Take Them Off

When I started writing a few of these blog posts I felt like they needed to be like a sermon.  But I've come to realize that they are a way of sharing with you what God is saying and doing in my life.  So let's give it a try and I'm going to try to be more consistent.  It's been over a year since I posted anything and that is laziness on my part.

There has been times when I couldn't wait for my quiet time with God because I anticipated hearing from him.  But more times than not I have read and prayed just to get it done.  And I received exactly what I gave.  Nothing.  It's time to get back to the basics.

I was reading the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in John 11:38-44 (NIV version).  Jesus didn't come right away when he heard Lazarus was sick.  He waited four days.  When he finally showed up the Bible says he was deeply moved when he came to the tomb.  Why?  I feel one of the reasons is because we weren't created to die in the beginning.  It is our sin that has caused all the sadness, ugliness, chaos, that we live in.  How it must grieve God to see the suffering we've created.  

Jesus said, "Take away the stone".  Martha reminded Jesus that Lazarus had been in the tomb four days and it was going to stink.  Jesus reminded her that if she believed, she would see God's glory.  If I put myself in Martha's sandals I think I would have been thinking, "Okay, I'm pretty sure Jesus is the Messiah and he has promised so much.  Can I believe him for right now glory and in the future glory?"  She may have had to give the nod to the men to take away the stone covering the tomb.  They took away the stone.   Jesus prayed out loud to God the Father.  He did it out loud for the people around him, not because he wanted to take credit but for the people's benefit.  Then Jesus called Lazarus' name.  Verse 44 says the dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen and a cloth around his face.  Jesus said to those standing closest, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go".

Like a lot of the Bible I've read these verses many times before but this time I felt the person Jesus called out of that grave was me.  While in my sin I was dead and it wasn't just four days I had been dead.  The stench of sin was horrific.  And without Christ's voice calling to me I would still be there.  I did need to make the choice to walk out, just like Lazarus.  I know that Christ would not have forced me out.  But I walked out, the strips of cloth binding me.  The cloth over my face blinding me.  Christ said, "Take off her grave clothes and let her go".  I am free to live for the God who called me out and gave me life.

My question to you is are you still in that grave or have you walked out when Jesus called your name?  Are you still bound by the cloths of death?  Are you still blind to what God has waiting for you outside the tomb?  He'll never give up on you.

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