Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Sword of Jesus

Oswald Chambers, in "My Utmost for His Highest" said, “Thousands of people in this world profess to be happy without God. But if we could be truly happy and moral without Jesus, then why did He come? He came because that kind of happiness and peace is only superficial. Jesus Christ came to “bring…a sword” through every kind of peace that is not based on a personal relationship with Himself.”

This, I’ve found, is the True gift of Jesus Christ. He came into my life revealing the reason why I felt frustrated, sad, unmotivated, craving drink and so on and so on: I was trying to fill a void only Jesus could fill.

Every day I am so thankful for His conviction and correction without which I would never know His love, joy, contentment and peace. Jesus threw out my abject attempts at “happy” and replaced them with His supernatural joy. I say supernatural because it is a joy believers can have even amidst tears and disappointment. The joy is Christ Himself.

Finding Christ was finally knowing why, in the Apostle Paul’s words, I didn’t do what I wanted to do and instead did what I didn’t want to do. Finding Christ meant facing my sin and brokenness for the first time. In fact, it meant learning that I even had sin and brokenness to begin with! Christ was the Light out of the ever encroaching darkness I’d been blindly trying to claw myself out of day after day, only to go deeper into the abyss.

Christ’s gift of Himself to me was and continues to be this: liberation from my own self-centeredness. I have the Sword of Jesus that cuts through every deceit and lie: lies conjured up by Satan, myself and the world that try to fool me into thinking I am independently good and resourceful when I’m not. I never realized any of this until Jesus cut through the façade.

Jesus must upset our human delusion of peace and goodness with the real deal: His peace and goodness. When God was finally able to bring me to a place where I said to God, “Bring it on,” He did. It wasn’t pretty, you know, seeing my sin for the first time and realizing I wasn’t a good person after all. But Oh the freedom in that!

See, Jesus alone is goodness and He brings His goodness to me! Jesus alone is peace and He came to bring His peace in all circumstances to me! But in order for any of that to become Truth in my life, I had to first come to the Cross in the realization and repentance of my sin and in the acceptance of Jesus and His redemption. It is at the Cross where I died my first death and was born again.

Jesus came to earth and died so we, too, can die to our blind, frustrated selves and be reborn as babes. True peace on earth is only to be had through Jesus—even in the midst of war, tragedy, disease, and whatever life dishes out--because Jesus Himself is our peace (Ephesians 2:14).

“He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace.” Micah 5:4-5

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, 'Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.' In reply Jesus declared, 'I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.'” John 3:1-3

“But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” John 3:21

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” Revelation 21:5

“He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. “ Revelation 21:6

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