The chaos and horrors of the world pile up to make us feel helpless and hopeless. It isn’t true. Every life has impact; every life matters. We must accept responsibility both for how we live and what we look at. The children’s song I used to sing with the children is on my heart this morning:
Proverbs says that in the path of the righteous there is no death. That doesn’t mean that any of us can always do righteously or that no one will die. It means that lives seeking God with passion and perseverance…lives seeking righteousness IN Christ emanate life.
Last evening we looked at these verses from Romans.
Romans 8:24-25New American Standard Bible (NASB)
24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
Many believe in Jesus…accept ‘fire insurance’ so to speak. We are willing to believe in the face of what they cannot control…but then set out to control everything else. We have a ‘confident assurance’ for eternity but doubt God’s ability to handle a car repair or a disability or …. you name whatever robs your peace.
We only believe what we live. Peace is possible in the midst of ALL things. I was compelled to write this this morning after reading of a recent martyrdom in the Middle East. The article is painful to read. It reminded me both of the reality of my faith for life…and the impact of lives focused on Jesus. I want to be found faithful. I want to live–and die–to the glory of God. It takes time, focus and intentional living. Let’s do it!
When the eight victims were forced to kneel for their beheadings, all eight prayed loudly.
“Villagers said some were praying in the name of Jesus, others said some were praying the Lord’s Prayer, and others said some of them lifted their heads to commend their spirits to Jesus,” the ministry director explained. “One of the women looked up and seemed to be almost smiling as she said, ‘Jesus!'”
Shortly after 9/11 there was an interview with an ISIS member who captured for me the essence of their heart. He said something like this:
“America, you will never win because you love life and we love death.”
He may be right…our country may not win, but we don’t have to lose. Christ is life; He already won by overcoming death. He offers us life.
In the face of yet another murderous attack, I share a piece from Fixing our Eyes on God. We need not be fearful or victimized.
Know Jesus. Know Peace. No Jesus. No Peace.
Our look at the Lord today is a well-known title: Jesus is Life. It (life) is a passion for God; He is the giver of Life. God loves Life and longs for every soul to know the abundance of true Life. Jesus came that we could know the fullness of eternal life. But Satan loves death and constantly seeks to blind all to true Life. He directs our attention to illusions of life that are only death in masquerade: fame, fortune and adventure. True Life is Jesus.
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, Scripture guides us to Life.
All Scripture points us to the fullness of Life—to Jesus. The writings of the disciple John repeatedly remind that Jesus is Life. John quotes Christ’s own words that ‘He is the way, the truth and the life.’ Jesus is the only way to God; He is the source of truth; and Jesus is Life itself. The gospel of John opens by beautifully laying out Christ’s eternality as the Word, the Life and the Light of the world. John’s gospel ties perfectly with the Psalmist who praised the light given by the Word. It knits with Paul’s explanation that the presence of Jesus reveals eternal life. The Word, Jesus, is light and life to all who receive it. The Greek dictionary defines the light that the life of Christ brings as a light unable to be kindled or quenched by another! Satan can deceive for a time, but he cannot produce a light that endures. The Word who is Life and Light will never pass away.
Fixing our eyes on the source of life is the only way to navigate this treacherous world safely—and to help others do likewise. No path on earth can resist the light produced by Christ’s life. As we allow His life to fill the darkest parts of our lives, the pathway we should take becomes clear. The shadows that fill the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ flee in the presence of eternal Life! The despairs that threaten our souls—loneliness, addictions, fear—dissipate when the truth of His life penetrate. Lives filled with His life illumine the paths of others as well.
In addition to the Light that accompanies the Life, scripture reminds us of other ways Christ is life to this world. Jesus is the ‘living bread’ and the ‘living water.’ His Life is sustenance and refreshment in this dry, weary land. As pilgrims, we are not to rely on any other source for life than Jesus Himself. When the Life of Christ fills us, that which is ‘dead’ becomes alive. In fact, Christ calls us to be ‘living stones’ in this world of death. Our lives are to evidence what Christ told Martha: “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live…” (John 11:25). Our lives are to overflow with the Life of Jesus so that He spills onto those who walk nearby us.