Monday, March 25, 2013

If we'll only allow for it

... [I told her the story of] the Israelites looking to the snake in the wilderness. Poisoned and dying, they were given a simple instruction. To look up at that snake on the pole and be healed. If they looked, they lived. If not, they died. Such is a picture of Jesus on the cross, I told her. We live when we look to His work on that cross for us. We do wonderful things when joy and thankfulness inspires us because of what He has already accomplished. Looking at ourselves, at our failures, and mistakes never got us anywhere.

How much of our lives revolve around this one simple truth I wonder? In teaching people how to sing, I am constantly reminded how our human nature is inclined at every step, to attempt things in our own power  ...  Our constant inclination is to try other things to make the whole process work. Maybe we'll sing better if we tighten the muscles in our jaw and face in order to manipulate the process. Maybe we'll sing better if our chest and shoulders are involved and we exaggerate the articulation of every word. Maybe... just maybe, we can work a little harder with the things we own and control, and it will all come into place for us.

I cannot tell you how many times my students are in awe of how easy singing is when it is correct. The breath does the work and we are all inclined to be shocked. That singing rightly should be so simple, so easy, so effortless-this seems wrong to us. Almost like we are stealing grace.

Yet there it is, again and again, in every part of our lives. Discovering what God has done for us is freeing, shocking, humbling.

To find out that we really don't have to make our throats hoarse if we'd like to sing for hours at a time. Why? Because He's put breath in our bodies to make the production of sound so very, very effortless, if we'll only allow for it.

And to find out that we really don't have to weary our spirits attempting to live a life that is pleasing to God. Why? Because He sent His Son to live a pleasing life in our place and die on a cross for us. This, believe it or not, can make our good deeds so very, very effortless, if we'll only allow for it.

Yet how inclined we are to find new man-made systems that will help us "be like Jesus." When in reality, becoming like Him comes of noticing Him. Of recognizing how much greater His work was and is than any of our own Christian muscle flexing.

...In the end, we obey out of joy because of what has been done, not to get something done. We're not called to prove that we're Christians, or know when we became Christians, or work a little harder every day to become better ones. All of that pales in comparison to the blinding beauty which flows from a life that has seen the cross.

...Are you afraid you won't really do good things for God if you relinquish your grip on the law and start looking to the cross?

I dare you to try it.

Begin gazing at Jesus. On the cross because of you. Lifted up like the snake in the wilderness to be your healing. If you don't start singing a new kind of life, I guarantee, you haven't really seen Him.

Just like my dear, driven, type A student has lost focus of breath every time her voice goes astray. We also, when we begin slipping, have lost focus of the cross. May we learn, in failure, not to focus on where we went wrong in our ability to adhere to God's standards but to look back at Jesus. It is a simple instruction. Who would ignore it?

Surprisingly, not all the Israelites looked up at the snake in the wilderness. May we heed their end. May we trust that the grace that has been given-this shocking, easy, joy-filled, living because He lived, this, THIS will transform us.

-- by Kellie
excerpts from a blog post: here

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