Monday, November 7, 2011

Baby, I was born this way!

When Jesus created us and placed us in the garden he said that we were very good. We were ignorant and immature and yet, He was pleased. And then came the fall. We added knowledge to the mix and the the deal changed. The standard changed. We now had to follow a strict set of rules and guidelines to be righteous. None of us could do that though. That is not what we were created for. We were sheep entering a cheetah race. There was no way we could ever be complete and faultless. This is what the Old Covenant meant: we would have to be everything to anything and everyone at all times. We would have to have every answer right, every step right. Perfect wisdom that not only accomplishes His purposes in the moment, but for all eternity. We were not  created for this. This is why no one would every be able to fulfill it. The Law was a description of God and so God would have to fulfill it. And Jesus did. Then He gave us a New Covenant.

What is a covenant? Is it a free give-away flyer in the mail? Is it a loose deal between friends? I think the best way to describe a Biblical covenant is to use the definition of the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant was not optional. And the standards and requirements were not different for anyone. What is the difference between the Old and the New Covenant? It is the standards and requirements. Let me give a parable of sorts to demonstrate these:

The Old Covenant was like a standardized test. You have to study, study, study. Take the test and if you pass your in. And everyone gets the same test. Except, it was a pass/fail test not a sliding grade. And that is where the mistake comes in. People grade themselves against the Law and get A's, B's, C's and so on. Only, if you get a 99%, you still fail. And the test is on the complete realm of knowledge and wisdom. Everything that ever was, is, and ever will be. We could never possibly know. And that is why  Jesus had to come take the test for us, because only God could ever be that.

The New Covenant is more like a track race. The catch though is that there isn't a start or a finish line. You can start wherever you are on the track and there is no finish line for you to cross. Your only job is to run. Many prefer the Old Covenant to the New Covenant because it gives them a standard to judge themselves on. That is self-righteousness and it pales in comparison to the righteousness that the Old Covenant describes. There is no way to grade yourself on the race, the New Covenant, because you can't show how far you've run or how long until you cross the finish line or even how well you are running compared to your fellow racers because they are not running on the same track as you, though you can still see them. It's only about how much passion you run with. Have you ever been to a High School gym class? Some are giving it their all. Some are merely participating. Some are not participating at all. Have you ever seen an Olympic track race. That look in their eye; that desire and passion that they run with is what Jesus is looking for. Does it matter how fast or how well you run? Not at all. Have you ever seen a Special Olympics track race. The faces are the same. The passion and desire is the same. The speed is not. That doesn't matter, because you are not judged on the Law and if you have perfection in athleticism. You are judged on how well you ran the race you are in. This is the same parable that Jesus told in the parable of the talents:

  “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’  “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’  “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’  “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’  “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’   “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Run with passion. Give it your all. Take the truth that you know and live it to the fullest. Like all good athletes, always be looking for a way to improve you technique and performance. Make your coach proud. But don't ever think that your performance will be approved because of the ground you have covered. You can never reach a certain point and rest or run with less drive. Your race will sometimes be fast and some times slow based on the terrain and heat around you, but always remember that it's not the speed and distance you cover, but the eagerness with which you run. This was the original purpose. This is what you were created for. You were born this way. Run!

Feel free to comment or ask questions! 

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