Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I've found a love greater
How is it that Jesus displays his glory? Is it in his impressive acts and miracles, his power to create? Or is it more in the hour in which he was high and lifted up to death? The moment where he gave himself up for us?
How is it that Jesus defeats the devil? What is the power we have if we cast out a demon in the name of Jesus? Is it that Jesus packs a bigger punch? Did Jesus wrestle the devil to death? Or, was it that in the very moment the serpent thought it had struck Jesus down, that through a self-giving death that Jesus triumphed over evil? Wasn't the snatching and accusing enemy overthrown by the pouring out and giving of God for us? Wasn't the devilish way always to grab where God would teach us to receive?
And when I look sin in the face, or at least an opportunity to use my freedom to indulge the flesh by 'sin' or 'religion' or in loving service, is the answer to ask for strength to defeat sin, or is it to go with Jesus to die again to my old sinful self and rise to a new life in him? Isn't it the gospel that shames my response in such situations? And if so then isn't the answer not grow stronger but to be given up? And if I obey isn't it to obey the gospel - to die with Jesus so that he is now my life, and I live by looking away from me to him.
And isn't the richness of Jesus found in him giving up the riches he had to become poor for me, that I might share in the riches he has in his relationship with his Father. He is not the rich man who uses his riches to acquire strength, but the one who gives all he has to gather us up. Not by forcing himself upon us but by sacrifice and by wooing us, and by offering himself for us and to us. So that I come to Christ as I see him and am persuaded, contrary to everything people have sought to teach me, and yet in deep resonance with everything his world has been telling me day after day.
In the upside down economy of God I build my church best not when I cling on to people but when I give. And don't I get further when I give away my best for free and seek to pour out blessing on others, even my enemy, just as the Father freely gave his best, and the Son gave his life to give life to us. Isn't love always a giving thing, that goes beyond itself, takes me beyond myself by taking me to the cross.
And at the cross I see that "God looks on the believer wrapped up in Jesus, and loves him with immeasurable love..." (Henry Law), and love is stirred in me.