Friday, August 24, 2012

All In

Those few years between the transition from Jr. High to Sr. High were rough years for me.  I was angry (for no reason most of the time) and spiteful.  I would pick a fight with my mom over the littlest things.  Since we are so much alike, these fights often escalated to a scene neither of us would be proud of. I remember once in the middle of a fight, I was SO angry (I couldn't tell you why at this point), I had done everything I could to make Mom as mad as possible but I still had to get the last word in.  Then it clicked, I knew what would get under her skin - I swore.  And it wasn't a nice curse word either (is there such a thing?).  Finally, with an added, "I hate you," I slammed my door in her face.  For a fleeting moment, it felt good.  But when she didn't respond and I was left alone in my room, I felt miserable.  That moment still burns in my memory.

Awhile later, after I had calmed down and gotten over my pride, I went to apologize.  I was truly sorry.  As tears streamed down my face, I told my mom how wrong I was, how sorry I was, and how I didn't mean those words.  She cried, I cried.  And then she held me for a long time.  I remember her telling me repeatedly how much she loved me that night - as if I would forget if I left her side.

Deuteronomy 30:1-3 - 1 So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the Lord your God has banished you, 2 and you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, 3 then the Lord your God will restore you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you.

As Matthew Henry brilliantly puts it, these words "are chiefly considered to be as a conditional promise, and so they belong to all persons and all people...and the design of them is to assure us that the greatest sinners, if they repent and be converted, shall have their sins pardoned and be returned to God's favor."  This promise - Did you catch that?  This is a promise - is for ALL people!  And it is such a great one!

The first step we see here is consideration or deep thought.  In verse 1, God is saying that when we call to mind.  He is referencing all of the things that have happened to us.  If we were to truly consider our lives we would see the truth.  Where has sin ever gotten you?  Honestly think about that question.  For me the answer is a lack - a lack of everything - a lack of fulfillment, a lack of happiness, a lack of hope.  In other words, it brings me misery in the end.  Sin may look or feel good at first - but I'm betting that the end result(s) is never a good one.   But we have the opportunity to leave that misery and lack of everything good behind!  As Henry states, "If sinners would but seriously consider the happiness they have lost by sin and the misery they have brought themselves into, and that by repentance they may escape that misery and recover that happiness, they would not delay to return to the Lord their God."  So what's the next step?

Return to the Lord your God...  Okay but what does that look like?  Simple - Obedience.   But not a lukewarm obedience ...obey Him with all your heart and soul...  Quite evidently, "It is the heart and soul that God looks at and requires; He will have these or nothing, and these entire or not at all" (Henry).  We can't be lukewarm, we have to be all in!  Francis Chan puts it bluntly in his book, Crazy Love, "As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there's no such thing.  To put it plainly, churchgoers who are 'lukewarm' are not Christians" (emphasis added).  God wants all or nothing.  There is no in between.

But if we do that, if we return to Him and give Him ALL of our hearts and souls, if we are all in...the reward is phenomenal.  His grace is more than sufficient.  Verse 3 states, then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you...  The Hebrew word for "have compassion" is racham meaning in this particular instance, "to behold with tenderest affection" (Strong's H7355).  Did you catch that?  The tenderest affection.  He loves us with ALL of Him, He is ALL in.  He will wrap His arms around us and never let us go...constantly reminding us of His love for us, just like my mom did the night I blew up.  But God's love is even greater than my mom's could ever be.  And if you ask her, that is an impossible task to beat!  She is always saying, "There's no love like a mother's love."  That might be true, but God's love for you and I is marvelously greater than a mother's love!  He is all in.  Are you?

1 comment:

  1. I love seeing Jesus in you, Bri!! Thanks for sharing this.


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