Monday, 2 February 2015
Found In Him Chapter 9: Quick! Get Those Flowers Into Water!
I was preparing for my mom’s visit last week, when I spied the daffodil bunches by the cash register. Perfect! I threw a few bunches into my cart and headed for the checkout.
I had a few more errands to run before I got home. By the time I had unloaded the car and begun to sort through the groceries I had totally forgotten about the fresh flowers. They didn’t look very happy with me. The last time I bought daffodils they had shriveled in a few days. I needed to get these guys into water. Quick.
While I was cutting the stems and arranging them in the flower food fortified water, it struck me that this was another picture of what we’ve been studying in Found in Him. 1 Corinthians 1:30 describes our union with Christ like this:
But of him (by his doing) we are in Christ Jesus, who has become to us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.
Just as I was putting those flowers into the water filled vase, so God places us in Christ. All the nutrients in the water are being drawn up the stems into the tightly closed daffodil buds. Our stalks have been plunged into the very wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption of Christ. His life is drawn up into ours.
What would my life look like if I put my stem down into his righteousness today?
Do you ever call yourself names? Oh, not out loud, but definitely in your mind? You know, when you are feeling guilty or ashamed or foolish, does your inner voice poke you with epithets? Idiot! How could you? Stupid! What were you thinking? Loser! No wonder no one likes you!
Everybody in the room at Bible study today seemed to agree. They do it. We all do. The question is how do you fight back? This name calling tears us down, attacking our reputation from inside our own heads. But the worst part is there’s usually some truth to the names. That’s why it feels hard to defend ourselves.
It’s here that we need the truth we learned in Chapter 9. In Christ we have a new identity. We have been “Chosen, Betrothed, Beloved, and Named.” We have a new name. His. We are his beloved. He calls me “my Rondi.” He calls you “my _______.”
It’s important to use our new name as a weapon in this war. We can’t fight back with our resources, even though we’re tempted to try.
When I’m attacked by my own thoughts or the criticisms of others, my first reaction is to justify myself. “Let me explain…” If only they knew my motives they would understand my actions. Or I compensate. “Well, I did do that, but at least I didn’t do this…” I try to counterbalance my wrongs with a few rights. But this self-justification never seems to settle my conscience or my critics.
It’s Jesus who justifies me. His death completely paid for all of the wrongs I’ve done. His righteous life completely filled up all the good I’ve left undone. I’m in him. So I need to put my stem down into his justification every time the enemy attacks.
Am I OK now?
The reason I justify myself is because I’m trying to feel OK about myself. I want to answer my critics so I can stop feeling bad about myself. Then I can start living again. The problem is that self-justification only produces self-righteousness. And self-righteousness is useless in the war against sin and shame. It won’t silence my enemy and it won’t please my God.
But his righteousness will. That’s because his righteousness is perfect. He didn’t leave anything out. And his righteousness is a gift. It’s mine today. It’s yours today through faith in Jesus.
Put your stem down into that. Draw his righteousness up into your life every day. God the Father has plunged us into the Name of his Son. His perfect reputation justifies us before every accuser. His perfect righteousness frees us to live. So…
When your inner critic says, Idiot!! Jesus says Named!!
When your inner critic says, Stupid!! Jesus says Justified!!
When your inner critic says, Loser!! Jesus says Righteous!!
You’re more than OK. You’re found in Him.