In our readings of God’s Word, we encounter some incredible people. They were people who grew to understand God and his ways, their relationship with him becoming more and more solid with each ‘rite of passage’ spiritually speaking. They were people who knew what it was like to fail, maybe even repeatedly, and discover a never-ending supply of grace and forgiveness, as well as a total absence of shaming and harsh criticism. These extraordinary folks have much to teach us. They weren’t striving for sainthood or acclaim, they were simply living forward in all their humanness – warts and all, as Luther exclaimed. One notable example is King David. He has a cringeworthy rap sheet – warmonger, lust, adultery, murder, to name a few of his less than stellar moments. But hear his heart in these few verses:

“ . . . God takes all our crimes – our seemingly inexhaustible sins – and removes them. As far as the east is from the west, He removes them from us. An earthly father expresses love for his children; it is no different with our heavenly Father, The Eternal shows His love for those who revere Him. For He knows what we are made of; He knows our frame is frail, and He remembers we came from dust.” Psalm 103:12-14, VOICE

As we ponder our own less than stellar moments, I think it is important that we not forget, as with David’s many ‘rites of passage,’ that each failure can lead us to repentance and to a guaranteed receiving of forgiveness and a refreshing of relationship with the Father. ‘Our seemingly inexhaustible sins’ can find mercy and grace at the hands of our loving heavenly Father. The Apostle John, in his first epistle, wrote: “ . . . if we own up to our sins, God shows that He is faithful and just by forgiving us of our sins and purifying us from the pollution of all the bad things we have done.” 1 John 1:9, VOICE

You know what? I think this is what victory is, living ‘in Jesus’ and taking him at his word. No Christian superstars (that’s an oxymoron), just journeyers to the Father’s heart, living forward, at times at our best, at times, a bit off. But always staying close, always keeping an ear tuned to his voice. The commission we’ve received will fail miserably without him by our side, without his Spirit leading and guiding and providing the occasional course correction.

Jesus’ disciples, during their three-and-a-half-year apprenticeship, were always learning and re-learning this truth. Once filled with the Spirit, and with all their ‘rites of passage’ under their belts, they found themselves equipped to bring the mission to completion. And considering their starting point, I think they did all right, don’t you? And now it’s our turn. I think we can do this!  PD

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