Every part of God’s story really does whisper the name of Jesus. Jesus is God’s way of getting us back to the beginning place. You see, the end of God’s story brings us back to the beginning: grace.
The beauty of grace is that we are privileged to live in the place of beginnings. Sure, we age; our hair falls out or turns gray, or does a little of both. We wrinkle, our joints ache, and we become forgetful. Technology becomes a thing for “a younger generation,” and we like our old gadgets just the way they are. The world spins on faster and faster as we begin to move a little slower. Seasons come and go, and with them so we begin to lose loved ones. Little by little, life as we know it seems to take more than it gives. And yet, for those who have decided to live in the beginning place, even loss echoes hope. For loss is only an indication that we are getting closer to another part of this story. Living in the place of beginnings means . . .
I experience God’s best every day in a new and fresh way,
his presence is as real and relevant as the day I crossed the line of faith,
and even the sun bursts forth on the horizon piercing the dark each day as God’s way of saying that his love is steadfast and his mercies are new every morning.
If this is the case, then even the struggles of this life point me to the place where all things are forever made new. Our very decay points to a restored day, a day when all will be as it once was long ago in a garden . . . forever more.
We must now ask ourselves a very important question: How do we live in this place of beginnings, which has been made possible through the person and work of Jesus?
The beginning is where God desires us to live. It is a place, a life, that doesn’t take temporary reservations, there are no tourists, nor timeshares. Let’s be clear. Responsibility rests on the shoulders of every follower of Jesus to be accountable for the life we live.
A sad and often repeated story is that we are given freedom from sin and made new creations in Christ Jesus, but then spend far too much energy wasting that freedom. Could you imagine an individual wasting away in a prison for some horrendous crime? There is no hope of parole or time reduced. This person’s atrocities were so heinous that they will never breathe free air again. Now imagine that person being granted a complete pardon. And not only that, but a benefactor has offered them an incredible way to begin a new life through employment opportunities, housing, and all in a city unfamiliar with the person’s past crimes.
This person has every opportunity, through no merit of their own, to experience and live freedom every single day. But what if that person wasted the freedom by chasing their former life. And, eventually, found themselves committing another crime that would compromise their freedom. It’s as if they rebelled against the very opportunity given. The choice was to live free, or choose to live inconsistently with the gift of freedom and suffer the consequences.
We, all of us, got ourselves kicked out of the garden. The creation narrative is the story of us. And yet, God made a way for us to begin again, and to live in that beautiful place of beginnings, and all he asks of us is that we receive and pursue this newfound freedom. I believe that there are four steps to establish a sense of rhythm renewal.
Next week we will explore step one and two.