A YEAR FOR CHANGE
Last week we found inspiration in the story of the Magi to be alert to the ‘signposts’ directing us to a more profound encounter with the Lord, and to look for His presence in the commonplace. There is one requirement, however. In whatever circumstance we become aware of the presence of God, there is only one way to approach Him, and that is on our faces, metaphorically—or literally—before the Cross. For it is the blood of Jesus, shed for us on the cross which has opened the way to the Presence. There isn’t any other way.
Therefore, brothers and sisters,
since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,
by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body,
and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
let us draw near to God with a sincere heart
and with the full assurance that faith brings,
having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience
and having our bodies washed with pure water...
Therefore, Jesus said again,
‘Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.
All who have come before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep have not listened to them.
I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved.
They will come in and go out, and find pasture.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.'
First century Greeks looked to intellectual reasoning and esoteric experiences as the way to spirituality. It’s not much different today; the internet, magazine racks and book-stores are replete with material designed to help people’s ‘spiritual’ development, without any reference to Christ. And so, Paul’s advice to the Corinthians is pertinent: the Christian gospel is not about man-made ‘wisdom’, but about ‘Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God’. Paul was determined to know nothing ‘except Jesus Christ and Him crucified’; we need to follow suit.
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law?
Where is the philosopher of this age?
Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know Him,
God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
[1 Corinthians 1:20-24]
The way into a life which is filled with God is not through our own efforts, or having the right techniques; it's not about the latest wisdom on mindfulness, or having the correct mantra; our access entirely depends on a blood-spattered entry ticket.
It’s all about Jesus. It’s always all about Jesus. In this new year, our Heavenly Father is inviting us into a transformational encounter; but to be sure of getting the real deal, we have to come in His appointed way, rather than trusting in our own 'qualifications'. There is nothing we can do to make ourselves acceptable or worthy of His presence—He has already done it all! And that means putting our 'stuff' down and accepting His wonderful provision for us—couldn't be easier...
NEXT WEEK: LETTING GO...
Time to change your dependency?
WHY NOT GET IN TOUCH?
[Photo credits: Nareeta Martin (access sign); Duncan Sanchez (cross); Brooke Cagle (typewriter) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
All text and photographs,
unless otherwise credited
All rights reserved.
All credited photos are used by permission from
**The owner of this website, www.rhythmsofgraceuk.org is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Programme. This is an affiliate advertising programme which earns fees for sites which advertise and link to products supplied by Amazon properties, including, but not limited to, amazon.com, and amazon.co.uk.
Please note: commissions are supplied by Amazon; there are no hidden costs for visitors to this website, and all resources shown are genuine recommendations,