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The writer of Ecclesiastes deduced that the entire world was nothing but filled with vanity.  Sadly, when we are not in Christ, life is indeed full of vanity.  Life is meaningless when we attempt to do it our own, making plans and enjoying the fruit of our labor when our days are numbered.  For those who are in Christ, we can rest with remarkable assurance that our lives are not meaningless.  We live in the light of God’s beautiful face, and He works through our actions.  If there is no transcendent God, then all we do is wander in this land before we are placed in the grave.

Living life with the perspective of Coram Deo (Before the face of God) in mind allows to walk with ease.  The transcendent (and immanent!) God provides a context of meaning for each one of us, if we place ourselves within His ongoing story of redemption.  A Tabletalk devotional once wrote that “life lived with reference to Him—under heaven—is never an exercise in futility.”  Life lived in Christ is a non-negotiable.

Those who are in Christ are called to live in the reality of knowing that they are “under heaven.”  This reality ought to stiffen the spine of the Christian, prompting them to become more serious about not only learning the will of the Father but then also performing that will.  According to God’s abundant grace, we do not have to grow fearful of missing the mark.  We do not have to fear being wrathfully tossed aside when we fail, instead we can rest assured that God embraces us when we fall.  His Spirit is there to help us to walk and be conformed into the image of Christ.  We must not take this grace for granted, instead we must live our lives in devoted service to our King.

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Urgency.

It seems to me that the Christian faith is based upon a sense of urgency.  We are not promised tomorrow, we are requested to choose life now. The day of salvation is here.  It seems like a constant message of the Bible is: do it today.

I find myself making lists of spiritual tasks and ideas that I should get to one day.  I ought to go on a spiritual retreat, read through the Gospel of John in one sitting, pray about a Reformation in American Christianity and write more blogs.  The funny thing about this is that the list can get rather lengthy and by the time I feel energetic I look over the list and forget what that idea was all about.  My period of lucidity was stale and the trail lies cold.  No wonder God wants us to decide quickly, we easily forget what we have been told!

There is a scene in C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce (the plot of the story can be found here) where a man was confronted by an angel to remove a hideous growth (a red lizard) on his shoulder.  The man kept making excuses to not remove the lizard, even though he knew that the lizard was hindering him.  The angel repeatedly asked the man if he could kill the lizard.  The man kept making excuse after excuse while the angel constantly brought a sense of urgency to the conversation.  Finally the man gave permission to remove the lizard where both the man and hindrance was painfully transformed into things of beauty.

I think this captures the sense of urgency that Jesus constantly presented.  We have to make a choice now, choose life and complete surrender at the feet of the Lord of all.  Do it now, for tomorrow rarely brings a better situation.

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Past Musings