I didn't post again yesterday. That makes me sad. But the day really got away from me. I got to go on a field trip yesterday and I got very wet. Soaked actually. We went rafting (don't worry I didn't go crazy, it wasn't white water rafting... just down a river and across a lake rafting, almost like canoeing (is that a word?) but with more people). My raft liked to splash other rafts and so they splashed back. Unfortunately, I was unarmed due to the fact that I was interpreting and just kept getting wet without being able to do anything back. But while I was on this trip I realized something. Oh, I guess I should tell you that I was also a chaperone for the trip. So back to what I realized. I realized that I actually kind of like high school students. Now, if you don't know me very well you might be going..."So, what's the big deal?" The big deal is this. When I was a high school student and the first couple of years of college, I really didn't like high school students. They annoyed me. But now, after yesterday, I can honestly say that these kids are really important to me. And what I overhear in the classroom, in the hallways, and on the bus to the field trip, makes my heart break. I spent a whole study hall period today just praying for these students that were in my raft and in the classes I go to. I want them to know Jesus. I want them to know how much they are worth in God's eyes. I want them to experience his life changing power, his mercy, his grace, his forgiveness. Just be praying for me and these kids this year. I really want Jesus to take hold of these kids' lives and I'm really praying about what my part in that looks like.
After that really long introduction, what do you say we jump into Ephesians? I know I really need to hear God's words tonight.
"But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's grace that you have been saved!)"
I love the picture of the richness of God as it relates to the expression of his mercy and love. Because of our sins, we were dead. Our hearts had stopped beating. We were stone cold. But God, in his never-ending love and mercy, breathed life into us. He took what seemed impossible and made it possible. He bridged the gap between God and man and in doing so brought us back to life. He literally did CPR on us when He raised Christ from the dead. What an awesome picture that is!!!
I also love the second part of that verse. The only way to salvation is through God's grace. If not for God's grace, salvation would not exist. How powerful is that! I am so thankful that I serve a God like that! As I think about working with these high school students, the last part of the verse takes on even more meaning. It's only God who can bring these kids to himself. Can he choose to use me in that process? Yes. Does their salvation depend on or rest in me? By no means. God began this work and God will complete it. He just chooses to use his children to further his kingdom. God's passion and heart for these kids goes way further than mine or anyone else's. His heart longs for them, desires them, and breaks for them. Even now he is calling them. I just can't wait to see how I get to be a part of that!
What about you? What sticks out in this verse to you? Is it the picture of being dead and being brought to life? Or is it the way that it's only by God's grace that we are saved? Or is it something else entirely? Comment and let me know. This is just what has been on my heart lately. Now I want to hear yours.