WALLS DOWN, BUILDING UP!

Because He lives
I can face tomorrow
Because He lives
All fear is gone
Because I know
He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives

As young believers, years ago, we sang this Gaither song confidently in faith that God was truly in control and because He is God, we had nothing to fear.  But then life changed suddenly and became more complicated.  The towers, the symbol of “united”, were hit by an unseen enemy that only our government knew about and thought they had in their control.  This heightened everyone’s fear level, bringing new travel restrictions and new security measures that felt like an invasion to our own privacy. 

Walls of mistrust among the populous were built brick by emotional brick.  Who can you really trust?  Bombings on our turf, killing kids and adults with no remorse, happened as it did in others war torn countries.  The more we thought about these violent acts, the more bricks were added to our walls.

Then another enemy hit that equalized the whole world in a sense.  A pandemic of a virus that swept over all of us and brought a new kind of fear to our being. Not only did our walls become higher, we hid behind the walls we created and isolated ourselves from all other humans until help of a vaccine was created.  God’s people cried out for help and He delivered.  Fear was lessened by those being vaccinated against an illness that could claim their own lives and the lives of the ones they loved dearly.  I do not write as a political commentary, only as a believer who asked God for help and received it along with others. 

What do we learn in our walls of fear?  There’s a higher thinking—God’s thinking.  Paul is reminding terrorized believers, jailed and beaten for their faith, trying to be in community with all who believe called “church”, who out of fear have built walls of protection and division, that there is a new way of thinking.  Jesus, the Messiah, Savior has torn down all walls that divide us and is building in us into a temple where God is comfortable in living. 

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, once more because of God’s way of thinking.  Because Jesus died and rose again for me and you, all fear truly is gone.  Because I KNOW, without doubt, who holds the future, good or bad, life is worth the living because of Jesus, who died and rose again, set me free from all sin.  Then there is the bonus called abundant living! Jesus is peace in the middle of world troubles.  Jesus is love that overcomes walls of hate erected to keep us out of where we don’t really want to be anyway.  Jesus is eternal, internal, relentless joy when sorrow threatens to be overwhelming.  Jesus is life forever, no matter what happens here on this imperfect place called earth.  This life is temporary.  Life with Jesus is forever.  Jesus sets things right, reconciled and redeemed us to be worthy enough to enter God’s Holy Presence unashamed.  Let’s live like the redeemed!

Because He lives…I’m free to love God back with all my heart, mind and soul.  I’m free from the bondage of sin that distracts me and pulls me into places that harm me.  I’m free to hear the voice of God and obey His best for me!  I’m free from hate, divisions, jealousy, envy, comparisons and competitions. 

My wall came tumbling down when Jesus entered my heart. I’m now a temple, built by God, brick by brick, in which God comes to abide.  All because my Savior lives.

EPHESIANS—RECONCILED TO BE

Ephesians 2, The Message

He Tore Down the Wall

1-6 It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

7-10 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

11-13 But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.

14-15 The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.

16-18 Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.

19-22 That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.

Lord and Savior,

Thank you for tearing down my walls of fear, division, confusion along with other feelings and emotions that distracted me from all you are.  You are the opposite of all this world offers.  You are love, mercy and grace.  You build us up on your foundation, dear Jesus, that sets us right and keeps us aligned with Your temple building in us.  Lord, I’m yours to build.  I’m not completed yet, still under construction, but I know you, so I am willing.  I want You to be at home in the temple of your abiding love in me.  Thank you, Lord for this lesson reminder that all have sinned but all are saved from sin who believe and follow you with all our hearts, minds and souls, undivided in our commitment to you.

In Jesus Name, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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