Monday, October 28, 2013

Trusting the Paradox

Those who receive God’s 
overflowing kindness and 
the gift of His approval 
will reign in life.
Romans 5:17

Those who receive will...reign in life.
I am convinced this is one of the more
powerful promises the Lord gives to us.
The life in this verse isn't about breathing.
We don't reign by simply breathing.
We reign by allowing the life of Christ
to truly come alive in us through the Holy Spirit.

If we are to be those set apart, 
shining a light in the darkness, 
 a city set on a hill, 
then we must know how to reign in life.
We must know that God has equipped us
for the everyday, practical, 
feet-on-the-floor kind of living.
It is not talking about religious ideas,
or spending an hour each week in church,
or getting saved and going to heaven.

People are looking to see whether we are real.
They are looking to see how we handle "difficult."
How do we handle betrayal, rejection, offenses?
What do we do when it all looks broken?
Reigning in life is knowing how to resolve conflict,
solving problems that have no natural solutions,
 keeping marriages together that look hopeless,
leading by serving and laying down our lives,
staying in the game when we appear to be losing,
trusting that mercy triumphs over judgment.

I don't know that we can really know 
what it means to reign in life
until we have come to a place where
our natural self is no longer able to reign.
Where it looks like maybe 
loss is greater than gain,
and death is stronger than life.
Jesus tells us the most paradoxical
and counterintuitive truths:
we find when we lose
and we live when we die.
In this place, we must fall upon the mercy, 
forgiveness and grace of God.
Our only other option: simply breathing.
His arms catch us in our fall upward,
 and we are free to let Him
love us and live His life through us.
Reigning begins in this most
uncomfortable place of weakness.
May we recognize that our 
sense of loss and death
is actually the pathway to reigning life.
There is a raw reality confronting us,
asking us if we will trust the paradox.
Loss and death are not the end of the story.
Those who receive His kindness and 
overflowing love will reign in life.

Arise, Jerusalem, and shine like the sun;

The greatness of the Lord is shining on you!
Other nations will be covered by darkness,

But the Lord will shine on you;

The brightness of His presence 
will be with you.
Isaiah 60: 1,2

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