So now there isn’t any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. God has done what was impossible for the Law, since it was weak because of selfishness. God condemned sin in the body by sending his own Son to deal with sin in the same body as humans, who are controlled by sin. – Romans 8:1-3
One response to yesterday’s post – Bagpipes, Dancing Girls, a Ladies’ Tea, and Frozen – asked, essentially, “so where was all the spiritual stuff?”
That’s always a good question, and it’s something we talked about more than once at the preacher retreat I helped lead a week ago. The “spiritual stuff” is – at its best – an underlying disposition that runs underneath everything else that’s going on in our day to day lives.
I have found it helpful to think of our spiritual life as the operating system that runs in the background, and the other stuff (relationships, church, politics, family, work, being an American, driving, how we use our resources, the meeting we have scheduled later today, lunch with a friend…) as Apps that sit on top of that operating system.
If the system goes down, then nothing else works properly. Also, certain protocols built into the underlying operating system govern how the other programs work. Christ’s Great Commandment, for example, must have precedence over absolutely everything else, and must inform even the smallest decision we approach.
So Monday morning, waking up in Richmond for breakfast with our grandchildren, then driving over to play golf in the Union Seminary fundraiser tournament, I approached the day as a disciple of Jesus. There is no “this is my life… and then this is my spiritual life.” No, there is simply my life, and it is either built on and directed by my response to the grace, mercy, and love of Jesus, or it is not.
It was the most beautiful of mornings. The tournament started in the high forties and finished up at around sixty-three degrees. Our team, despite leaving a lot of makable birdie and eagle putts unconverted, still managed a respectable 59 to share the win. It was great fun; good people, good company, and no pressure.
That’s how life should be. Teamwork; engaging the challenges and the opportunities together; mutual encouragement; building one another up; always moving forward toward the goal, enjoying the journey; being strong where another is weak; making the best out of any situation…
Fact is, we are already winners simply by being here, waking up to celebrate another new day!
I believe it’s all about the underlying aspect of gratitude, of owning the fact that we are God’s children, and of being willing to receive the grace that underlines this truth. Paul puts it like this, a little later in the same chapter: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). Or, “In all these things we win a sweeping victory through the one who loved us!” (CEB)
That’s how I plan on engaging today; a sweeping victory. It’s my prayer that each one of us will consider doing the same.
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.