As we have done in previous Lent and Advent seasons, we are again blogging our way through the Lenten Lectionary Texts. In this season, our prayer is that we will bless and inspire you in your walk between the Now and Not-Yet of the Kingdom. We pray that our meditations will be life-giving to you in your journey.
A reading from the Epistle to the Romans.
Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self if the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.
But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
This is the Word of The Lord.
In this life, we are faced with a choice. We can choose to live our lives with the goal of fulfilling our own desires, or we can choose to live our lives yielding our desires to the desires of God. It’s a choice.
In today’s text, Paul confronts us with this choice. He presents for us the facts of each way of life. If we live based on our own selfish desires and ambitions, then it’s a dead-end. We become self-absorbed and we ignore God. Yet, on the other hand, if we live our life by the Spirit of Christ, then we live a life of power and purpose and fullness.
It’s really quite simple. We either choose to live our lives to better ourselves or our position in life, or we live our life to make God’s name great. It’s either about us or Him.
There are only two kingdoms.
We either live in the kingdom of self-advancement, self-achievement, and self-preservation. Or, we live in the kingdom of God-Advancement. We either live for ourselves. Or, we life for God.
Which is it with you?
Christ didn’t come to earth and die on the cross to make live better. He didn’t die to modify our behavior. Rather, He came to transform our ENTIRE lives. He came to shift us into a completely different direction. He didn’t come to make things easier or make us more successful. Instead, He came to redeem us unto Himself so that we might partner with Him in the Greatest Story of all time—His story.
And, so, we live differently—not succumbing to our own selfish desires or plans, but rather yielding to God’s desires and plans for us. The reality of a life lived yielded to God’s plans and desires is a life of fullness. A life of Shalom—nothing missing, nothing broken. A life where the crooked places are made straight and the steep places are made level. Where what’s broken is fixed and what’s missing is found.
It’s a life lived in the Kingdom.
Where are you living?