Embracing life. The past Friday’s Five Minute Friday prompt was “Embrace.” I initially had an idea I wanted to write about which was on embracing that following Jesus is simple, the concept of a simple life. I am reading a book by Richard Foster that is on the topic and talks about how it is paradoxical. Simple yet complex. That the disciplines of the Christian faith are simple, yet they are hard. The practicality of that paradox came out with the bump in the road of life happening before I even set down to write the prompt and I realized how the call to embrace life is one of those choices that has to be made. What life am I embracing? A life of ease? A life without the Lord Jesus at the center? A life with the Lord Jesus at the center? A life where I have embraced that I was redeemed from a judgment of death to a life of freedom and eternity with God Almighty. A life saved to live for Him.
Life will always have ups and downs, potholes, waves, curve balls – our society has a lot of different ways to describe when life doesn’t go according to “our plan”. I am challenged to look at myself how do I choose to embrace life? When life gets hard what is my default. Is it to bury my head in the sand? Is it to fill my time with distractions? Or will I pause and pray. The word embrace implies the holding onto, the grasping of. What do I want to grasp on to? As I process all of this more, I want to embrace the life of following Jesus.
The world sees the outward. The outer shell. It sees how we act. How we look. How we talk. How we respond. The world does not see the heart. The inner man’s dialog. The inner man’s true thoughts. Scripture tells us “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b (NKJV)
I am challenged to make the connection more and more between the heart (inner man) and what occurs for the world to see. There is a connection, the more I allow the light of Jesus, the Holy Spirit to work in me the more the inside should be looking like the outside and look more like Jesus. There is a tension between when life is smooth and life is rough to follow Jesus. Is this easy when life is going smooth? What about when life is rough? I don’t think its easier one way or the other, when the walk of life is bumpy our need for the Lord God Almighty often we see our need to stay embraced but not always. Sometimes we don’t want to face the struggle that is on the path but rather avoid it, go around it, ignore it, anything but lean into the tension of the bump and the unknown and the uncomfortable and allow God to use it to perfect us and show His glory to the world around us. On the same token when the path of life is smooth often we think we can handle this thing we call life rather than be thankful for the reprieve of the difficult and maintain a humble stance.
One of the definitions of embrace is to “put on” (Webster 1828). The definition brings to mind Colossians 3, where Paul talks about putting off the ways of the world and putting on the things of Christ, to “put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” Col. 3:12-14 (NKJV)
“If you then were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on things on the earth.” Col. 3:1-2 (NKJV)
Simple. But not easy.
Follow. Obey. Be in the Word.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Col. 3:17 (NKJV)