Normally I would have waited until tomorrow before covering O in the A-Z challenge, but I’ve just come across this report of what God is doing NOW, as in this last week, in South Wales!!! So I really think you should read this about the outpouring in Cwmbran, and if anyone feels like jumping into a vehicle and heading straight there, me too!
We had an interesting illustration today. 2 jugs – 1 representing Adam, the other symbolising Jesus; and grapes, which represented us.
Someone put the grapes into the first jug to show that Adam’s sin/wrongdoing meant that when we were born, we were born into sin – born with that same corrupt nature. Then Jesus came along and, yes, the grapes were poured out of jug 1 into jug 2. When we become Christians, we’re born again and we’re in Jesus, but the pastor went on to say that not only are we in Jesus, the miracle is that He’s in us too.
Well, that got me thinking. How could that happen? What would need to happen to one of those grapes for a piece of that jug to get inside it? It would need to split in half. It couldn’t remain a whole grape. That’s a bit like us isn’t it? We need to die to our selfishness and the bad stuff inside us before Jesus can shine through.
And, by the way, a whole jug couldn’t fit inside that one tiny grape. Could it? Wouldn’t the jug need to be broken too? Yes, Jesus needed to die before God the Father could send His Spirit to live in us and transform us.
So that’s one thing I came away from church with this morning: Broken to be filled.
Someone at church this morning encouraged us to think of Jesus not only as our Comforter, but our Challenger. Back home afterwards, I got to thinking of the woman caught in adultery – John 8:1-11.
People often read this passage and focus on the love of God, saying: “Jesus doesn’t condemn”.
They’re right; He doesn’t condemn, but He does ask something of us. “Go, and sin no more”, or “Leave your life of sin”.
For the woman caught in adultery, that must have meant a big change of lifestyle. Presumably, she wouldn’t have committed the sin if there was no attraction there. As followers of Jesus, we don’t stop being tempted, and we’re not suddenly zapped out of the community where we live to start afresh somewhere different. She would’ve had the same people around her, including the man she had feelings for, who’d never met Jesus and may not have wanted things to change.
When she was with Jesus, there was no escaping the fact she could have been stoned to death, and owed Him her very life. But as the days, weeks and months went by, as she looked through the window and saw the man she loved walking down the road … I don’t know about you, but I sometimes wonder what happened to that woman. Did she make it to the end of the race? Is she in heaven now, sharing in Jesus’ glory? Did she allow Him to transform her life, or did she desert Him and go back to the life she’d left behind?
“Leave your life of sin” can be a tremendous challenge, but Jesus is a tremendous Saviour! Just like that woman, we need to remember His part in our lives. Let’s never forget what He did for us that day on the cross. God is a just God; He can’t tolerate sin. We should have been cut off from God for the things we’d done wrong, but God loved us so much, He sent Jesus to take that punishment, so we could be in a loving relationship with Him. Let’s give Him our gratitude, and our love; and with His help, let’s live to please Him.