Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
There’s a verse in Mark chapter 2 that I really like. It’s another one of those verses that I’ve read before but it had more meaning this time. In verse 15 it says: “And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were may of them, and they were following Him.” Do you get that??? These messy people (I don’t mean that to be derogatory) liked Jesus and followed Him.
Why was that? There are probably several reasons and here are a few that I thought of. First, Jesus accepted them as they were and even invited them to come into his home and eat with Him. What they were didn’t matter to Jesus. He was more interested in what they could become. The Pharisees would never do that. Another reason that messy people liked Jesus was because they felt they could trust Him. He would listen to them and not hold what they were or said against them. Third, Jesus was one of them, at least in the eyes of the spiritual leaders. Jesus was indeed a friend of messy people.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like one of those messy people. I started coming to re:generation because I was sick of being messy and wanted Jesus to change me. I’m a newbie at re:gen, so I know it will take some time and work. I have a lot of wreckage, or maybe baggage in my life. And I just had another incident of it come up again this week. It made me feel pretty low about myself all last night and today. I kept saying to myself, “well Bob, you blew it again” along with other negative self-talk. Do you ever do that to yourself? If you do, I have some advice: “Stop it.” It just allows our enemy to build more of a stronghold in our lives.
A strange thing happened this morning while I was getting ready to go to Walmart. I had the radio on, to a station I really don’t like, but can’t get any other Christian station on my radio since we moved out here to East Texas. There was a song playing, that I didn’t really like either. But I heard a line that caught my attention. The line was, “I’m no longer defined by the wreckage I left behind.” Cool, huh! It even rhymes. As much as I generally disliked the song, this line resonated in me.
I’ve spent a lot of my Christian life defining myself by my past. I spend my time getting angry at myself for my lifestyle of anger, bitterness,selfishness, pride and holding grudges. I could go on, but you get the picture. These things define me over and over again. But lately, my thinking has started to change.
I don’t have all the answers but living in a way such as I have been is really displeasing to God. No surprise there, I guess. But not only that, but that type of thinking actually accuses God of being a liar. We don’t mean to do that, but I believe that is what happens. Think of it. The first thing that occurred at our salvation was that we became new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). If we are new creations why is it we live so much in our old life? Just something to think about and ask God to bring a change to our thinking.
Let me end this by mentioning a couple things from Ephesians 2:1-10. The first three verses talk about who and what we WERE. We were living according to the desires of our flesh and held in the grip sin and Satan. Then at the beginning of verse four comes two of the greatest words in the Bible: BUT GOD. Those words are followed by things that God did on our behalf to take us out of that life. It says He made us alive with Christ!! While we were dead in our sin He made us alive. He showed us mercy and love. The passage says he raised us up and seated us with Christ in the heavenly places. I certainly don’t have a full grasp of that but I do know it means we no longer live in the pit!
I think it is time for those of us who live in the grip of our past failures to have a change in thinking. We need to live and think as new creations. For those of us who have lived in our past for many years, it will be a lot of work and require that we live by faith more than we have been. I apologize if this post doesn’t sound much like I have the answers to our problems. The reason for that is that I’m just barely starting to think about this myself. May God empower us to live in the new life He has given us may He give us the grace and wisdom to change through His Spirit as He work in our hearts. God bless you all.