By L&T Columnist Gary Damron
Our daughter has a blog in which she’s been reflecting on growing up with older brothers. When she was small, the whole family went on a rafting trip which ended dramatically, and though very young, she’s still able to recall many details of that eventful day. A TobyMac song which says, “whatever happened to the passion I could live for” always challenges me to keep searching for new adventure.
If the Good News of Jesus no longer excites us as believers, we need to repent of the doldrums in order to carry his inspired message. Even worse, we’ve all run into folks who somehow get clear “off message.”
In front of the Alamo in San Antonio, on street corners in San Francisco and at funerals in Kansas there are people holding signs and yelling at passers-by that they’re going to hell. What we need to share with non-believers is that Christ came to inaugurate a different Kingdom, and that we can be part of that here and now.
Right after his temptation in the wilderness, Jesus began his ministry in his home country of Galilee. He went to the synagogue in Nazareth and opened the scroll to a passage from Isaiah 61: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).
All are impoverished, physically or spiritually, with a deep sense of need. We all need deliverance from habits, ideas or mindsets that bind us. Conversely, imprisoned people who accept Christ’s love and forgiveness can be liberated though they remain behind bars. Christ brings healing of our spiritual eyesight so we can see more clearly God’s working in our world. Next, he offers justice for the oppressed, and finally announces the Lord’s favor – his grace which motivates everyone who trusts him.
Several years ago, as my wife was contemplating a job change, one song on a Christian radio station spoke to her reluctance about its difficulties. The lyrics, “all who wade out in are swept away … answer the call to risk it all …,” were a metaphor for her jumping in, knowing the pitfalls but trusting God with the outcome.
The disciples asked the risen Christ, “’Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’” His reply was, “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth’” (Acts 1:6, 8).
We mustn’t be content to loll in the warm comfortable hot tub of ease. With the Spirit’s help we can plunge with abandon into the clear, rushing river of God’s grace. It’s time to stop soaking and start sharing his kingdom.