Is Salvation Beautiful to You?

diamond

 

“Just as a jeweler in a store will always use a black velvet background to display the splendor of an exquisite diamond, so the intricate, dazzling beauty of the gospel is only fully seen when we understand what the Bible says about man’s radical condition outside of Christ. It’s a bleak and dark picture to be sure. Yet only when we understand the immensity of the problem can we find the right solution – and see the futility of all other man made remedies. We need far more than a moral pep talk; more than some medical first aid for our gaping wounds; and even more than even an oxygen mask to help us breathe more easily. What we need is a miracle! What we need is a resurrection!” – John Samson

The moments when I am not as impressed by the work and wonder of Christ on the cross, just so happens to be the exact same moments when I am numb to my sin and or mesmerized by my own “virtues” and the fleeting pleasures of this world. Sometimes, I don’t see the beauty of my own salvation, because I’m being entertained and blinded by this life. The happy triune God of the universe and His gift of salvation is ever before me.  Beautiful. Stunning. Entrancing. It is right before my eyes and under my nose, but somehow I miss its brilliance and I’m not seeing it’s beauty.  Are you with me? Has the work that Christ did on our behalf lost it’s luster? Is it not so shiny? Not so sparkly?

Oh gee.

We often need a reality check.

We often need to see ourselves more clearly.

We often need to be reminded of the ephemeral nature of this life.

We often need to be reminded of what life apart from Him would be like.

We often need to be reminded of His gracious, unmerited, magnificent love.

Pray for your affections and understanding of God to be increased. Prayerfully read Scripture-even if you don’t feel like it! Especially if you don’t feel like it! Look at who He is and what He has done. Look at who you are and all that you have done. Each salvation story is a jaw-dropping, praise-evoking,  joy-bringing, undeserved, irrevocable miracle! Whether you were a 4 year old growing up in a solid, christian home, or a thief hanging on a cross-your salvation is a miraculous gift. What blessings come when we see God’s grace, and glory, and goodness against the backdrop of who we are apart from Him! How much more beautiful and treasured is my salvation when I remember where I should and could be without it! Peace and God-centered adoration and delight will flow through our spirit when we intentionally work to put the radiance of the gospel in front of our radical condition outside of Christ.

I’m not showing you a pebble and asking you to be in awe of it. I am showing you the most rare, precious, valuable gem in existence asking you to marvel at its worth. Jesus Christ and his gospel is the only exhilarating, essential, life-giving, fulfilling, captivating truth in the universe! Look at it and be amazed!

It’s Friday, Friday….

The weekend is here! What a wonderful thing! Now, it’s been a great week, but I am ready to rest and very much looking forward to having 2 days off-as I am sure you are too! So here is just a mini-challenged to spend those days well, and to not waste our time of rest.

We are a wasteful people. In almost every facet of life, it has become our second nature to be careless when we should be engaging and intentional. For…

Let me start over…

I am a wasteful person. In almost every facet of my life, I can see areas where it has become my second nature to be careless, when I SHOULD be engaging and intentional. For example, social media can be a good thing for sure! There have been days where I purposefully peruse through Pinterest’s humor section/quotes section for pictures that will brighten a friend’s day. I tweet theological quotes that inspire or challenge me, in hopes to encourage or challenge others. It is easy to encourage people constantly on Facebook with a simple “you look so beautiful!” or “I’m so thankful for  _____!” What great tools. But just like all things, if you don’t set your mind on it correctly, you will waste it. So instead, I will use Twitter as a distraction from school work, waste hours sinning covetously on Facebook, or mindlessly “relax” by being drawn into the world of materialism on Pinterest. From the outside, it might LOOK the same, but from the inside…it looks very different.

I think the same thing happens with resting during the weekend. You can rest well. You can rest with intentionality and purpose. There are weekends where I do not work, or serve, or run around-and I know the Lord is pleased, because my heart is engaged with and in tune with Him. But you can also rest purposelessly. There have been an equal (if not greater)…(okay probably greater) number of weekends that I rest poorly. I am lazy, ungrateful, and disengaging to things of God. Done correctly, a restful weekend is a beautiful time full of shalom and delight in our Triune God. Though in some ways, it may still look the same, it is actually ever so different. Tune your heart to sing God’s praise in everything you do this weekend-even in moments of relaxation.

“Sabbath is not about time off or a break in routine. It is not a mini-vacation to give us a respite so we are better prepared to go back to work. The Sabbath is far more than a diversion; it is meant to be an encounter with God’s delight.”

Intentionality

One of my favorite things to remind myself,(because boy do I need this reminder!)  is to live life with intentionality. While I watch movies, while I interact with strangers, while I go about my daily routines, it is necessary to be intentional. Though quite easy to turn my mind off and simply “coast” through the mundane, God is far more pleased when my mind is on HIM and am able to integrate His thoughts, preferences, and opinions in everything I do.  This is not easy. It takes time to re-train my mind to default to depth and flee from mindless meandering.  And it is a cycle of success and failure!

So, here are some of the questions I ask myself to check my heart and motives.

Betty’s Introspective Questions

  1. Am I maximizing my season of singleness, or am I wasting it away with discontentment?
  2. In the movies I watch-what things were displayed as good/acceptable, that are actually sin? And how would I bring Christ into the character’s situations?
  3. Do I truly believe that God desire is not just for my holiness, but also for my happiness?
  4. Am I in contact with unbelievers who know about the joy that is within me?
  5. Do I read in the morning with an understanding that through my time in the Word I have the opportunity to know Christ more intimately, or do I do it out of habit?
  6. Is my desire to exercise rooted in pride and narcissism or a beautiful desire to strengthen my body for God’s service and his glory.
  7. Do I eat healthy so as to not gain weight, or to be a good steward of the temple God has given me?
  8. Are my prayers just me “venting” to God, or do I believe in it’s power and realize what a gift it is to be in his presence?
  9. Do I attend church as a social function or to grow in the knowledge and love of Christ and his bride?

Take some time today to right down some personal questions you need to be asking yourself. It looks different for everyone! You know your strengths, weaknesses, and temptations-jot a list down accordingly!