I woke up this morning knowing it was going to be a busy day, in the middle of an already busy week. Unfortunately, I also woke up tired - which means I wasn't too excited for the day. Since a last-minute vacation to some exotic beach clearly wasn't a possibility, I made the decision to spend some time in the Word, hoping it would give me what I needed to make it through all that God has planned for this week.
So with coffee in hand, I sat down in the living room and opened my Bible up to Ephesians 2:4-8, which tells us, “But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.”
This passage is one of my favorites because of the simple description the Apostle Paul gives us of not only what God did for Jesus, but of what He does for us as well. And it's exactly what I needed to help adjust my attitude today. Think about it: God raised Jesus from the dead and restored Him to His rightful place in heaven. As a result, Jesus was given all the power and authority that belongs to the Son of God. But that's not all, because Paul tells us that God has done the same thing for us. We've been “raised up” out of our sin, brought into God's family, and made citizens of heaven.
It’s sort of mind-blowing stuff if we really think about it – and for me, one of the first questions that comes to my mind is, “Why?” Why would God do such a thing for someone who was “dead in their sin”? For someone like me – a pastor who can't even muster the right attitude to handle a busy day? Fortunately, Paul gives us the answer in verse 7, where he explains that God did this, “so (God) can always point to us as examples of the incredible wealth of His favor and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us through Christ Jesus.” God does all of this to show the world His mercy, grace, power, and authority. In other words, God saved us SO THAT the world would know what He’s like.
Which brings me to perhaps the most important question we can ask ourselves in all of this: When people look at us, do they see what God wants them to see? Do they see the “incredible wealth of His favor and kindness”? Do they see lives focused on God? Or do they see lives focused on our own plans and desires? In other words, do they see God – or do they see us? When we say that we’re God’s children, then people need to see God in us. They need to see His goodness and grace and mercy and patience and kindness and forgiveness and purity and holiness. They need to see things that will cause them to want to be a part of God’s family as well.
So today, let's thank God for all He's done for us - and then let's ask Him to help us live as an accurate reflection of what He's done, and who He is. Let's remember God's grace and mercy to us, and then let's allow that grace and mercy to flow through us to others - so that the world will truly know the One who made it all possible.