…when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. Luke 15:20
Lord, You are my Father (and a consuming fire).
To draw near to You is to encounter the warmth of Your love, and the intense heat of Your wrath towards sin. I cannot draw near to You without retreating from sin in my heart. This is the delightful and deadly journey into Your presence, and any personal purity I experience is only a consequence of that journey… a continual casting away of the worthless and temporal in exchange for that timeless place before You.
It is an illusion and a lie to believe that intimacy with You is costly, when nothing compares to the unspeakable joy of being lost and found by my Father the King (who is also a consuming fire).
Thank you for rejoicing and running… towards me.
– a grateful son
Romans 7:24-25 “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Can you think of something that you were never any good at — -but wanted to be? You tried your best. You took lessons. You read books. You practiced. But it was no use — you were never going to be any good at it.
Baseball was that way for me in the second grade. Just no good. The coach did everyone a favor by leaving me on the bench most games. I got a “hit” once when the ball bounced off of my knee on a line drive to second base. I still remember the cheers from the stands as they carried me off the field — I had never heard cheers before!
In Romans 7 Paul is expressing his frustration over sin. He wants to eradicate it completely, but as he grows, he continues to discover sin in his life like a multi-layered garbage dump.
Dear Christian, sin will be resident within you until death opens the door to heaven. You will hate things you say and things you do. You will wonder how a holy God could still love a person like you. You have not finished sinning. And there’s more to come. Much more.
Can you feel Paul’s anguish? “O wretched man that I am!” More importantly, can you exercise Paul’s faith that ultimate deliverance will come through Jesus Christ?
The truth is none of us are going to completely master the ins and outs of a holy life. We need to know that our failures cannot keep us from the love of God.
Someday you and I will be carried off the ballfield of life by his angels — kind of like that second grader who was no good at baseball. And there will be cheers from the welcoming saints in heaven’s stands. But the loudest cheering will come from the throne!