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I Saw it This Morning

February 21, 2014

My wife is an elementary school teacher.  And to be clear…she’s a very gifted elementary school teacher.  It’s really an amazing thing to watch her in her work.  After the birth of our third child back in December (a rather stocky little guy we call Logan), while she is out on maternity leave, I have had the privilege of taking our older two kids to school each morning.

We have had some of the best in car concerts that you can imagine…with everything from Bethel Music and Andrew Peterson to Mumford and…I hate to admit…One Direction.  We’ve even had a couple fairly successful sing-a-longs to the Pitch Perfect Soundtrack (so yeah…my pride is at rock-bottom…and that’s probably a good thing).  I’ve managed to be “that guy” in the drop-off line more than once.  You know who I’m talking about…the guy who watches his kids walk instead of moving the line along…who rolls down the window to say goodbye one more time.  Yeah…I sincerely apologize to all the River Springs family for that.

For the sake of keeping things interesting, we decided that we’d do things a little different on Friday mornings.  Instead of the bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats, we decided that we’d wake up a few minutes earlier (obviously without eliminating the mad dash to get ready), and try out all of the places on the way to school that sell breakfast…none of which are healthy…all of which qualify as fast food.

As we sat in a nearly empty McDonald’s this morning…eating “sausage” biscuits and talking about the weekend…we watched as the wind outside began to pick up.  The sky was getting darker instead of lighter…the weather seeming to testify to the accuracy of the forecast for rain.  And staring out the window in the direction of the adjacent Chick-Fil-A…wondering…on a plurality of levels…just why we were sitting here instead of there…we noticed the great big American flag waving in the ever increasing breeze.

And after a little conversation about the number of stars…and shamefully having to look up the list of the original thirteen colonies (curse you Rhode Island)…we ended up having what, to this day, has been one of the best conversations on holiness and the work of the Holy Spirit that I can remember having with my children.

You see, the flag was moving.  We couldn’t see the source of that movement.  Sure, we could see the leaves blowing across the ground, the pine trees swaying a little…and the flag dancing in the morning sky.  But we couldn’t actually see the wind.  We couldn’t see it…but…at the same time…we couldn’t deny that it was there.

As I’ve been reading through the book of Romans over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve really been challenged anew by chapter 6.  It’s been hard for me to take it more than a verse each day…just because of the weight of each verse.  And the flag provided the perfect illustration of the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, because of our union with Jesus Christ by faith, to the glory of God the Father.

Consider Romans 6:12-14

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

It’s important to realize that holiness is not something that we can achieve…it’s not our victory to win…but has been achieved, and the victory has been won…by Jesus Christ already.  It’s our union with Him through faith that saves us from our sin, His robe of righteousness wrapped around us while He took our filthy rags…and the working of His Holy Spirit in us that enables us to pursue holiness.  It’s a work of God’s free grace “whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness” (WSC 35).  It is a conforming of our wills to the will of God.  Jerry Bridges says, “Only as we reckon on these twin facts – that I am dead to sin and its reign over me and that I am alive to God, united to Him who strengthens me – can I keep sin from reigning in my mortal body.”  The internal holiness…righteousness imputed to us by Christ…is demonstrated, as Romans 6 says, by and through, our outward lives.

So here’s the thing.  You…the Christian…are the waving flag.  The world…those who have not been regenerated by the Holy Spirit (yet) and called from death to life…will not by nature see the Holy Spirit at work.  The fallen world is blind, deaf, and dumb to His work…and even His existence.  Remember, back in Romans 1 we read,

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.”

That’s why God gave them up to the “lusts of their hearts.”  The Christian, and necessarily, the Church, must be the visible representation of how the grace of God in salvation translates, not only into a transformed heart (internal) but also a transformed life (external).  Our “members“…the makeup of our physical bodies…must be presented to God “as instruments of righteousness.”  You see…the world may not see the source…but in the Church…in you…the Christian…they better see the effects.  Nobody looks at a waving flag and assumes that it is doing it on its own.  The flag has no natural, inherent life.  It is lifeless.  It too…like the unregenerate person…is, as we’re told in Ephesians 2:1, “dead.”  And just like we need the Spirit at work in us to give us faith and to conform our will to the will of God…the flag needs the wind in order to spring forth into life.

So here’s a thought: How is your life reflecting the grace of God today?  Are you actively demonstrating the fact that you’ve been called from death to life?  Because just like my kids sitting in a McDonald’s eating a biscuit…if the flag is waving…the world will notice.

Waving Flag

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. laurimwilliams permalink
    February 21, 2014 1:09 pm

    This is so awesome!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. deucey permalink
    February 21, 2014 6:56 pm

    I love this man!

    • February 28, 2014 7:48 pm

      Thanks bro.

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