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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Power of the Gospel

I never used to be a morning person. Even in high school, my normal bedtime was around 1 or 2 AM. I just worked better at night, thought better at night and didn't really want to go to sleep. There are some people who like being asleep. My wife loves sleep and works very hard to get at least 8 hours every night. I'm the opposite. I love being awake. But I never used to like getting up early.

Things have changed and I am becoming a morning person. I don't know if it's just part of growing up or if it's a result of always needing to get up early for work or other things, but I have come to love the mornings. I've developed a routine. I'm kind of like a dog in that sense. Morning routines help me to have a balanced day. I wake up early and take our dog Duma on a walk and then5 I come home and make a bowl of cereal while Duma licks my toes under the table waiting for me to feed her. I typically try and read while I eat breakfast. Reading is something I deeply enjoy and need, but it takes discipline for me to do it, so making it a part of my routine helps. This morning I was able to go the gym after that. There are a lot of husbands that get married and then just let themselves go after. I really don't want to be that husband, my wife deserves the best of me.

The great thing about this routine is that, apart from the occasional barking from my dog, the sound of the Dallas winter wind and the constant background noise of traffic, my morning is quiet. There is something to be said about God speaking to you when it's quiet and only when it's quiet. My life is often times too loud to hear anything from God.

In the quiet this morning, I read this passage: "But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it." (Matthew 13:16-17)

As I went through the rest of this morning, I couldn't help but feel deeply convicted by this passage. I don't think I realize and remember what a privelege and blessing it is to live on our side of the gospel. I think about Jeremiah in shackles crying and lamenting the day God would save his people. I think of Simeon who refused to die until he held the Child sent to redeem him. I think of Moses wandering the wilderness longing for the fire or the manna or any sign that God's presence was near him. I think of those things and feel deeply ashamed at how I brush off and take for granted the presence of Christ in our souls and the saving power of His blood and resurrection.

The gospel in many respects has become a commodity in my life. It's a catch phrase that I tell myself when I'm down in the dumps, a bumper sticker I display on my car. I love my friend Paul's post about gospel tracts. It further denotes the commodifying of the gospel in our culture. After reading this morning Jesus tell his disciples what a blessing it was that they were living when they did and had what they had, saw what they saw, heard what they heard. I need God to convict me and remind me of the power of the gospel and the radical blessing we have in Christ's forgiveness.

The gospel is this: no matter how good or bad we are, despite God's overwhelming love for us, he can't accept us into his presence unless we're perfect. Which we are not. Some people may be better than others, but nobody is perfect. Except Christ. Instead of giving up completely on us and starting over, God decided we were worth saving, and did so by becoming a man, giving up the priveleges of being God, and suffering a sinner's execution on a cross, only to conquer that death and rise again to be our living Redeemer. Because of that, God poured all of His justice and wrath and anger on His Son, so that despite our imperfections and rebellion against God, we can believe in the saving power of His sacrifice and be saved from God's inevitable wrath for our own sins.

And now, despite my sin and imperfection, I can be saved...and that truly is powerful...and I can't believe I take it or granted.

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