Today’s Readings: Acts 13:39 NIV
39 [Paul said,] “Through Him, everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by from the law of Moses.”
My mother was laughing hysterically from across the dinner table last week. I glanced up, and found she was totally engaged with her two year old great grandson Andrew. He, of course, was sitting next to me, and I was trying to keep him still and in his seat while waiting patiently for his macaroni and cheese to cool. Our Andrew is a very busy boy. It is fascinating to watch his changing persona as the day wears on. In the morning, after his older siblings go to school, Andrew is rather subdued. He plays with his Matchbox® cars and loves to look at books. He will sit for fifteen minutes at a time, totally engaged while Nanny Deb reads to him out loud. Andrew is often quite sleepy and ready for a nap right after lunch. When he awakes, sweet Andrew comes into his own. He is full of combustible energy, and cannot wait to launch late afternoon full-throttle attacks on big brother, sister, and the family cat, Patches. He is relentless in his quest to make everyone around him miserable. You wonder where that sweet little boy disappeared to in his zeal to conquer and divide! He is relentless in his pursuit and often finds himself in time out long before the dinner bell rings. Amazingly, when supper time comes, Andrew folds his little hands and prays like an angel. If only his prayers would last a couple of hours! It has been said that children learn by example. How did Andrew “learn” to act like a two year old?
Observing two year old behavior can help us better understand why we fail so miserably with God’s law, given through His servant, Moses. The law was never intended as a stumbling block; rather, it was a road map for living. God gave the law on tablets of stone. The newly carved tablets were broken almost instantaneously, as God’s people willfully disobeyed. Like a two year old on a tear, we find ourselves beginning each day with good intentions, only to build up self-propelled steam that takes on a life of its own as the day presses on. We lash out irrationally at the people we love most. We vigorously choose our way over another. We come to the dinner table acting like two year olds, in need of grace, mercy and forgiveness. Often, we go to bed with tears stinging our eyes, regretting something we said or did in anger that cut another heart to the quick. Our human nature gets in the way of a seemingly good start.
We failed to keep God’s law. Constantly placing ourselves first in line, we lost sight of the Father’s plan for daily living. There was no justification for our failures; no reprieve for the sins we committed against God and each other. But when Jesus Christ came, the wages of sin and death were forever broken by grace. Jesus took upon Himself our human sin nature; our imperfections, failures, and willful disobedience – He willingly became the sacrificial scapegoat for our sin. God loves us so much that He sent His Only Son, and whoever chooses to believe in Him will not die; He will receive the gift of everlasting life! What a present we have to share! Without Christ, it was impossible to fully follow the law. We are not good enough, even on our best days, to right the wrongs we’ve committed in thought, word and deed. Through Christ alone, we have His divine help to set our path toward selfless living. We no longer need to act like two year olds; we are maturing in faith and we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us in the way that leads to life everlasting.
Having a rough day today? Take a moment to stop and thank the Father for His Son, Jesus Christ. Ask Him to create in you a clean heart, a fresh start, and a clear sense of direction. What a great gift! Will you ask Jesus to be Lord of your life today?
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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