What will get you out of bed tomorrow morning to face the day?–Habit? Duty? Determination? Just a vague, “Because I have to…?”
If you’re average like us there are days and times and even seasons of life when you don’t want to get out of bed. You don’t want to face the day. There are days when you just don’t want your life.
This moment in which I write is one such moment for me. Like you, I harbor disappointment in my heart, normally tucked and locked safely away. But, occasionally it bubbles up to disturb the contentment I know I should have, and the gratitude I know I should give to God for this life. My life.
[Bronze Crucifix. Notre Dame, Paris, France. May, 2013.]
Today, I took that sadness with me to church. I brought it in petition. I offered it in worship. I surrendered it in confession. And what I heard in return was both the good news of life in His name, and the command to live for His name: Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, Christ, our Lord.
The good news, in the Apostle Paul’s words is: “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, he was buried, and was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
This is my hope. Your hope. The only hope there is to defeat our death, our end, our deepest sorrow.
In Jesus’ own words, the gospel sounds like this: “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:20)
The blood of the covenant, His blood, binds Him to me. In love, He surrendered all he had to death and suffering to purchase life for me.
I need this weekly reminder that what He has done for me is done. It cannot fail. These reminders tell me who I can depend on when the disappointment inside feels too great to face alone.
But the blood of the covenant, His blood, also binds me to Him. It calls me and commands me to make devotion to Him, to His covenant, to His mission, the fundamental commitment of my life.
In His own words: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
Do you see what this means? It means following Him can never be about my self-interest. Following Jesus is about death–and life in Him, yes–but first, death to my own autonomous self-direction. The blood that binds me to Him requires from me a simple answer to these questions:
Who do I belong to?
Who do I love?
Who will I pursue?
Who am I devoted to?
Who will I follow?
Who will I obey?
Who will I worship?
Who will I live for?
Who will I die for?
The weekly reminder that He is the Savior who helps me face the day, also reminds me that He is the Lord who directs my day; that He commands me (and empowers me) to follow Him, and pursue His mission in the world. It tells me that as a beneficiary of His mission, I must now own His mission–the spread of His gospel–and be an agent for it, an ambassador of it, a witness.
To be a Christian is to own Jesus’ mission. Until you get this settled in your heart, there is no joy, nor victory for you in Christ.
So, even in moments like this one, when disappointment looms like darkening clouds in my heart–or yours–what got Jesus out of bed on the morning He knew Judas would betray him, is the same thing that will get us out of bed tomorrow.
It’s the gospel. It’s the mission.
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