When God Moves

Sometimes the Lord moves in a whisper, a barely detectable draft with not even enough power to lift a few strands of hair. You lift your prayers to heaven and they seem to go unanswered, as you try to keep your eyes on the horizon, fanning your faith like a flame about to burn out. You flip the pages of your Bible, a mixture of obligation and desperation, surely those pages contain the answer, the answer to your burning question, “Where has God gone?” Your prayers continue only because of your innate awareness, programmed inside of you through years of knowing Christ, that an answer will come.praying

Despite your waning belief, prayer has become more instinctual than anything else, a means to survival, a piece of bread in a famine. Everything you’ve ever learned about the Lord tells you He must be listening, but your faith is struggling beneath a heavy mass of doubt and fear.

Your prayers have dwindled to a few a day, having malformed into more of a frantic plea than a hopeful petition. Pushing your anger and doubt away, despite all logic, you cling to the only life raft you’ve ever known – your faith—nearly forcing yourself to fall on your knees and beg the Lord to come more powerfully, to rescue you and pull you out of this storm.

Just when your delicate faith threatens to shatter if hit once more, the Lord finally moves. In a windstorm of hope and aha moments, His presence becomes not only obvious, but impossible to ignore. As this tornado whirls through your home, signs of the Lord’s goodness settle upon every surface of your life like dust. As the pieces fall together and His answers come in waves, crashing against your life while you drink up the hope you almost lost for good, your house and family seem to almost float upon His beautiful and constant plan, ebbing and flowing according to God’s design.

Having doubted His presence a short time ago, you are now entirely content with handing it to God, allowing Him to work, and hanging on tightly to the promise that His plan has been there all along, hiding just outside your line of sight.

wave-1939190_1280When things settle down, your household still giddy from the infusion of faith God provided, you have a chance to look back on the pain you endured, yet conquered. It does not take long to recognize God’s mighty hand upon each prayer you prayed and each tear you cried.

Resting once again in calm waters, you lift your eyes to the skies and thank Him for your suffering, for it was this suffering that allowed you to see God’s promise fulfilled – He will always show up, and He is always moving.

“I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” ~Hebrews 13:5

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A New Creation

I’m dead.

Yep, dead as a door nail.

Nail down the coffin, people.

I am entirely unresponsive to the world around me.

Dead.

Don’t plan my funereal yet though, that would just be weird.grave-2036220_1280

Allow me to explain…

In 2 Corinthians 5:17, the Bible says that in Christ, we are a new creation. In fact, Paul explains it further by saying that old things have passed away and all things have become new. Notice that Paul does not say some things have become new, or you have become new, or the world has become new. No. Paul says all things have become new for those who live in Christ Jesus.

I have always had a rather ambivalent relationship with Paul’s words. There is nothing more encouraging or edifying to know that Christ frees us in such a way that we become a brand new creation.

Just as many times as this verse has encouraged me, it has confounded and alarmed me. I am not certain when I became a Christian; I pretty much just always loved Jesus. I could tell you when my faith became my own, instead of my parents’, but I did not have a defining moment where the Lord saved me. I often wonder if Paul’s words would have a more potent impact upon me if I hadn’t always been a Christian—if I had a “me before Jesus” with which to compare myself.

I know I have grown more in love with Christ as I have entered adulthood, and I know my faith has matured in immeasurable ways; however, I don’t know that I see myself as a new creation. I am still pretty much who I have always been. I continue to struggle with the same sins I was struggling with as a young girl; they may look different now, but they are the same. I can be unimaginably prideful, and impeccably self-absorbed; I tend to envy one’s success long before I rejoice in it; I seek my own glory before I seek my Father’s, and I am impatient beyond logic.

How is this kind of mess a new creation?

Romans 6:4 says, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”grave-2115941_1280

Read that verse again. I mean, really read it.

Paul says we were buried with Him…Whoa. I don’t recall being held up in a tomb for three days with the Son of God. I guarantee I would not have been as chill about it as Jesus was.

Colossians 2:11 also describes Christians as being buried with Jesus through baptism, but it goes further to say not only was Christ raised from the dead, but so were we.

Colossians 3 reminds us again that we have died and our life is hidden with Christ in God.

This begs the question that if we are dead, how then should we live on this earth?

It’s hard to be dead and alive at the same time, even for the most gifted of people.

woman-591576_1280Colossians 3 says more, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

Christ is life. Christ is life. Christ is life.

There are countless verses that address being dead to the world and alive in Christ. Galatians 3:26-27 says, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

Colossians touches on this same concept in chapter 2 by saying a Christian puts off the body of the things of the flesh…

If my faith in Christ allows me to drape Him over my shoulders like a blanket and traipse around like a beacon for Jesus, then I must simultaneously clothe myself in newness of life—my new man—killing my old self.  

In fact, Ephesians 4 says this of a Christian: putting off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Despite all this evidence, the problem many Christians have with this idea is that our old self seems to still live, lurking in the shadows of our hearts, revealing himself or herself countless times throughout the course of one day—this old self is our sin, and it has the power to eat us alive if we don’t let Christ fight it.

Our old self fears sin, fears the world, fears failure—fears everything. Putting on Christ each day and making Him our life does not mean sin no longer exists within us: it means that sin no longer controls us; it becomes so powerless, in fact, that it is dead. Christ has given us a weapon with which to fight this sin, and the ultimate gift when we lose that fight – forgiveness.

For many of us, choosing to truly believe this is half the battle.

Jesus was buried with our sin, our muck, our nastiness, our filth. It is no longer ours, but His. Being a new creation does not mean that I no longer sin. When the world looks at me, it sees little change between who I am and who I once was. However, it is what God sees when He looks at me that truly makes the difference.  20170309_142125

He sees His pristine and perfect child, dead to the world, yet alive and well in Christ. He sees a woman who has her mind set on things above.

My master is no longer sin; my master is God.

This is freedom.