Read Ephesians 1:3-14
Take a look around you the next time you are seated in church. Do you know who is sitting near? Do you know their stories? I suspect that if you don’t, you would be surprised to know them. Most likely you would hear stories ranging from substance abuse to neglect to physical abuse to abandonment and on and on. And what would be most surprising would be how many of the stories would come not from the vantage point of the victim but of the perpetrator. How can this be?
In Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, he lists all manner of people who will not inherit the kingdom of God. But then he finishes with the statement, “And that is what some of you were.” In Corinth, Jesus had taken some of the worst of the population and re-birthed them into new creations. They went from the dregs of society to a community striving to be what God had intended them to be from the beginning. The Corinthian church was made up of what the world would see as the most unlikely gathering of individuals.
And we see this over and over throughout history. Saul of Tarsus was killing Christians for sport. John Newton, the author of the hymn Amazing Grace, was a slave ship captain. David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam killer, converted in prison and is now actively involved in prison ministry. Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade, is the founder of Roe No More, a pro-life ministry. The stories go on and on. Jesus takes what we would consider the worst of humanity and turns them into powerful tools for His glory. And that includes you and me.
Who are you now? Who were you before you met Jesus?
I don’t know everyone’s backstory, but I know Jesus. If you are reading this, it is because of His irresistible tug on your heart that you have come to a place where you want to know Him more. You and I used to be “those kind of people,” but by God’s grace, we have been washed clean of all our sin, sanctified by the Spirit, and justified to stand before the Judge of all the earth without fear. And now we are being called to participate in God’s reclamation of the fallen world. As you go through this fourth week of Lent, spend some time praising God for His grace in reclaiming you.
As you pray, write down 3 different ways God has transformed you from “that kind of person” into a new creation. After that, ask God where He would like to grow you next and write those down. Now, as an act of worship, go act on one or more of those. If you feel that God is calling you to be more generous, then give more. If you sense He is calling you to be more loving, find a way to sacrifice of yourself. Then, after you have done so, let someone know so they can celebrate with you.
PRAYER FOCUS - TAKE TIME EVERYDAY THIS WEEK TO PRAY
Monday: Thank God for his power in transforming you into a new creation
Tuesday: Ask God how he would like you to grow in your walk with Him
Wednesday: Ask God to give you strength and courage to act on one of those growth areas
Thursday: Pray for those in our congregation to follow the Lord’s leading in their lives
Friday: Pray for the leadership of our church and future leaders of our church to lead in Christ-likeness and to shepherd the people of DEC into righteousness