Inspiration, Encouragement & Instructions
". . . let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
I have been reading through and reflecting on the IF:Equip Bible study daily readings for the last few months. I have only posted my reflections on our Local IF: Alexandria Facebook page, but realized they are getting really long and maybe I should be posting them here for easier readying and perhaps so that others can find some encouragement through what I have found the readings and discussions bringing out in my writing.
Today's text was Mark 14:66-72.
This is such a short but rich passage, a direct shot to heart. Which kind of reminds me of the Bon Jovi song lyrics, "shot through the heart/but your to blame/ you give love a bad name/ I play my part you and you play your game/you give love a bad name. And though Bon Jovi was far from singing about my relationship with Jesus, I think that one could make an interesting correlation between my acts of denying Christ or denying my true identity in him and the lyrics above. Because when I choose to deny Christ in my life or the lives of others around me both, my heart and Christ's heart are broken. And my ability to spread the good news of Jesus with others can be hindered(in a way, giving God and his love a bad name).
But unlike the blaming voice of the Bon Jovi lyrics, God doesn't send us into condemnation or blame, he calls us gently back to himself so that we don't have to live in guilt but, instead, be renewed through repentance and grace. This too we see in Peter's life. After his denial--3 times showing this denial was quite intentional, not an accident--Peter wept because he was shot through the heart with the reality of what his words were doing to his testimony and to his heart. But rather than continuing on his path of denial, he wept, turned and began to live into the identity Jesus had spoken over him: "I say, to you Peter, that you will be the rock on which I build my church..." (Matthew 16:18).
God is faithful, he will also do the same for us. When we come to realize the areas in which we have gone our own way, He doesn't want us to live in a frame of mind of blame. Instead, he shows us that even in our intentional and repeated acts of denying to live up to our identity in Him, he can soften our hearts and we can find again our purposes and fulfillment in his identity given to us. But there may be some weeping involved. And that is a good thing.
And if Jesus were singing Bon Jovi's song, he wold say say, "I play my part and you play your game/but I give love, and grace and weeping a good name..." The Devil would like us to live and wallow in our self-blame, to tell ourselvs we are giving love a bad name, but Jesus says, I cover over all of that with grace--through the cross. I GIVE LOVE A GOOD NAME. I GIVE YOU A GOOD NAME. Return to me and live into the identity I have given you so that you will not be overcome by the world, but that you will overcome the world through living out your identity in Christ.
Her family and friends know her as, Jaci. She is the wife of a pastor, a mom of four, writing and communications education instructor, a visionary and an avid runner. As a firm believer in the power and effectiveness of the body of Christ united together to live out the Great Commission, she holds fast to this verse, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). Of equal importance to her are these words, "...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1).
Posts in the Run for Your Life, series: