As I get to the beginning of a new year and read the world’s lists of resolutions, I can’t help but feel like a bit of a loser: I just don’t seem to care. I have no interest in trying harder in 2015. I have no desire to write out a list of what I want to do better this year.
Sure, I think it would be great if this was the year that I got in shape, or if I made it past the book of Numbers in my Bible reading plan. But I highly doubt that writing these things down on a list—once again—will get me any further than it has in previous years.
What do you think? Am I a loser because I lack motivation to better myself? Is my negativity bringing you down? Shouldn’t I have a little bit more hope in myself to affect change?
If I were to be honest, some days I really like myself and I wake up feeling pretty ok. But being equally honest, other days I really can’t believe I’m alive. There are days when the grace of God is the first thing I think about and other days I just want to cover my head in the pillows and shut the world out – thinking I am not worthy to get out of bed.
It’s Christmas, and my soul is being drawn into The Story of God coming down; of God coming down, not us going up. Christmas is the announcement that God comes to where we are.
Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden where they had perfect fellowship with the Father. Jesus willingly left the glories of Heaven, where He was with the Father, to bring us back.
A good Sunday school answer to the question “Who is Jesus?” is, “Jesus is God.” Now I could give you doctrinal statement after doctrinal statement emphasizing Jesus’ divinity and demonstrate with Scripture and theology how God the Son and God the Father share not only characteristics and mission but also substance and ontology. But I won’t. Because that’s only part of the good news…
In Luke 1, Zechariah the priest was filled with the Holy Spirit and burst into song, overjoyed with the news that the time had come for God to send the Promised Rescuer. These were the lyrics:
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.” —Luke 1:68-79
“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
A while ago my son and I had quite the altercation. After receiving a consequence for unacceptable behavior, he stomped up the stairs loudly informing me (and no doubt the neighbors) of the injustice of his punishment. The stomping was followed by a door slamming, a door that then became a target for his toys as he threw them and shouted, “You are the meanest mommy ever!” etc. etc. etc. I sat on a stool in the bathroom, just listening to him. “I will never ever snuggle with you again! I don’t like you! I wish you weren’t my mommy!”
“Mommy, if there really was a naughty and nice list we would all be on the naughty list.”
This statement from my seven year old had much greater theological depth than she knew. Her observation didn’t come from a manipulative self-pity over being naughty. It came from a clear view of what she knows about the gospel: “None is righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10).
As the traditions of the holidays swirl around my children, my hope is that they will learn to distinguish the law from the gospel. I want my kids to know that God is not another Santa Claus. I long for them to embrace the fact that they are not capable of being good enough to receive anything but coal in their stockings and that our hope for goodness can only be found in the only One capable of perfection.
It’s been a year and a half since I sent an email with the subject line: “Something to Think About”. It’s that very email that started this whole Dropping Keys deal. I wanted to start a blog that would be considered a “safe place” for people who had been oppressed by the law but were never given the freedom of grace. I wanted a place where readers could come and not have to wade through myriads of how-to posts before they read something that would feed their soul. I desired to share the law and gospel in a way that made Christ beautiful and dropped keys of freedom into the hands of beautiful rowdy prisoners. So I called upon a small group of Jesus loving Twitter friends. We had just officially met over lunch at Liberate 2013, and it was apparent that these women had the same passion for sharing Christ through the written word as I did. So, via the above mentioned email, I threw out the idea of putting together a blog that created a place where we could freely write about the outrageousness grace, a place you could freely come, empty handed, and receive.