An Advent Resolution: Get a grip!

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12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong. 14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. 16 Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. 17 You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears. Hebrews 12:12-17 (NLT)

396      Renew your firm resolution to live your Christian life right now, at every moment and in all circumstances.  (1)

In a little over a month, people will be making sincere resolutions, that will be broken in a month or two.  Some will simply give up, others will be forced by life to change their resolution, until it is no longer visible.  A few will keep them, losing the weight, doing better at their work, spending more time with their family, making a determined try to be at church every week, and Bible Study as well!  Even perhaps, double their time in prayer and God’s word.

As I came across the reading from Hebrews this morning, I was already thinking about how this season of advent is one of rededication, of a renewed commitment.  It is a penitential (2) season, a time of reflection, of prayer, of admitting our need to remember we are God’s children, and that Jesus will return.  This passage is a great one to reflect on, in this case. these are the things we haven’t done well. THe author of Hebrews calls the church to repentance with a clarity that is still amazing,

  • We haven’t walked the paths that God would have us walk
  • We haven’t supported those who are spiritually weak or lame,
  • We need to be better living at peace with others,
  • We need to see that our lives are set apart for walking with God, to seeing Him in our lives
  • We need to watch out for the poison of bitterness, which can corrupt us.
  • We need to understand and treasure what our “birthright” is; what is promised to us when God cleanses us and claims us as His children in the sacramental waters of baptism.
  • We need to realize that life is too short, that tossing aside all the blessings of God will have a consequence.  It is not a scare tactic to describe a time when tears and begging will not replace what has been tossed aside.

Do we even feel remorse in reading this list?  Does it bring us to tears to realize how we have failed, how we haven’t live as those who are God’s children? Or are our minds already trying to justify ourselves, just accepting our sin as some sort of undeniable reality?   Are we ashamed of how we behaved, does it rock us to consider it?

If it doesn’t, how do we see salvation?  Do we not celebrate with as much joy our salvation?  Do we fail to see how incredible the love of God is, in Jesus delivering us from power of sin, satan and assuring that death has no lasting sting?   Is this why our worship is weak?

It’s time to get a hold of why we need to be saved, why we need to be granted repentance, and a faith in God which calls us near, so that He can heal us, so that He can transform us, so that our salvation is no longer neglected.  To do what Hebrews 12 starts the chapter with,

1  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.  Hebrews 12:1-2a (NLT)

We so need to focus on Jesus, to trust Him, to let Him work on our lives.  He is the one who brought us to life in faith, who redeemed us.  We need to remember He is the one who will perfect us, work with us, comfort us, and yes cleanse us.  Restoring us, calling us back to trusting in Him.

Such a season of advent brings strength ot our lives of prayer, not because we are holy, but because our holiness finds its source, its life as we cling to Him.

May we remember we cry, “Lord, have mercy” and “Lord Save Us”…. that we may cry it all the more often, and be sure it is always answered.

So hear is your resolution:  Get a grip, make your resolution, to realize the presence and work of God in our lives.  AMEN

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1546-1547). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

(2) A Penitential Season (like Advent and Lent) is a time of repentance, of sorrow for our sins (both individual and corporate) tempered with the expectation of the coming of grace

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on November 29, 2014, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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