The walk today began as it normally would… I was adjusting my ear-buds and setting the volume for my podcast, fidgeting with the GPS and stopwatch app on my iPhone, and pulling my prancing German shepherd close to my side in order to avoid the passing cars. A few minutes into the walk, however, I knew that it would be different than before.
For months, my dog and I have traversed the all-but-empty neighborhood streets, and we have even walked through the vacant parking lot of a nearby elementary school. However, this morning the streets were teaming with cars, the school parking lot was bustling with teachers and administrators directing children and traffic, and there were at least 5 families taking advantage of photo opportunities in their front yard.
The first day of the new school year is a big day for many people. Educators, parents, and students alike anticipate the day with feelings of excitement and trepidation. Why? At least one reason is that this day is a marker, a threshold in one’s development. Today marks the beginning of a new level of learning, another year of consistent investment in the lives of others, a fresh chance to be better and achieve more than the previous year.
Embarking on a new journey, or passing signposts along the way, evokes feelings of accomplishment and adventure.
It has been said, though, that excitement diminishes over time. Just a month or two from now parents will not be pausing for photos of their children in the front yard. Instead, they will be hurrying their children out the door with frazzled angst so that they will be no more than 15 minutes late to school. The decline of excitement can be equally applicable in the lives of Christians.
Recall the excitement you experienced upon understanding the love of God that was demonstrated for you in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Do you remember what it felt like to know for the very first time that the Creator of the universe was deeply interested in the eternal destination of your soul? What emotion, what conviction, what joy came over your heart and mind when you first understood the incredible sacrifice of Christ (His life, His suffering, His death, and His victory over the grave) as having been done on your behalf?
Then, as time went on, it is possible that your initial excitement grew colder. Maybe you have even come to view the incredible grace of God as something that you now deserve. “Sure, you once needed unreserved love from God in order to be accepted by Him… But now, you bring so many great things to the relationship, don’t you?”
Does the message of salvation only apply to us at a single point in our lives? Is this exciting Gospel only meant to stimulate us for a moment?
“NO!” is the short answer to such questions.
You and I need the Gospel today just as much as any other day! It is just as exhilarating today, as any other, that God would demonstrate such marvelous love towards sinners like us! This message does not merely avoid becoming timeworn and dull; it is all the more wonderful to ears that have come to understand the meaning of the message more fully than they once did.
Oh, Christian… remind yourself of your sinful posture towards your Maker, remind yourself of God’s justice and the salvation found in Christ alone! Renew your thoughts of humble gratitude for God’s grace and mercy pictured in your own redemption. Today, rekindle the flame of excitement that burns in your heart because of your inclusion in the family of God.
This fiery joy is that which motivates us to lives of worship, love, service and commitment.
Do you notice a lack in your worshipful intensity? Do you see a puddle of love where there should be an ocean? Do you avoid serving others? Do you quickly draw back from commitment to the eternal task?
Remember the God who saved, is saving now, and will save your soul! Remember the Gospel of Jesus Christ – the message of His person, His word and His work!
Today, may my mind and yours be overwhelmed by the goodness and mercy of the God of grace. May our hearts spill over with intense love for God and neighbor because of the love with which God first loved us.