Yesterday I was at the park with my daughter and we were weaving between the droopy branches of a willow tree. On the ground was a willow branch that my daughter snatched up and pointed in my direction while telling me to grab a hold. I grabbed and she began to pull with all of her might. I stood there holding my end still and smiled while she yanked and twisted and turned and grunted in an attempt to free the branch from my grasp. After a minute or so of struggle she looked at me and said, “Mom, can you pull on the stick a little bit easier? You’re hurting my hands.” I couldn’t help but giggle. I was standing perfectly still. I was constant while she was the one thrashing about madly and yet she thought I was the one tugging on the stick and hurting her hands.
It’s no great surprise to me that I was quickly reminded of the emotional messes I get myself into. I take things in life and I begin letting my brain pull and twist and yank on those things that are uncomfortable until I find myself gasping and hurting begging the Lord for relief from them. For HIM to take it a bit easier on ME, when I am the one working myself into a tizzy, wounding myself.
Colossians 1:21-23 says,
“And although you at one time were estranged and alienated from Him and were of hostile attitude of mind…Yet now has [Christ, the Messiah] reconciled [you to God] in the body of His flesh through death, in order to present you holy and faultless and irreproachable in His [the Father’s] presence. [And this He will do] provided that you continue to stay with and in the faith [in Christ], well-grounded and settled and steadfast, not shifting or moving away from the hope [which rests on and is inspired by] the glad tidings (the Gospel), which you heard and which has been preached [as being designed for and offered without restrictions] to every person under heaven…”
The Message translation says it like this,
“You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. You don’t walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message…”
A couple of things jump out at me from these verses:
#1. I/We all have a desire in life to be faultless. We blame our lateness on crazy drivers instead of the extra time we spent on Facebook that morning. We blame our financial woes on our government and the economy instead of our lack of stewardship. We blame our faulty relationships on other people being crazy instead of our lack of true love. Then we stand back and think, “Yep, since they are all to blame, that leaves me as the only existing faultless person on the planet. Again.” But according to these verses, and a bit of common sense, I know that I am to blame. I am filled with fault and can only find irreproachability through Christ standing in my place, through death on the cross. This is the ONLY way.
#2. What do I do with a gift like this? I still myself, no longer shifting and struggling and tugging and pulling. I widen my stance and cling to steadfastness, focusing in on the hope inspired by the good news of, Jesus, my blame replacement.
There…that’s a flash of my thoughts on a warm Nashville summer day in the park. Now back to playing under the willow tree with my tiny curly headed bit of laughter…