Are you just patched up?

For years, because of budget limits, we just kept patching up the old heating and cooling systems at our Christian school property.  “Bubble gum and Band-Aids” was my name for our ‘maintenance plan.’  We fixed a motor here, a burner there, a relay switch again – and for a decade we made it work. The nearly $100, 000 required for new equipment was out of reach. There were failures of equipment when the load was greatest. We knew the old units were inefficient. The biggest concern for the 30 year old equipment was that one day there would be a breakdown beyond repair.  I was a joyful Pastor on that day when the resources for replacements finally became available.  In one week all the old units were torn out and replaced with new ones. No more worries, at least for now!

who you are in christAre you trying to live your Christian life with incremental adjustments to your life, a kind of  “Bubble gum and Band-Aids” approach to discipleship? Are you patching up your prayer life, only to sense a lack of worship? Then, you make a valiant effort to get to church, only to find that you are unable to focus?  So you work on fixing that, only to become more aware of temptation… and so it goes.  Jesus gave us words that some find hard to understand to address this very issue. “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.” (Mark 2:20-22, NIV)

What does the Master mean?  We cannot experience the fullness of God’s salvation by patching ourselves up here and there, by trying to squeeze a little “Jesus” into our lives that are still lived around the values and loves of the old Self. We must be made new, transformed by the power of God, so that we are fit to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The old religion of sin and guilt is replaced with a whole new experience of love and devotion. A lot of “Christian” teaching is just self-help psychology repackaged. What it comes down to is try harder, think positively, and work on strategies to restrain harmful habits.   There is nothing wrong with working at being a ‘better’ person.  But, that is not to confused with the Life of Christ.

The Gospel is the message of the Kingdom come, of a whole new way to know God – one that does not rely on doing good things, but rather receives the grace of the One, Jesus Christ, who IS Good. It’s not an earned accomplishment, it is a gift of faith. It is not about patching ourselves us but about the work of the Spirit transforming us from the inside out. “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did. And God has given us the task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others.” (2 Corinthians 5:16-19, NLT)

The Christian life is about glory not guilt.  We are people fully assured, because of Christ’s work on our behalf, of God’s love and acceptance.  From that Truth we grow into beautiful people, whole and holy!

Are you new in Christ or just patched up?  On this Monday morning,  let the Spirit make you new.  You need not settle for religion when God holds out the offer of a relationship!

Here is a word from the Word. “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17, NIV) “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” (Colossians 2:21-23, NIV)

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1-2, NIV)

____________

This Is Amazing Grace

 

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness?

Whose love is mighty and so much stronger?

The King of Glory, the King above all kings!

 

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder?

Who leaves us breathless in awe and wonder?

The King of Glory, the King above all kings!

 

Who brings our chaos back into order?

Who makes the orphan a son and daughter?

The King of Glory, the King of Glory!

 

Who rules the nations with truth and justice,

Shines like the sun in all of its brilliance?

The King of Glory, the King above all kings!

 

This is amazing grace,

This is unfailing love,

That You would take my place,

That You would bear my cross.

You laid down Your life

That I would be set free,

Oh Jesus, I sing for all that You’ve done for me.

 

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.

Worthy is the King who conquered the grave.

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.

Worthy is the King who conquered the grave.

Worthy, worthy, worthy!

Jeremy Riddle | Josh Farro | Phil Wickham

© 2012 Phil Wickham Music (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)

Seems Like Music (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)

CCLI License # 810055

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s