I am continuing the subject of redemption, today, as God put something on my heart. If you didn’t catch the first blog please go back and read it because it lays the foundation. I ended the first part of the blog with this sentence… “Unlike Madi on that day, we can never redeem ourselves by what we do or don’t do. Unfortunately, doing a better cartwheel or being adorable just isn’t enough to redeem us.”
I feel like I need to amend that sentence a bit for our purposes today. It is absolutely correct, as I was speaking in terms of salvation in the previous blog. Jesus is the only way for us to be redeemed, as it relates to salvation. However, when it comes to our behavior, as we walk through this world, we are constantly in need of the redeeming work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Remember our second definition of redemption … The action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt.
I woke up thinking about this, today, because of something that happened to me this week (while I was out grabbing a sandwich before going back into the jungle, otherwise known as Christmas traffic and shopping madness). I usually do all my shopping and such much early to avoid this very situation. But this year has been an off year, and I am scrambling to shop, prepare, and conclude this portion of the Christmas season. I was totally and overwhelmingly frazzled with every fiber of my being and, unexpectedly, took it out on the kind people serving me. Everything was suddenly wrong … not the right bread, an over-baked cookie, the wrong type of soda!!!! You would have thought the world was ending and someone took my survival kit! I entered into crazy town!
I left and immediately felt convicted over my irrational behavior. I kept trying to justify it, but could think of nothing else. So, the next day, I couldn’t wait until the business opened so I could be the first one there to apologize and ask for their forgiveness. Honestly, they said they not even remember me or how curt I was … but I remembered. They kindly accepted my apology and wished me a Merry Christmas. It didn’t take away the shame in my heart, realizing I could suddenly act so un-Christlike, but I did all I could do, biblically, on my part to be redeemed before God and man. Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
I don’t know if you can identify with me but, after all these years of being a Christian, I never cease to amaze myself at the wickedness of my heart apart from the cleansing grace of God and His daily presence in my life. After an experience such as this, sometimes I am afraid to even allow myself out of the house for fear I will disgrace His name. (Maybe allowing the rush of the holiday season to disrupt my time alone with God had a direct affect on my uncharacteristic behavior. AHA! I think we’re on to something!)
My devotional today was entitled, Preparing for the Presence of God. “If we are to receive the powerful presence of God, we must prepare ourselves. Preparation must precede presence. God’s instruction for preparation is repentance! This involves a complete change of mind, heart, will, and behavior towards Him. If you are unprepared, you, too, will miss the opportunity to experience Jesus. You may practice religion but you will miss God. While others encounter the Lord personally in worship, your heart will remain unmoved. As others receive as fresh word from God, you will experience a painful silence. Religious activity can never substitute for a heart that is pure before Him. Purity comes only through repentance. Pray, as the Psalmist did, That God will examine your heart and reveal your need to repent of your sin. (Ps. 139:23-24).”
So, in conclusion, I didn’t hit my leg on the coffee table doing a cartwheel … if only!!! But I did behave in a way that was contrary to the character of Christ, and for that I am sorry. As a believer, representing my Lord and my local church, I am accountable for my life and my actions. God forgive me that I would ever be a stumbling block to others, leaving bobbing bodies in my wake. Praise God that we have an advocate in our Savior Jesus who goes before the Father on our behalf. If we are not able to humble ourselves before men I don’t know how we can possibly humble ourselves before a mighty God.
The only thing I care about in this life is Jesus and the souls of people. When getting the perfect sandwich is more important than people, God help me! Our little schedules, deadlines and self-imposed pressures can be a very dangerous thing. I’d rather sit by the Christmas tree without one single gift to give, and then load up family in the car to eat at Denny’s on Christmas Day, than to have everything tied up in an exquisite bow of perfect material goods and be without the presence and power of Jesus.
I am redeemed before God and man today, and for me, that is a perfect day at the office! If not one other thing gets done, I stand happy and holy walking in His Spirit. I pray God will bless you as you seek Him first … especially, in these crazy days before the birthday celebration of our King.