Friends, the grace of God means that we can and should take our sin very seriously and should do all we can to put it to death and to remove its patterns from us. When Paul wrote to the Colossian church, he reminded them that they had been raised with Christ, who is seated at the right hand of God. The implication of that incredible news of grace is that they had to be ruthless with sin. It was the only logical response that they would put it to death, to not have any part with it. That they would do whatever they could to expose it, to remove it, and to move far from it so that it couldn’t return. Jesus, of course, taught us to do the same thing. To cut off offending parts rather than to live with them continually compromising us.
Fall semester has arrived and she is a nasty little season y’all. Everyone is running pretty hard. Yesterday a friend told me I looked tired, and then added… “I mean even worse than usual.” They are the worst friend ever, but they aren’t wrong.
Repentance is a chance to admit you are wrong in a world of pressure trying to look like you are getting it right, and trust me, you are getting it wrong somewhere. It is a chance to declare dependence in a world where we are all exhausted from our so called independence. It is a a chance to throw yourself on the goodness of God, and to experience the fullness of joy when you discover just how good He is.
I don’t need to be awesome every day, Jesus is. I don’t need to be massively productive every day, as God runs the universe just fine. I don’t need to pretend to be better than I am, because I am righteous through the work of Jesus Christ. I don’t need to be a rockstar, I have the Holy Spirit to help my in my weakness, and to help me laugh through random Thursdays.
I am more and more persuaded that truly engaged and fully present listening is a gift that Christians could give uniquely to the world, as we of all people aren’t constantly clambering to be heard. Listening is a sacred thing. I think it might be a spiritual discipline actually. Let’s be quick to listen to one another.
Cynicism isn’t a fruit of the Spirit. Skepticism isn’t a mark of Christian maturity. Sarcasm is fun, especially when it is with people who aren’t all that smart, but it isn’t actually a skill that Christians are called to develop.
Austin was once again voted as the best city in the US to live. This is incredible news and should lead us to prayerful response as Christian Austinites. As I thought it through with Sue this afternoon, I think there are six prayerful ways we should respond.
I love Spring. It is a season of optimism, newness and resurrection. Things that seemed dead burst back into life, I know this because I now need to mow my lawn every 17 minutes, and that lawn looked as dead as my hopes of picking a winning March Madness bracket just a couple of weeks ago. I love that God put the regularity of dormancy and rebirth into the world that surrounds us. He is reminding us of His kindness, His creative genius, His patience and His loving ability to bring beauty out of things that appear long gone.