7 ESV)

Go ahead and read that again. Let it sink in today. You were, you add the descriptors, and Jesus saved you. Not because of anything you had done or might one day do, but according to his mercy. He renews you by the Spirit, he changes your heart and flooded in his grace we are made heirs with him and we have eternal hope. It is a done deal; we are secure in Jesus no matter where you are from.

Now this is more that just something to rally you today. This is something that is meant to utterly demolish and regenerate our lives and worlds. Everything follows after this truth and we live in the midst of the goodness and loving kindness of God. Let is soak through your life, let it change the way you think, let it rid you of envy, be free from the slavery of sin and anger that can define your relationships.

Seek Jesus to make this real in you and through you today. Be humbled by his grace and care for you and ask him, by the Spirit to enthuse your day with the hope of eternal life that we have in him. Our hope is worthwhile not because we have it, but because what it is in, Jesus.

Run free today.

Joy in Obedience

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3

If only I could live as the Lord commanded, perfectly. Life would be so much better! But as I hear them and read them, they seem a journey too far for my brokenness. But John tells us they are not burdensome. Perhaps when I see a burden, I have misplaced love.

Think of Jacob and his example of working and waiting for Rachel. The work was tiring, sun cooked labor. But to Jacob the seven years of hard labor were but as days because he had so much love for Rachel.

Then the older brother in the story of the prodigal son. He reminds the father of how he has served him for these many years. The service seemed hard when he was not receiving what he wanted, there was no love.

Jesus chose to be as Jacob. “The One who crested the sun languished under its scorching beams and struggled to keep warm when the cold penetrated his cloak at night. The One who multiplied loaves was hungry; he who sustained the universe by his word was tired. He perfectly completed the years of work his Father had given him to do, and his reward was given to others who joined in at the last moment. His inheritance was bestowed upon those who gleefully deserted him and spent their days in riotous living. The payment he earned was granted to proud self-righteous ones who disdained him. But he called it all his delight because he loved.”

“Is obedience a burden or delight? Is loving your neighbor, whoever that may be, a source of joy or a grinding drudgery? As you consider the answer to these questions, please resist the temptation to be mired down in you failure to love. Instead, turn your heart toward him and thank him for the love he has for you.”

Lenten devotion from Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Day 13.