Sometimes there are days/weeks (or even more) that burden you so severely that you don’t feel that you have much to offer. You feel so tired and empty that you struggle to muster something to give to your spouse or friends – or even to God. It is in those times that I temporarily avail myself of my self-imposed attempt to “strive” for spiritual growth. I try to shift my focus away from what I can do for God and, instead, try to meditate on what God has done (and is doing) for me.
This week has felt that way for me. I’ve felt pretty sad and my reserves are low. That’s why this week’s story of Jesus’ baptism was so nourishing for me. It reminds me of two key things.
First, it reminds me of my need for Christ. Jesus himself passed through the waters of baptism, showing us the way to the entrance of life in God’s kingdom and grace. The subtext is that, without those waters, I am filthy and unforgiven. I can take part in accountability and clarity about the wrong actions of others. What I cannot take part in is self-righteousness. I haven’t earned my own way out of the mire. I was washed clean of it by my savior.
Secondly, I am reminded in Jesus’ baptism that the things that are true of him are true of me – thanks be to God! When God spoke the words, “This is my son, whom I love, with him I am well-pleased,” Jesus secured my status in God’s Kingdom. Jesus’ spotless life is given to us in exchange for our hearts. When I don’t have much to offer, it brings me great comfort to remember the message of grace: God loves and is pleased with me, he cares for me, and covers over a multitude of sinful action and inaction. I’m beyond grateful for that. I hope that you are too.
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