Over the past week, we have talked about how God calls us to obey, to trust, to pray . . . and yes, even to struggle to understand, even in times of trial. Remember the words from
Romans 8:10-11 (ceb):
If Christ is in you, the Spirit is your life because of God’s righteousness, but the body is dead because of sin. If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your human bodies also, through his Spirit that lives in you.
So I’d like to pose a nal question. Why Christian? Blaise Pascal, a seventeenth-century Christian philosopher, contem- plated the happiness of humanity. He contended that we contain an “in nite abyss [that] can be lled only with an in nite and immutable object; in other words by God.” Pascal speaks of the God-shaped hole in our lives.
What is the driving force behind what you do? Is it the Christian call to service and Christ’s reign, here and now? The call to service isn’t about rejecting the world; it’s about trans- forming it, sanctifying it. It’s a call to bring forth glimpses of the kingdom here on earth.
Ultimately, the choice that Christ calls us to is a joy subtler but more profound. The kingdom of God is far greater than what the world gives. It is of the spirit. We are Christians called to serve, not because we fear hell re and brimstone but because we feel a joy that is greater than any we have ever known.
Why Christian? Not because it’s easy or comfortable. Certainly not that. But because it lls the God-shaped hole— because it speaks words of life.
God of all, give us strength to follow you. We ask you to ll the holes in our lives and speak to us your words of life. Amen and amen.
Genesis 25 marks the beginning of the narrative of Jacob’s life. The theme that stands out in starkest relief is the election of Jacob to be the heir to the promise—Jacob, who has no claim to be the heir except that which the grace of God bestows. Psalm 25 re ects a general sense of alienation. Yet the psalmist expresses con dence in following God’s paths and truths. Paul sets out two polarities in Romans 8: those who “live according to the flesh and those who “live according to the Spirit,” a cosmic duality related to the rule of sin and the rule of God. The parable of the sower and the seeds in Matthew 13 is an object lesson in the mysterious grace of God.
• Read Genesis 25:19-34. When in your life have you experienced favoritism from a parent, friend, coworker, or boss that created division?
• Read Psalm 119:105-112. The psalmist promises to follow God’s law every day in every aspect of his life—despite his circumstances. When did you last renew and affirm your commitment to God through daily obedience?
• Read Romans 8:1-11. How have you attempted to fill the “God-shaped” hole in your life?
• Read Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23. What kind of soil are you? How bountiful a harvest do you produce for God?
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