We are just over half way in the journey to Easter. It feels to me that Easter Sunday is approaching very quickly. I was thinking this morning about how quickly it really will be here and how I want to be ready to experience as full and exciting as a celebration as possible when Easter does finally arrive. Today’s passage is helping me in preparing.
I think to fully experience the joy and the excitement of Easter, I must first sense the gravity of my sin and the greatness of God’s grace. This is what Paul is after in Ephesians 2:1-10. I would encourage you not to just read through the passage, but to linger in it… allow it to focus your heart on who we are, who God is, and who God desires us to be.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Looking back over the weekend, I realize that the theme of “be prepared” came up a few times. Ironically, it even came up when I went to the movies on Saturday. I went with a couple of girls to see The Lion King in 3D. Really fun and totally nostalgic. I forgot how much I enjoy that movie. I had also forgotten the song that Scar sings about “be prepared.” Sure he’s the bad guy and all, but he has a point. We don’t always know what is coming next and it’s important to be prepared.
So that brings me to Sunday morning children’s church. We got to read and study one of my favorite passages of scripture: Ephesians 6:10-20. I have always loved reading about the armor of God in this passage. I think it is because it is such a tangible picture of something very spiritual. But the overall message I get from reading this passage is: be prepared. We don’t know what is going to happen next in our life. But we do know life will be full of challenges that try to pull us away from what God calls us to. So the point is be prepared. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (6:11).
God does not leave us to figure out how to survive our life’s battles on our own. No, God provides the armor we need to go into those battles. But it will do us no good if we do not prepare. We ended up talking about that last night in our small group.
There are so many voices for us to listen too. So many choices we could make. Being prepared for them takes being as close to Jesus as we can and using what he gives us to be prepared.
So are you prepared today? Have you spent time praying for God’s armor and listening to God? Being prepared does not happen over night- it takes some time and diligence. But it is worth it!
Yesterday I was able to participate in our entire worship time. It doesn’t always happen. Often I am still checking in with Sunday School teachers and greeting families as they arrive when the worship time begins. Or sometimes I cover for a teacher who is out that day. All of which is good and part of my job- and I love my job! Yesterday though, everyone had their places covered and so I went into worship service. It was great!
I have to admit something though- often when I sit in a time of worship, my mind is more focused on the next project than on the sermon or the congregational worship. But yesterday I did pretty good at paying attention and there was something in the sermon that keeps coming to my mind.
The sermon was from Ephesians 2:1-10. Our pastor’s wife was the one opening the word for us yesterday and the word was powerful. The part that has (ironically, you’ll see in a moment) stuck with me is based from verse 5. She talked about those words “alive together with Christ.” Her word picture was about superglue. I kept thinking about the kids in the Band-Aid commercials singing, “I am stuck on Band-Aid brand, ’cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me!” The point was this: When I believe in the grace that God gives me, I am then stuck-glued-attached to Jesus. Everything now is about being with Jesus. It’s in the words “together with.” The words are strategic- they mean something significant. But the real question is, do I believe that? Do I really believe that God, out of God’s great love, has made me alive together with Christ?
I believe I have to ask myself that sometimes. Because when I do start really thinking about it. Then I realize that things which seem overwhelming to me are really not that big of a deal. When I feel down about who I am or what my life is like, if I remember that I am actually “alive together with Christ,” then my life is exciting! It is amazing how my perspective, behaviors, and thoughts change when I remember that I have been made alive with Christ. Life become less about me and my desires and more about Jesus and His desires. It really becomes about living together with Christ- and it’s an incredibly awesome adventure!