“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared…” – I Corinthians 15:1-5a
In Which We Triumph By Surrendering
Submission is the key to understanding and exercising divine authority. Not merely submitting to God, but also to other humans — even those we might be tempted to count our inferiors — in order to serve them.
Crucially, our service must not spring from codependency or a need to be liked, but from a single-minded devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ, who made Himself a servant for our sake.
For only if we serve as Jesus served can we triumph as He triumphs.
Memory Verse: “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.” — 2 Corinthians 4:5 (NKJV)
Richard Foster: Celebration of Discipline
- 8. Submission
- 9. Service
Donald Whitney: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life
- 7. Serving
Eugene Peterson: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction
- 5. Service: “Like Servants . . . We’re Watching & Waiting”
- 15. Community: “Like Costly Anointing Oil Flowing Down Head & Beard”
Ruth Haley Barton: Sacred Rhythms
In Which Christ Comes Back to Judge and Remake the Earth, and We Receive Our Reward
The End. Christ’s Return is the completion of our theology. Faith will be made sight, all nations will bow before Him, and we will dwell in the fulness of the Father’s eternal presence as His kingdom comes at last. Our sin will be no more, for the Spirit’s work of salvation and sanctification is finished as His bride is conformed to His character.
Though not everyone will be happy about it…
In Which We Reject God’s Dominion, And Pay The Price
When God created the world, He gave us (mankind) dominion over all the plants and animals. But it was not an unconditional grant: rather, we have a responsibility to take His already “very good” creation to the next level, by filling the earth with His image.
And if we fail in that responsibility, the price is high…
[Today’s story, the conclusion to the Scribe of Nicodemus, is actually the one I originally intended to write (since I write more-or-less stream of consciousness, it is easy to get sidetracked!). The impetus for this project was the fact that Jesus seemed to expect Nicodemus to understand what he said in John 3. I found myself wondering what kind of response Jesus was looking for, and whether Nicodemus — or anyone! — could have handled it better.
I thought about writing myself into the encounter with Jesus, but I wanted a character who hadn’t already studied this passage a dozen or more times. On the other hand, there had to be some plausible way for the character to improve on Nicodemus. This led me to the idea of Nicodemus’ personal secretary: bright, educated, young, and in a position to benefit from Nicodemus’ example. I chose the name Samuel because, frankly, it was one of the few Jewish names I could spell! Similarly, I mentioned Gamaliel at the beginning simply to burnish Samuel’s resume. Their climactic encounter at the end of Part I — and the significance of his namesake — caught me completely by surprise.
As will today’s narrative, because as of right now I have no idea how Samuel will react when he meets Jesus…]
I wait in the darkness, shivering — not from the cold. Most would call what I’m doing disloyal; some would call it blasphemy. I can’t help it; I have to know. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can barely think. My familiar world — everything I’ve ever believed in — is hanging by a thread. I’m terrified that the thread might snap; yet, a part of me is hoping that it will. That just maybe there’s something bigger, brighter, and more beautiful awaiting at the bottom of this seemingly dark chasm I’m dangling over.
But just when I’m ready to give up hope, He comes…
Is it time? To die?
“Always. Every day is a good day to die.”
Tell me what I must do
“Place your happiness and your life here on the altar, then step away.”
Shouldn’t I tie it down?
“You cannot tie cords so tight you cannot untie them. Only I can do that.”
Very well. Father, I give you my life, my happiness, my will and myself. [laying it on the altar]. I will do only that which I see you doing; when I do not see, I will ask and wait.
“Do you mean that with your whole heart?”
Probably not. But I mean it with all the heart I have, and can give. I give up the right to fight my own battles, or even to pick them. The right to defend myself, and shame my enemies. The right to, well, do whatever I want. What I want; the right to make independent decisions that are heedless of God’s desires.
All this and more, I give to you, O my God.
“That is enough. Now step away.”
[Read More] for my experience of being crucified with Christ.