Monday, April 1, 2013


"Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders.  Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."

I Peter 5:5-7 (ESV)

Today, was a 10-mile run, so I chose a longer passage than what I'm writing about.  If you have time, read the rest of the chapter.  You won't regret it.  There are certainly many beautiful, encouraging, and rebuking words in these verses, but I will try my best to keep it brief.  As a soon-to-be college graduate (only one month left!), I am going through a very big time of transition in my life.  Ever since I can remember, I have been going to school.  And suddenly that's all about to change.  I'm expected to have a job, pay off my student loans, maybe move to a new city (or state), and take care of my own taxes!  While I have had a taste of adult responsibility, the next few months of my life are the great unknown, and they are terrifying.  I have heard sermons and Bible studies about this passage many times before, but this new mindset of mine made me view the verses in a completely different light.

Oftentimes, Christian split this passage into multiple pieces.  We hear the sermon about the first section: humility and the sermon about the middle: worrying.  It bothered me at first that both of these (seemingly) unrelated topics were smashed into the same thought, but the more I thought about it, the more it began to make a lot of sense.

Lets start at the end with casting all of our anxieties on God.  I have a lot of anxieties.  I want to find a good job, live somewhere nice, and be able to pay my loans and bills.  There isn't anything wrong with being concerned about the future, but all of these anxieties revolve around a central theme.  I want to be the best.  I want to be successful.  I am afraid of falling short of society's standards for being a success.  In short, I am incredibly proud, and failing would be too painful to bear.

God says to cast those cares on him.  Because first, God is all-knowing and sovereign.  He knows where I will live, who I will marry, and when it's all going to go down.  And most importantly, he's going to make sure that I get there in one piece.  Second, when I cast my cares on him, he's the one doing all of the work.  Hence, the whole "humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God" part.  It's hard to take credit for something that you had no control over.  When you give it to God, it's a lot easier to be humble.

Pride is ugly, and I don't want it in my life.  But it's also really easy to fall into that pit.  The first step to conquering pride is realizing that it's not yours to conquer.  They aren't your battles to fight.  They aren't your problems to solve.  So when God comes through with the victory, he gets all of his due glory.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him, should not perish but have eternal life.

-John 3:16 (ESV)

This is quite possibly one of the most famous verses in the Bible.  It is simple, yet it encompasses so much.  For someone who grew up in the church, it is easy to quote this verse without really thinking about what it means.  Today as I ran and meditated on this verse, I began to realize just how unbelievable its message is.

God, the holy, loving, perfect, and righteous creator, loved his creation.  When you think about his love, think about the love a parent has for a child.  It is incomparable to any other love.  Despite a child's shortcomings, disrespect, and rebellion, there is nothing that can stop a parent from loving him.  And despite all of that, a parent would give anything to protect him.  God loved the world the same way.

God loved the world, the dark, sinful, rebellious, lying, cheating, killing, raping, hating, biting, spiting, prideful, narcissistic, and all around terrible people of this world.  God's creation, who turned their backs on him within the first generation of their existence, hated him, yet he still loved them.

How much did God love the world?  He loved us so much that he willingly and purposefully gave his only son, his perfect son whom he loved.  And his son willingly went.  Christ became the perfect sacrifice for a world that was so lost in their sin.  One sin deserves eternal death in the Lake of Fire, and he who knew no sin took the punishment for every single sin of the world that was ever committed and ever will be committed.  He died on the cross.  He was buried for three days.  And then he rose again. In doing so, death had bruised his heel, but he had crushed its head.

Any man, woman, or child who believes this.  Who accepts it.  Who professes to believe it with their mouth. Anyone who believes will be saved from eternal damnation in Hell, eternal darkness, separated from God.  Instead, they are given a gift so shockingly undeserved.  They are given eternity, infinity, and incomprehensible amount of time in the presence of God.  They are given eternal life.

This verse is so humbling.  I realize how insignificant my life is.  I realize how selfish, narcissistic, and prideful I am.  When I revel in the unbelievable beauty of God's grace, love, selflessness, mercy, and might, it is so clear that I am but a helpless sinner saved by grace.