1-5 "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved."
Ephesians 2:1-5 (NIV)
How would you explain your personal athletic journey? What key phrases would you use? What milestones would you cite? How would you sum up your overall life's journey?
In the first 10 verses of Ephesians 2, we see how God wants our narrative to be written:
AS GOOD AS DEAD – As I've grown up, I've realized how helpless, hopeless, out of control, and left for dead I really am. Sin does this. It kills.
HEADED THE WRONG WAY – Too many influences have headed me in the wrong direction. The world and the devil are strong and seductive. They've left their mark. And I sure carry a sinful nature to boot.
OBJECT OF WRATH – God can't look upon me with favor when I'm living like this, in sin (rebellion and indifference to Him). It goes against the purpose of my existence … and it really frosts Him.
RICH IN MERCY – All I can bank on now is mercy. God says He's rich in it because of Jesus. His mercy is enough to cover all my junk. Wow!
RICH IN GRACE – God is rich in grace too. He loves me wildly and gives grace upon grace, undeserved favor in abundance. It keeps lifting the condemnation and performance weights I feel.
MADE ALIVE – My death gets swallowed up, and resurrection power gets applied to me through Christ.
GRACE SAVES – Not my performance. My performance is never good enough; salvation only comes through God and His grace. Grace is God's gift that leads me home.
THROUGH FAITH – Only my faith in Christ's finished work will do.
SEATED WITH HIM – I've got a seat reserved in heaven. God sees to it. It's a “game over” win.
SALVATION AS A GIFT – All who apply through Christ get it, free of charge!
NOT BY WORKS – My works can't cut it on this one. Not a chance. I've stopped trying to prove myself to God. Surrender became my only good option … and I took it.
NO BOASTING – Eternal bragging rights go to God. When it comes to my eternal salvation, I have no personal pride.
WORK OF ART – When God sees me, He sees a “work of art.” I'm His amazing workmanship, a finely crafted story at its best because of Christ.
Reflect: Which of the bullets, these storylines, mean most to you today? Which truth zings you? How do you outline your spiritual story? Read Ephesians 2:1-10 and find yourself there.
A prayer to consider: LORD, keep writing Your story into me. Make it personal, deep, rich in mercy and grace, so that I can see Jesus as He is and my life (and death) as I ought.