It’s funny how God works, nothing is ever wasted or without a kingdom based reason. I got a traffic ticket – for NOT making an illegal U-Turn at a traffic light – and I wasn’t thrilled. I especially lost my road side enthusiasm when the police officer raced back to his police car to ticket me after I mentioned I was heading back from a bible study. Hey, he asked me where I was coming from … so I told him. Yet, he didn’t seem to like the answer!
So, this past weekend I had the pleasure of spending 6 hours in a defensive driving class … and was reminded a lot about people. We don’t like to be corrected, in fact, we often refuse to accept the correction. Each person in that class was innocent … even the dude caught going 94 MPH in a 70 MPH zone. Even the lady who got 2 tickets in the last 3 weeks (and has taken care of neither one of them) she too was innocent. Yes, even the 17 year old who was going “2 MPH” over the limit – with a fine for 10 MPH over the limit – he too was completely innocent!
Look, I do traffic duty at my school – each morning and afternoon for the last 15 years! I’ve asked parents to slow down, use the crosswalk, yield to pedestrians, not park in fire lanes, pull forward to the front, exit to the right, etc … and I’ve been verbally abused, chest bumped, threatened, ignored, cursed at, peppered with short jokes, given the finger, mocked, cursed by teenagers from the back seat, AND NEARLY RUN OVER INTENTIONALLY … MANY times! Not like once in a while … but yes, these types of things happen daily!
Ummmm, people don’t like correction much!
This is where people who don’t fully understand the grace message say, “Grace is a license to sin, with “pre-paid sin” people are free to do whatever and won’t listen to God’s correction.” Given the human element with traffic as described, I can see their fleshly concern … but for those truly in Christ, that concern isn’t valid. I’ve addressed that issue in great detail with these 2 entries:
SIN: Chocolate or Dog Poop
JESUS: “Go Put Away Your Laundry”
Yet, there is one other factor that people don’t fully understand … that you and I DIED at the cross WITH Jesus. The only way for us to be released from the requirements, obligations, and yoke of the law, is to literally die to it (Romans 6:1-2; 6:8-14; and 7:1-4)!
At the cross, you and I flat out died to our sin, and we now belong to another in order to bear fruit for the kingdom. Our personal rights were transferred from sin to Him! From slaves to sin to slaves to His righteousness (Romans 6:18)! Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” He goes on to say in Galatians 5:24, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh along with its passions and desires.” I hate to say it, but you and I don’t get a will or choice … nope, we are in His eternal will!
Dead men don’t talk. They really don’t. They don’t argue when corrected, and they don’t curse at you when you ask them to drive slower. But, here is what changes us from understanding that you and I died at the cross. Our time here on earth, isn’t about us. When we understand that God loves your mailman, paper boy, mother in-law, attorney, chiropractor, neighbor in jail for doing really bad things, AND your dentist … as much as He loves you … our earthly perspective changes. We understand that He will use our pain for our own good … and for the good of the kingdom (see entires Short Stack of Pancakes and Nails in Your Tire).
It was the Lord’s will to have Jesus suffer (Isaiah 53:10). Why? Because it had a kingdom based, eternal purpose. I’m NOT saying that God causes your suffering – NO – but I am saying that the pain in your life has a kingdom purpose. More than likely, because He loves someone else enough to bring them across your path. Your pain and trouble is purposed to bless someone ELSE that He also loves … EQUALLY to you. We died, He gets to use us as He desires to advance His kingdom. Armed with His Spirit, you and I get to be the VESSELS that bring His love, hope, and purpose to His other kids!
Look, dead people don’t:
- Talk back or complain
- Rely on their own power
- Worry about offending
- Care what others think
- Choose their own way
- Get swayed by their emotions
- Compromise their beliefs
- Negotiate with evil
Dead people also … don’t sin. There is just no need for it. Dead people realize they are alive only in Him, and sin has lost its grip on us.
The disciples were transformed from big time fraidy cats to bold/courageous kingdom shakers when they finally understood the cross. When they finally realized WHO they were, WHO they belonged to, and WHO they were purposed for … nothing was more important than spreading truth, hope, and HIM. And, this transformation came despite the cost of their very lives. True transformation in our walk (Crooked Thinking) comes from realizing that your time here isn’t about you.
Nope, it’s about the kingdom.
Romans 7:1-4 (NIV)
Released From the Law, Bound to Christ
7 Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. 3 So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.
4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.