I first want to thank God for his sovereignty in bringing us together. Your passionate pursuit of what God desires for your life has brought everlasting change and vitality to my own personal walk with Christ. I know that without your influence and desire to learn from me, I would be a different. I want to thank you for your faithfulness to our friendship, I want to thank you for desiring to learn and for asking the questions of life and the word of God that I too easily assume I have concluded. Our life on earth is a journey of uncovering new and exciting aspects of God’s creation, his wisdom, his plan and his desire for our lives. Your enjoyment of the journey has reminded and allowed me to continue the exploration with a youthful zest. I can’t thank you enough for your willingness to learn, because God has shaped me immensely as I have had to question what to teach.
Timothy, as my life and our time together is nearing an end, I want you to remember these central truths that have shaped our conversations and journey together. The first is that we are more depraved than you can ever can imagine. Sin is in our blood. Our mind is a constant battlefield where we choose daily to seek to please him or cave to our fleshly desires. It will always be a battle. There will be times of triumph and times of failure. Yet through this, God gives us his amazing promise of his presence. That he will never leave us nor forsake us and that if we choose to walk and abide in him, that we will not face something more difficult than we can handle. Sin is only a temporary struggle. It is not a part of his desire for our life and yet always remember if we were Adam in that garden, I would have done the same thing, which is evidenced daily in seeking to glorify myself.
With that said, never forget that God’s grace is amazing. Sin is awful, but God’s grace knows no bounds. He chose to leave the comforts of a perfect triune fellowship in eternity to become human, all with the knowledge that He would suffer an unruly 33 years on earth to take our place. Jesus, fully God and fully human, a true mystery if you ask me, is the only atonement that appeases the justice of a perfect and holy God. Oh how thankful I am that he died for me. If I never knew or accepted that, my options are first to live a life seeking my own pleasure. Solomon spells out pretty well in his book of Ecclesiastes how that life plays out. A chasing after the wind is what he calls it. The second option is striving to earn the love of God. Oh how I would of never known the blessed assurance that has come in accepting the face that I can never earn his love. I am completely free, knowing that God desires a relationship with me not because of what I have done. He overlooks my sin because of what his Son has done for me and treats me as I don’t deserve. That good news is the fabric of all of life. Without that basic knowledge, life’s pursuits, goals and ambitions are useless and will fade away with the passing of this life.
Remind yourself daily, hourly of that good news. It is the motivation to live your life with abandon for the cause of Christ. He has called you and given you a purpose that far outweighs and out measures any earthly pursuit of glory could ever achieve. Because of Christ, we now have the opportunity to make a difference for all eternity. Always remember that the difference we make for all eternity is through people. Their salvation and their sanctification are our joy. People are the key. Gods loves is the only lasting motivation and model for how I should care for others. You may be able to work hard at pleasing others or desiring for them to notice you. It will fade. Any pursuit will, but mining the depth of God’s love will never leave your well dry. Constantly assess how well you are doing at displaying God’s love. If you are not, then humbly question truly how much you love him. Your love for others is the litmus test for how much you love God.
Remember to walk in step with the Spirit. If we accept that God is good, loving and desires the best for ourselves, we will free from sin. Why, because though sin may be pleasurable for a sin, it will ruin us. It will ruin the relationship that we are seeking with God through the help of the Holy Spirit. Culture with change, circumstances will be different. The word of God and the knowledge of God’s story of redemption will always be the same, but the application is where the Spirit is needed. When you face a marriage that is struggling, when you face a time when marriage is undesirable, when you face uncertainty and the church has seemingly lost hope. Remember to trust in His Spirit for the guidance to navigate the changing landscape. Know the Word of God, spend time listening to God and being able to identify the promptings of the Holy Spirit. If you do this, then you can confidently walk in the world with your head in the heavens. Have the mind of the Spirit, which results in life and peace.
When your time comes, I hope that you can confidently say you have passed it on to others, that you have chosen to multiply the grace that you experienced. By doing this, you will lay up for yourself treasures in heaven and not on earth. By doing this and devoting your life to the cause of Christ, you will confidently be able to stand before Jesus Christ on your judgment day, proud to have your life examined. May we boldly live today knowing that our future is secure and that our life on earth is only a short time compared to a glorious eternity that awaits his children. Oh how thankful I am that I have opened the gift of grace as you have and that our lives are lived in response to that most precious present.
Grace Church of Greater Akron