Father God, please grab our hearts and minds today as we contemplate these words from You. Block out the distractions of the day, and help us center on the message You are giving us through these verses. Help us to really LISTEN! Amen.
2 Corinthians 5:11-20
11-14 That keeps us vigilant, you can be sure. It’s no light thing to know that we’ll all one day stand in that place of Judgment. That’s why we work urgently with everyone we meet to get them ready to face God. God alone knows how well we do this, but I hope you realize how much and deeply we care. We’re not saying this to make ourselves look good to you. We just thought it would make you feel good, proud even, that we’re on your side and not just nice to your face as so many people are. If I acted crazy, I did it for God; if I acted overly serious, I did it for you. Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.
A New Life
14-15 Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.
16-17 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!
Verses 16 and 17 stuck out to me today. Left to my own devices, I tend to be prideful and judgmental. Paul is reminding the Corinthians (and us!) that we are dead to our old lives and that we cannot judge by what we see outwardly, but must look in the inside. EVERYONE WE SEE AND MEET has been included in Christ’s resurrection – the person behind me on the rode tailgating me, the person in the grocery line in front of me taking too long, and the person who bumps into me without saying “excuse me”. Living like this means we are becoming like Jesus, who sacrificed EVERYTHING for our new lives.
As I was studying these scriptures, reading The Message version, reading in my “Life Application Bible”, and writing this blog, our TV was on a channel playing M*A*S*H, I guess in honor of Veteran’s Day. It was the episode entitled “Blood Brothers”, where Father Mulcahy is overcome by the devotion of a terminally ill G.I., who has leukemia, for his critically wounded buddy. This terminally ill G.I., instead of wallowing in the knowledge of his impending death, wants to be a donor for his friend. Meanwhile, Father Mulcahy is worried about his reputation in the eyes of a visiting Cardinal, and acting like a petty, competitive child. Father Mulcahy realizes with clarity that “God didn’t put us here for that pat on the back, He created us so He could be here Himself, so that he could exist in the lives of those He created in His image.” See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvLH22RSpaY&feature=youtu.be. We are not on this planet for our own self-gratification. In thanks and praise for everything our Father has done for us, we must live humbly and continually ask, “Jesus, how would you have me join you today”?
Dear Father, I thank You for the fresh new life You give me each day! Help me to LIVE like a thankful person, and to notice who You are placing in front of me each day. Make me Your hands and feet, Your salt and light, so that people will wonder and ask why I smile! Then give me Your words to share Your awesome love, grace and peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.