Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday, March 19th

I Am Lazarus: I am going from rags to riches!

Like Lazarus we are often bound with the rags, residues or remains of life. Sometimes just one rag wraps around us and binds us and sometimes many. Sometimes we obsess on one thought or one feeling, some times on many. We can be bound in part or in full by guilt and sorrow over sins, by the feeling that life is unfair and unjust, by feelings of unworthiness, by the fear of loss, by the fear that our secret sins may be exposed, or by the fear of illness and death. There are so many hurtful, harmful and binding facets of life that can impinge on our thoughts and feelings and either keep us from doing that which is good and joyful, or drive us to doing that which is bad: into seeking revenge, hiding ourselves, stealing, mocking, hating, blaming others, or blaming God. This is death. This is the tomb. This is darkness. And Jesus said, “I have come into the word as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (NIV John 12:46).

With belief in Jesus, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who works in us to unwind the rags that bind our lives and to transform us into the children of God. “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13 NIV). God works in us “to will and to act according to his good purposes. (Philippians 2:13)”: to change our rags into His Riches. The process of transformation begins when the rags that bind us are unwound. This unwinding process may happen quickly for some rags and slowly for others. Some rags will come off with a little tug and others will require great effort. Our many rags of sin and guilt can be stripped away from us by the power of the shed blood of Christ. All of our sins can be hung on the Cross of Christ, since we know that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NIV). The rags of fear can be stripped from us by receiving the perfect love of God, for perfect love drives out fear. (1 John 4:18). Our feelings that life is unfair can be stripped away from us when we understand “…that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV). We must take hold of these truths and forgetting what is behind, press on toward the goal ahead, the goal of transformation. (Philippines 3:12-13).

Because Christ died for us while we were yet sinners and the Holy Spirit works within us, we can clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14) and put on the armor of light (Romans 13:12). We can seek to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12). We can put on the whole armor of God, including the breastplate of His righteousness, which gives us peace; the shield of faith, which can extinguish the flaming arrows of evil, of anguish, of self-doubt, of fear; the helmet of salvation, which can protect our minds against thoughts of guilt and unworthiness; and, the sword of the sprit which is the word of God, which can guide us as we become the sons and daughters of light, the children of God.

Lord help us to exchange the rags that bind our lives, our grave clothes, for the riches that you have prepared for use. Amen


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