Devotional: June 4, 2021
It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.
Ephesians 2: 1-6 The Message
What image comes to mind when you think of sin? One visual image used by many theologians and scholars is “missing the mark.” Picture an arrow, shot by an archer, which travels swiftly towards a classic “bullseye” target. However, once it is near to arriving at the target, it zips right by it. It misses the target completely. Forget about scoring a bullseye. The archer in question could not even hit the whole target!
That is a picture of how sin works. However, the Message introduces us to a new image here: being caught up in sin is like being stuck in the mud! The imagery used by Eugene Peterson is very descriptive: “mired in that old stagnant life of sin.” One pictures a vehicle, stuck up to the axles, or maybe even the tops of the doors, in filthy, wet slimy mud. The driver can punch the accelerator for everything it's worth, but the vehicle is not going anywhere. It is totally stuck.
Enter Jesus Christ. How does Jesus respond when we are stuck in our sinful ways, mired in stagnant and smelly water and mud? “He picked us up and then set us down in the highest heaven.”
A vehicle badly stuck in mud cannot extricate itself. It will not be freed on its own until it is helped by an outside force.
Theologically, that liberating, freeing force is Jesus Christ. Only through Christ do we become “unstuck.” Only through His love are we freed from the bondage of sin.
When we are stuck in the muck of life, or heading into it, we need to immerse ourselves in His incredible love. Completely submit to the Lord. He wants to lift us up, and carry us to safety. Think of Him as the tow truck or winch that is already there. All we need to do is to make that call. Our sins are forgiven through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We can be rescued from our sins when we call upon His name. He promises that He will save all who call upon His name. Hallelujah and Amen!
Lord, I am in awe of your love for me, and patience with me. When I fail, You pick me up. You do this over, and over again. Forgive me when I succumb to the temptations of the world, convincing myself that my actions are minimal and not that bad. Help me to avoid the temptations which pull me away from You. May my actions lead others towards You, and never away. I pray this prayer in Your Holy name. Amen