Earp Takes Aim | Faith, Culture, Life

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Run to Him

I’m gonna do some confessing right now and I really hope you won’t leave me hanging.

“For you have died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”[1]

In these verses, Paul has urged us to set our minds AND hearts on things above.  But now he tells us why.  Cuz we have “died”[2] to ourselves— so the lives we do still live are to be all about making Jesus our pursuit.  Cuz my whole life is now hidden, it’s been swallowed up…by Him.

Which means…I must have a singular purpose and outlook— my whole life is to fold into— seeking Christ.  But I gotta be honest:  I wake up several mornings every week and I’m not doing that.

How ‘bout you?

I said…how ‘bout you?

Great.  At least I’m not entirely alone.

So I fail at this.  Often.  Maybe even daily.  I fail less often than I used to fail— cuz I’ve been following Jesus over four decades by now.  Yet, though I keep surrendering more and more into His care, and though I keep offering Him more and more of me to swallow over and to hide in Himself— I still care about earth-bound stuff more than I wish I did.  And way more than I should.

I figure Paul must’ve failed a lot, too.  Cuz he’s saying to us, what he probably told himself, too:

“Don’t forget:  No matter how long you’ve been following Him…or how many years you’ve been pursuing Him– don’t forget, your life is to hidden IN Him.

But don’t forget this, either:  You’re not justified by how well you follow.  Cuz you’re gonna fail.  You’re justified by faith alone in Christ alone.  So you can’t EARN salvation by never failing.”

And that’s why, a great mark of true Christian maturity is when you DO stumble and you DO fail— ‘cept when you do?  You freely admit it and then run like a banshee right into the arms of Jesus!  And you worship Him and love Him even more because of His amazing grace toward such a wretch as you.

But a mark of immaturity is when you stumble and fall— cuz that’s what earth-bound creatures do— ‘cept you fall…then you run.  Not to…you run from Jesus.  And you try to hide yourself, although you never really can.  And then you try to fix yourself— something else you can never do.

 

So what happens is— this strange tribal dance occurs, where you press into Jesus when you’re doing well, but you run away when you’re not.

But if your life is already “hidden,” WHY RUN?  Don’t you get it?  By running, your struggle only deepens.  Cuz it’s when you run from that your way becomes  even more difficult, the path feels dry and your heart is filled with despair.

But the mark of maturity is when you realize, “Dude, I’ve messed up!  I can’t believe I’ve failed Him again!  Yet, how good is God that He loves me even in this?  And how complete is Jesus’ covering that He would call me His own, and fully love me— even in this place of such utter failure!”

 

That’s what it means to “set your heart on things above.”  It’s not that you never fail…but when you DO fail, you run into His arms and find in Him a greater intimacy than you ever knew before.

That’s what I’ve done.  When I first lost Cindy, in those first weeks of utter agony, I began to realize that I was making an idol out of Cindy.  Cuz I was trying to clutch her, instead of setting my heart on Christ.  See, once she was gone, I doubted whether life was even worth living.  And one dark day, I even asked God if He’d be so gracious as to take me, too.

But because I kept seeking Him diligently, and because years ago, I determined that I was gonna set my heart and mind on things above— no matter how great the cost— I still remember that moment when I realized not even Cindy was a worthy replacement for Jesus.

So I set my mind on Him.

I did.

And that’s why, soon after that— instead of pouting and doubting…and instead of grabbing my pulpit and stomping home; I returned to my pulpit.

Once again, I died to my own wishes.  And I can tell you today that because I did, I am more passionately pursuing after Christ than I ever did before.

But here’s the most shocking part of my story:  Far from wallowing in grinding misery, my God has restored to me an enthusiasm for life I hadn’t known in a long, long time.

And now, I have a new love.  And I’m beyond grateful to Him for having given me my Chris.  Understand, I didn’t pursue Jesus so He’d give me a new love— I pursued Jesus as though I was already dead.

Yet, outta pure grace, He gave me, in exchange, the very thing I thought I might never experience again.

 

Don’t you get it?  Your life is ALL about Jesus!

It’s not about what you DO, but what He already DID.

It’s not about what you HAVE— but what He had in abundance, but so freely gave up.

Your life is simply not about you.  And there’s more to life than money or happiness or even new love.  But when you embrace the story He has written for you— and set your heart on things above…? It’s amazing how revolutionary “living your life as though hidden in Christ” truly is!

So you do— you submit to a husband that doesn’t deserve your love, not because HE’S worthy.  But because Jesus is.  And He wants you to do as He did for you…to love the unlovely.

Or when you lose a great love, you do it with a re-set heart that beats hard for Christ…even through the pain.

 

This is an excerpt from the message, "There's so much more."  Listen to it on the player to your right.  

[1] Colossians 3:3

[2] See also Galatians 2:20

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