Posted by: mikenicholsblog | March 28, 2016

beloved and taken captive

Before sharing a few thoughts to encourage your journey this week, I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to Mark Robb (a partner with us in the ministry we have at Journey onWord). For eight days he shared his thoughts with the desire of helping each of us focus on the path which Jesus took from triumphal entry to the cross and His resurrection. It takes great energy to write one article, much less eight, in a short period of time. I trust that you were blessed and encouraged by Mark’s writing.

So, what now? What difference do the life, death and resurrection of our Savior make in our everyday ordinary existence? By the time you read this post, you have likely started back into your normal weekly activities. Stress points will come from all sides, and the pace of our journey can easily drain spiritual energy. We’ll make some mistakes and have some failures this week. There will be some moments of laughter and joy, measured by frustration and disappointment. But what practical difference will the life, death and resurrection of Christ bring to you this week?  It can, and should be the core of how we operate in a stress-filled, fast-paced world.

If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, His death and resurrection give you hope beyond the struggles of today and this week. His life gives all believers a pattern to live by while navigating the “stuff” of our everyday ordinary existence. Mark’s articles last week showed how Christ navigated well on His way to the cross, and gave fresh perspective on what His sacrifice and resurrection mean.  With Christ’s loving sacrificial death and resurrection as a background let me encourage your forward journey this week with two principles.

First, knowing what Christ did for us can only lead to one conclusion. The words come from a book by Brennan Manning called, Abba’s Child. An ordinary man was challenged by a spiritual mentor to view his life this way: “Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. God’s love for you and his choice of you constitute your worth. Accept that, and let it become the most important thing in your life”. If you are in Christ, live this week in the reality of how beloved you are by God. Nothing can separate us from His love! (Romans 8:35-39) When you and I define ourselves as beloved by God, our everyday ordinary activities are viewed through a different lens.

Looking at the life of Christ (even as He headed to the cross), helps me reflect on another principle I gleaned from that same book. Another ordinary man (named Yaconelli) understood his beloved-ness from God and was changed. Notice his perspective; “Taken captive by now, Yaconelli has no space left for anxiety about tomorrow”. The words, taken captive by now, convicted me. As I look at the life of Christ, He was always in the moment. Even hours before the cross, He took time to wash the disciple’s feet. So much of our frustration in life comes from what might happen tomorrow, but being taken captive by now helps you and I rest in a safe place.

In and to our everyday ordinary existence, Christ’s life, death and resurrection mean everything! Our hope for eternity and joy for today come through life in Christ. But do we consciously think about it? As we start back to our ordinary lives today, let us remember that we are beloved by God … look at what He did for you!  Use Christ as your example and be taken captive by the moment. What a difference it will make!

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