Saturday, September 13, 2008

Get "With" It

“With.” It’s a tiny four-letter word. It probably doesn’t stir much emotion within you when you look at it, read it, or think about it. However, if you think about it in the sense in which Chad described it last Sunday, you might look at “with” a lot differently.

Chad continued the Colossians series by talking about chapter three, verses 1-11. In these verses, Paul talks about how our lives our changed when we meet Christ. Who we were before is dead and in Christ, we are made new and alive!! Specifically, verse three says: “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

So, what does it all mean? Well, the key to that verse is that little bitty “with.” It’s the bridge between the old and the new. I like the different definitions that Webster’s dictionary uses to describe it. One of those descriptions says: “used as a function word to indicate a participant in an action, transaction, or arrangement.” In this particular case, the participant is “us” the action is Christ’s sacrifice, and the arrangement is the forgiveness of sins; resulting in a transformed life and more importantly, ETERNAL LIFE!!

That’s a BIG “with” now isn’t it? Just thinking about my “with” moments leaves me in awe of Jesus as I think about all the old junk of mine that He took away and all the newness that He filled me up with (and continues to every day!). Chad asked us if we knew “new” like we know our “junk.” Well, do we? Or, do we simply identify with all our scars of old and not HIS scars that makes us new? When we die to self, it’s the “dumping place for our scars”, as Chad called it. But, do we dump it and leave it there at the foot of the cross, or do we continue to come back to pick it up and wear it again? Do all the scars from our sins identify us, or are we embracing God’s forgiveness and choosing to identify with the scars of grace instead? Aren’t those scars more than sufficient enough to “hide” ourselves in Him?

Chad told us a story of a girl that carried so much hate and rage. Then, unexpectedly, God emptied her out and freed her from it when some people laid hands on her to pray for her deliverance. Afterwards, she could hardly make sense of her new freedom. Chad said the two biggest questions she had were, “Is that possible? Is that God?” I think all of us have the tendency to believe that it just can’t be that easy, or that becoming free doesn’t have to be that hard when you are coming to the one and only God who is Lord over all the “impossible” things!!

There is so much more depth to the sermon than what I can probably describe. So, I encourage you to listen to it for yourself. And, I further urge you to check out this video of “cardboard testimonies” I found on God Tube. It’s an illustration in which everyone shows the “old” side of who they were on a piece of cardboard and then flips it to the “new” side. Chad and several others shared their own cardboard testimonies last Sunday. Chad’s sign said “Tattooed…..Renewed.” He said “the only difference between the front and the back is ‘with’.”

What would your “with” sign say? Or, maybe you don’t have a “with” sign yet because you’ve never identified yourself with Christ. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to talk to me about it. I would be more than happy to show you the meaning of “with.” After all, I have had a lot of “with” moments myself! If I were holding that cardboard, it would probably read: “Lived in legalism…….Now living under grace.” Or, as I had commented about one of my friends at church (who happens to love landscaping and rocks lol) “Rocky life…..Life on the ROCK!”

Grace and peace to all of you as you fellowship “with” Him!!! God bless you!!

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