I woke up feeling the ugliness. It slipped out my eyelids as I was doing laundry and felt like a freight train as I read my Advent devotional.
It was unnerving yesterday to see people jumping on platforms to make the tragedy in Sandy Hook political. This is a time for weeping and just that. Grief serves as a great reminder that the world is not broken because of systems or structures but because of people. The world is broken because people are not inherently good.
We are broken. We are wayward. We are disasters making disasters.
And so, this morning, when I read these words I remembered why it is important that we understand God’s law. When we look at His commands – at the weight and glory and perfection of them – we know what a mended world would look like.
Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant [this is the purchase of the new covenant], even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21
The words “working in us that which is pleasing in his sight” describe what happens when God writes the law on our hearts in the new covenant. And the words “through Jesus Christ” describe Jesus as the Mediator of this glorious work of sovereign grace.
So the meaning of Christmas is not only that God replaces shadows with Reality, but also that he takes the reality and makes it real to his people. He writes it on our hearts. He does not lay his Christmas gift of salvation and transformation down for you to pick up in your own strength. He picks it up and puts in your heart and in your mind, and seals to you that you are a child of God. (Good News of Great Joy Advent Devotional, day 15)
His law is true and pure and beautiful. He writes his ways on our hearts when we put down all our human efforts and pick up His finished work on the cross. Then we will obey His commands because we love Him more than what is broken.
In His power and strength, we will act the miracles He has written on our hearts – from one hard fought step to the next. We cannot legislate the mending of this world because the brokenness is deeper than our pens and papers.
The mending of this world must begin in our hearts – by believing that Christ was broken on our behalf, but that He did not stay broken.
When we believe there is only One with power enough to beat brokenness, He grants power that we might thread the needle of His mending.
let LOVE fly like cRaZy
“The key that unlocks the treasure chest of God’s peace is faith in the promises of God. So Paul prays, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:13). And when we do trust the promises of God and have joy and peace and love, then God is glorified.”
– from Day 7 in Good News of Great Joy, Advent Devotional.
Some days it feels like I need the treasure of God’s peace more than I need anything else. In those days, I turn life upside down in search of it.
But my feelings betray me because every day I need this treasure. And every day I either find God’s peace or settle for something else. Usually, when I don’t feel like I need the treasure of God’s peace I have settled for something far less valuable and my very settling will send me on a desperate search for the real thing as soon as the counterfeit runs out.
I love this reflection about peace – that peace is faith in the promises of God.
Both joy and peace come in believing – in the process of trusting we unlock the treasure of peace. An easier treasure map you could not find: trust in the promises of the One who made you, called you, loves you, and sanctifies you. Trust in the One who has no beginning and no end.
This is the map to the treasure of God’s peace: trust.
Thankfully, there’s no math. It’s not trust + effort or trust + deeds that we need to get to peace. But it’s also not an equation one can finish and present to God in exchange for peace.
I am a notorious short-lived truster: I trust for a moment and then fall out of believing moments after. But this in believing that Paul talks about in Romans 15 – this in believing is beautiful because our active trusting (in the present tense) means the peace is hidden there in the activity.
God has infinite joy and peace waiting to be discovered by those who trust Him for who He is from this moment to the next… and then for the moments after that.
Some days it feels like I need the treasure of God’s peace more than I need anything else. On those other days my feelings forget to make me feel what my soul always searches.
Every day I need God’s peace and every day it is found in believing.
He finds me as I am believing and gives me peace.
And in the giving of peace, He is glorified as the only One in whom we can believe for this peace – the only One whose promises are worth trusting.
let LOVE fly like cRaZy
This morning in the Advent devotional,
“God’s will was that though Christ was rich, yet for your sake he became poor. The “No Vacancy” signs over all the motels in Bethlehem were for your sake. “For your sake he became poor” (2 Corinthians 8:9).” Good News of Great Joy
Christ was rich, but it was God’s will for Him to become poor. It was not enough that Christ became human. He first emptied his divine pockets of all value and then no room could be found for a proper arrival.
As we run after Christ, it should be no surprise when we see “no vacancy” signs. The greatest man who ever walked the earth – the man who could have had the biggest entourage and could have kept company with the most powerful the world had to offer arrived in a barn and lived his whole life with empty pockets.
Why are we afraid to live with empty pockets in this world when it is but a breath? Why do we still cling to what will pass away?
Today, I’m setting my eyes on the eternal and keeping close in my mind the image of Christ cuddling with his mom… in a barn.
And he did this for my sake. “No vacancy” was no accident. He chose to find “No vacancy” for me.
let LOVE fly like cRaZy