Thursday, June 25, 2015

It Is Finished

Just before He gives up His Spirit, Jesus utters the words, It is finished.

And in one sense, He's completely right. In that moment, death is defeated. Sin and Satan lose. Man is no longer bound to his brokenness. In that sense, it is, indeed, finished.

But in another sense, it's only just beginning.

All the big moments in our lives, in the same breath in which they are finished, initiate something new. As much as we want to think that the big thing is the big thing, what we discover is that after the big thing is all said and done, after it's taken its full effect, we're stuck trying to figure out how to live in a new world. 

That Spirit Jesus just gave up? It's coming back to us. Not in the form of the flesh, but in the power of its presence. All of a sudden, what feels like this big moment (and it is) - the defeat of death, the victory over sin and Satan, the restoration of brokenness - gives way to a new world. No longer is man directed by the Law, which he's spent the past few thousand years trying to perfect; no, now he is drawn by the Spirit Itself. Love Itself. 

No longer is it enough to not murder, to not covet, to not curse. Now, man must figure out how to love, to rejoice, to bless. It's not so simple as saying, It is finished. What we all know this side of resurrection is that it has only just begun.

It's true in terms of this bigger story, this Jesus narrative, but it's true in our smaller moments, too. And I don't think we give ourselves enough space or grace for this kind of thing. 

It's like making the transition from your first job to your first career. You're not flipping burgers any more; now, you're crunching numbers for the growing company. It feels like a new phase of life, like you've finally arrived where you want to be. You're an accountant now. Good for you! A certain period of your life is over. But on the other hand, you're an accountant now. And this period of your life has only just begun.

Or think in terms of cancer. Maybe you've been diagnosed with, Lord-willing, a very treatable form of cancer and you've been through months of radiation and chemotherapy. The doctors have just declared you in remission, and you couldn't be more thankful. It is finished. Your fight with cancer is over. But your life as a cancer survivor is just beginning. And as much as you've spent your time dreaming of this day, making plans, figuring out what you wanted to do with your life when you got it back, there's a certain reality that says you could not have possibly known what your life would be on the other side of cancer. Now that you're here, you have to figure it out for real. It's the start of something new. 

No matter how good your imagination, you just can't dream of what life will really be like on the other side of finished. When this season is over, something new is about to start. And I think we owe it to ourselves, to the lives we want to live, and to the God who blesses us with those lives, to be aware of this and to take some time, this side of finished, to figure out how to live here. 

To figure out who we want to be in the business world, more than merely what the nameplate says. To figure out what life looks like in remission - what it really looks like. To live in the Spirit rather than the shadow. To learn to be driven by Love rather than Law. What does Love even look like?

I think...I think Love looks like this:

It gives up itself and utters, It is finished, while in the very same breath starting something new. 

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