Thursday, April 18, 2019

Future Past

Yesterday, we looked at the way that Samson simply discarded the jawbone of the ass after defeating the Philistines in that battle. He no longer needed a weapon (which would have set his mind on the future and possible threats) and he didn't need a trophy (which would have kept him in the past). He was content to live in the present, which was his victory.

But we are a people of weapons and trophies, and more important, we are a people content to live in the future and the past. In fact, we've built our entire faith around it. 

Modern Christianity has become a faith that lives anywhere but here. It lives in the past, where Jesus, by His great and wonderful mercy, has forgiven our sins. Whatever you've done in your life, Jesus has washed clean. He has forgiven, and God has forgotten, removing from you the greatest stains of your life. For this, we are thankful. And it is one of the foundation stones of our faith - our past has been forgiven. 

The other foundation stone of our faith is what Jesus is going to do - He is coming back. He will return to redeem the world, to call us up to Heaven with Him. He will restore us fully to life and create us anew, the way we were always intended to be. He will set everything right, avenge what was wrong, and shine in great glory. For this, we hope. 

And while these are good and wonderful things that should absolutely help to inform our faith, they leave us decidedly empty in the present, in the space and time in which we actually live. Although we know what to do with yesterday and tomorrow, most of us have absolutely no idea what to do with today. 

Yet today is all that we truly have. 

Jesus Himself said that as much as the life of faith is about tomorrow, it's also about today. He said that He has come that we might have life, and have it abundantly. That's not life that comes after death; that's not life that comes in the Heavens. It's life on earth, the same kind of life that He lived in the human flesh.

We know this because there's not a single man or woman in the Gospels that Jesus told to wait until He comes back. When He met the blind men, the lame men, the deaf men, the cripples, the demon-possessed, the sinners, the outcasts, the weary, the meek, the masses...He gave them life. Today. Right now. He reached out, touched them, and healed them

He never said, "I promise the day is coming when you will be healed." He didn't say, "In my Father's time, I will come back, and you will have the life you've always wanted, the life you can't have right now." He never said, "I'm sorry about your current situation, but just hold on, for Heaven is coming." He said, See. Hear. Walk. Repent. Come. Be released.


It's what our Christianity has forgotten, and it's crushing the hearts of so many of the faithful. We want to believe that Heaven is enough, but our souls nag at us that there's got to be something more. They nag at us because there is something more. It's life...and life abundant. Life that lives right now, not because Jesus is coming back, but because Jesus lives. Because He lives among us, the way that He always has. Because He breathes and walks and talks and feeds and heals and loves and lives. God has called us, as He always has, to a living faith, and we have become a people far too content to have a dying faith, and our own hearts call us on it.

What would it mean to your faith - what would it mean to your life - if life abundant was right now? If the greatest focus of your faith was not what has been done or what will be done, but what is being done, right now, before your very eyes? What if you lived living?

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