The Story of Redemption
Sometimes the “redo” that God wishes to effect in our lives first requires the “undo” of the construct of the works-based “do good” life . . the kind of life that easily gets mired in comparison and spiritual insecurity.
Truthfully, God has little use for our religion because at it’s core and on it’s best day it amounts to little more than demonstration at the expense of restoration . . especially restoration with God Himself . . and each other.
God’s Word first and foremost is a revelation of the narrative of mankind’s redemption from evil and a severed relationship with it’s Creator and Sustainer. One might summarize this reconciliation story for the ages simply as a God who is so in love with us that He sent His only Son to restore us and pull us close even while we were doing anything and sometimes everything possible to push Him away.
Consider exhibits A & B . .
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
– Romans 5:8 –
This is love: not that we loved God,
but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
– 1 John 4:10 –
At it’s core, this kind of love is not only packed with mercy and grace but it is filled to overflowing with it’s most dominant characteristic: generosity.
The Apostle Paul struggled to adequately describe this kind of supernatural generosity . . citing in 2 Corinthians 8:9 how our Lord Jesus Christ traded his riches for our poverty . . and further citing in Ephesians 2:4-8 that for ages to come God will show us the immeasurable riches of his grace demonstrated by being made alive with Christ . . similar to Paul’s Ephesians 1:8 description where “the riches of His grace” were “lavished” on us.
The Fragrance of Faith . . In Jesus
If you are looking for the “signature scent” (2 Corinthians 2:15) of a genuine Christ-follower, one who has truly rejected the pattern of a “push others away” world . . you know, the kind of “pushing” that creates distance in relationships and is rooted in anger, judgmentalism, condemnation, indifference, unforgiveness, hatred and selfishness . . well, that signature scent would have to be generosity. This kind of generosity can be mimicked on various levels in our lives for a time (that is the lure of religion), but it can only flow freely by God’s grace (vs man’s efforts) in the life of one who has “been bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19-20) and “made alive with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5).
While thousands upon thousands of lives find there way to a weekend worship service or experience at a nearby church, God’s Word defines authentic worship as beginning in the heart of a Jesus-follower who chooses to agree with God that what was his prior to salvation (his time, priorities, resources, physical ability, skills etc) now belongs wholly and exclusively to God and God’s purposes.
No where is the clarion call of generosity more resoundingly issued than in Romans 12:1 where Paul called out Jesus-followers to a “living sacrifice” life . . and no where is it better unpacked than in Paul’s instruction to Timothy . .
Tell those rich in this world’s wealth
to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money,
which is here today and gone tomorrow.
Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage –
to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous.
If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.
– 1 Timothy 6:17-19 –
Did you catch that last phrase “Gaining life that is truly life”?
Essentially, Paul is stating that authentic salvation can only be a by-product if one dares to receive for something far more valuable than the pride-based rigors of religion as a whole and certainly the religion of measured giving . . if one dares to receive a relationship with Christ . . one which is only possible when push gives way to pull . . for us . . and through us.
Jess and Angela Correll took the dare . .
For Jess and Angela Correll, what has resulted is resignation to self-serving empire-building and instead “all-in” commitment to God-honoring expansion of the kingdom of Christ through a business lifestyle that cares for people first . . leaving no question in the minds of many about whether they are governed by . . push or pull.
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