SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED...
11 In him we were also chosen,[a] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:11-14
As we look at the picture for today, it is the image of a broken cycle. It reminds us that we have to be willing to step outside of the box that we live in and look with a new spiritual fervor towards the plan God has in store for us. We are all broken as we have seen over the last few weeks and that we are in the process of rebuilding. That means that we have to be willing to sacrifice self glory for God's glory. That means that we need to sacrifice the me for the we. We have to be willing to think outside our norms and recognize that God needs to take us through these journeys to bring us through to the other side. But it is never going to be easy. We will always be open to attacks from all sides at any moment. Even when we finally do decide to fully follow God and listen to His voice, that is when the major attacks will come. We still have to fight not to go back to our old habits or our old ways and allow the Holy Spirit to truly be our guide. We have to step out in faith and realize that even in our brokenness we can be healed. In our weakness we can become strong. It is being able to be humble to who we are in Christ and let go of the things that we so desperately hold on to every day.
It is in the cycles that we truly live our lives. Going round and round and up and down. We feel as though we can break free, but then one set back or another forces us to step back into the space that we think is our comfort zone. We continue to fail to step into trust and
then instead of recognizing our part in the cycle, we begin pointing fingers and blaming others. We are unable to face the truth that there is something that we need to truly deal with and step away from what continues to hold us down. God wants us to be free and to freely live into the life that has been sealed with the blood of the Lamb. See we have been sealed... we have been bought. We have been given an opportunity to live a life in the joy that comes from the Father. But the problem is that we don't trust the joy. We really don't want the grace and the mercy. What we really want is the opportunity to wallow in our doubt, our fears, our pity, our sin. WHY? Because we feel as if we are in control of that aspect of our lives. Even if we are in that darkened place, it is our choice to live there. If we are living in sin, we choose when and how we sin. It is the cycle, wash... rinse... repeat that we are really not wanting to let go of because we feel as if that is our true identity.
As we step back into Paul's letter to the churches today in Ephesians 1, we are able to experience the blessing that comes through the power of the Holy Spirit. We have been given this opportunity to break free from these chains that continue to control us and recognize the bigger picture that God has in store. We have been SIGNED for by the Blood of the Lamb. We have been SEALED through the power of Christ's power over the grave. And we have been DELIVERED into the presence of God through the grace and mercy that has been poured over us, yet which we don't really deserve. We have received an opportunity to break the cycle, but the real question comes in the fact of are we willing to change? In my family, there are a lot of people who truly struggle with addictions. Whether it be with alcohol or drugs, I have personally watched them go through these cycles over and over and over again. Death has a hold on their lives and instead of fighting they truly have not control to overcome these demons except through the power of Christ. I say that because today's scripture is offering us the same opportunity to overcome our demons that hold such a tight reign on our lives. We have had the love of Christ poured out on us but yet we still continue to return to the habits that cause us to sin and be separated from God. It is our cycle, similar to the struggles of those in my family. They know the answer as do we, but neither of us are willing to take the final step and be immersed in the grace that God so willingly provides for us. Paul says that we are included in Christ when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. We are promised eternity with God. So why is it that we want to live a life of hell of earth?
Cycles are truly hard to break. They are difficult to recognize because we are in the midst of that comfort that we feel that we can control. But today I want to give us all a different hope. I want to challenge you to trust the system and step into the power of God's plan. I want to encourage us all that as of today it is not too late to break the cycle, but I also want to be
honest and say that one day God will say that it is done. I want to live out a life that glorifies God and not one that continues to harden our hearts because of the conditions in this word. The world needs to hear this message and we need to be the ones that step in and share it with the world, but before we can share it, we need to step into it first. The day is nearer with each moment to Christ's return. It may be tomorrow or may still be 1,000 years from now, but one thing is still certain, TODAY is one day closer. I want to break out of these cycles and stop coming back to altar time and time and time again asking for the same forgiveness. Break our hearts God and help us to pray into breaking the cycle that we live into each day. Help us to step out and truly believe that YOU are in control and that you have provided a way out for us all. And that way out is for us to live our lives through the power of Christ. It is truly difficult to step into the realness of life and think that we truly can control what is happening in the world. We need to step back and take a moment and realize that we are never alone, but we still have to invite God into the process. May we look for the power that we need to break these cycles that can only be found IN CHRIST. Christ has signed His name on our heart, SEALED our future with His sacrifice and is ready to DELIVER us from the evil that we are emerged in with this world.