Missing the mark
I tend to write in a some what impersonal style, and I am well aware of that. I am going to depart from that a bit and try and relate to you how important this is.
I grew up in the Presbyterian Church and only once did I hear a message that there was something you actually have to do to be a Christian. There is a decision involved.
I am rather turned off by Christian speak and I am trying to avoid that, as I think for many it gets in the way. My wife was instrumental in my making that choice to accept a “gift,” given by God.
Hamartia one of the Greek words that has been translated as sin is literally "a missing of the mark," as in bow and arrow, (and so not to share in the prize) That mark is the perfection of our creator.
We ALL miss it, and it separates us from his perfection… and not just a little. It is our nature to “miss the mark”! What it boils down to is that we are rebelling against God . That can take any number of forms.
Not doing something we know we should, doing something we know we should not, even failing to hear when he speaks to us.
Are you getting a pretty hopeless feeling, been there doing that. Guess what it is totally hopeless except for one thing! God loves us so much that he provided a way out!
In the Greek Soter means "savior, deliverer, preserver," God would not have provided one if we did not need it would he? What will it cost you? It costs nothing for the recipient, The price was paid by the giver Christ’s death was that price! To me this is totally awesome, (I am having trouble coming up with a superlative)!
OK we still have a problem here. Because I grew up in the church I felt that I was a Christian and part of the “family” of God. I mean he created me and I am a member of a church. Because he created you does not mean you are family. So what do you do to become “family”? Believe! Believe that Jesus is that “Soter”, savior. And accept the gift.
That is the choice, to put it simply is to accept or reject a gift.
We are all a lot less than prefect. We are not even hitting the broad side of the barn, let alone the target! God is willing to forgive us of that but forgiveness needs to be accepted as well as offered if it is to be complete.
"God gives where he finds empty hands. A man whose hands are full can’t receive a gift!" St. Augustine.
My hands were full of guilt and shame over what I am. Needlessly!
When God looks at those who are his children, his family, he sees the perfection of his son. What a relief that is!
Sociologists have a theory called the looking glass self. You become what the most important person in your life (wife, father, boss) thinks you are!
How will your life change when you look in the mirror and see what God sees! Christianity is not does and don’ts, it is Love. We are likened to a bride (kind of appropriate) as the bride we want to please our husband. Any modification of behavior, must/will come from within! He accepts us as we are...we change in response to His love.
We have all heard the Christmas story from the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. However, there is a less-told story in Revelations that parallels the traditional story and could well be prophetic.
Revelations does not mention shepherds, nor does it mention the murderous king Herod. Instead, there is a great red dragon (Satan) that leads a vicious struggle against heaven. On earth a baby is born, and the dragon waits to devour him. At the last moment the baby is saved and the mother flees with him into the desert.
We live on a single plane of existence, but it is not the only one. There is ours, a world of great experiences, but there is also one beyond our understanding, a world of angels and demons, of good and evil. This world is known as Heaven and Hell. God became a baby, a mortal human. The choir of angels sang not only to the shepherds, but also to the entire universe. This world is still a battleground. The red dragon would prefer that you do not know that there are absolutes, definite good and evil. Above all, he wants you to ignore the fact that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father, except through him.