Who is God of Your Life?
The other day, I was listening to a talk by a speaker named Kim Meeder. She said something along the lines of this, “In this world, there is really just one question: ‘Who will be the god of your life?’”
Hmmm… Maybe Good Friday more than any other day, is an opportunity to ask ourselves that question.
We celebrate the day Jesus was born. Christmas.
We celebrate the day Jesus rose from the dead. Easter.
But we also celebrate the day Jesus died. And we call it good.
Whoa. That’s kinda weird, right?
What makes it good?
And what difference does it make?
Does it feel irrelevant or inapplicable to your real life?
If you’re anything like me, you may have had a busy week.
Maybe like me, you watched the Notre Dame blazing on Monday and gasped at how quickly something that seemed so permanent can go up in flames.
Maybe like me, you’ve considered the significance that twenty years ago tomorrow, two angry young men perpetrated random violence that shook a nation.
Maybe like me, you’ve read the major headlines and checked out various news outlets this week and questioned the direction the world is headed.
Maybe this week your mind has been filled with to-dos, comparisons, distractions, shame, frustration, mistakes, and overwhelm.
And maybe like me, you stumbled into this Friday wondering what makes today so good?
And maybe like some, you’ve never really felt like Good Friday had anything to do with you. Like a friend on Facebook recently casually admitted, “Easter really isn’t my thing.”
So why should it have anything to do with you or me?
This morning, my three year-old had a big fit. She wouldn’t listen to me, refused my attempts at explaining to her, angrily demanded her own way and denied my attempts to reason with her. When I finally got her freaking-out self into the van, she screamed for her own way and then started yelling at me to kiss her. I told her no until she could calm down.
She screamed all the way to town.
Something about my daughter’s tantrum this morning reminded me of my own struggle with God at times. Sometimes I want to be in control. Sometimes if I’m being real, I want to be the god of my life.
I scream and yell and demand my own way. I tell God how I think things should be done. When He offers me better than my misery, I can’t hear Him over my own pride or frustration. When He doesn’t answer the way I think He should I declare Him uncaring or distant. When I angrily point my fingers at Him, He calmly reminds me that if I come to Him with a repentant heart, He is more than willing to accept me. But sometimes I ignore Him, too focused on what I want and how I want it to even notice His presence. Then when I demand His blessing or question His goodness, He still offers to accept me. He still longs for relationship with me- even in my ugly. Even in my pride. Even in my mess.
I never really understood the love of a parent for their child until I became a parent. I never really understood how great God’s love for us was, until I grasped that He gave His only son to save us from the eternal punishment we all deserve. I never really understood how good, Good Friday is, until I realized the enormous sacrifice God made on that cross for me.
Just to give you one little glimpse of the sacrifice, here’s just one example.
Every day, it seems scientists discover new things. A universe that is greater, vaster and more magnificent than our imaginations.
I was reading an amazing article by Eric Metaxas recently in the Wall Street Journal titled “Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God.” Here is what he said about the case for a creator, “Astrophysicists now know that the values of the four fundamental forces—gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ nuclear forces—were determined less than one millionth of a second after the big bang. Alter any one value and the universe could not exist. For instance, if the ratio between the nuclear strong force and the electromagnetic force had been off by the tiniest fraction of the tiniest fraction—by even one part in 100,000,000,000,000,000—then no stars could have ever formed at all. Feel free to gulp. Multiply that single parameter by all the other necessary conditions, and the odds against the universe existing are so heart-stoppingly astronomical that the notion that it all ‘just happened’ defies common sense. It would be like tossing a coin and having it come up heads 10 quintillion times in a row.”
It boggles my mind that the God who designed all of those miraculous details and still watches as we try to explain Him away- wants a relationship with you and me.
And He proved it on Calvary. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son. That whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
That’s pretty good, right?
I mean, a God who loves you, who has a purpose for you, a God who humbled himself to a human life and died a violent death on a cross for you, just to be with you, that’s pretty amazing.
To be honest, it feels too good to be true.
I mean, how could He do that?
Why would He do that?
I was sharing with an atheist friend of mine recently about what the Bible says about love. I told her that scripture says, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)
She told me that she disagreed that sacrificial love is the greatest. She shared that she believes self-love is more important. We talked for a bit.
Later, I couldn’t help but be thankful that the greatest love is about sacrifice and not self. If you stop and think about it, self-love would have probably kept God in heaven surrounded by choirs of angels. A paramount love of self would not have allowed Him to be stripped and beaten on a wooden torture instrument, scorned and rejected by the very messed up people He came to save.
Like those who insulted Him while he bled and died, so often we want to tell Him what He should do, “If you are the son of God, come down from there.”
We want to tell Him how He should act if He’s really God.
But Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And He did it because He knew that no amount of self-love, good works, reasoning or effort on our human part could ever bring us salvation. Like Max Lucado says, He chose the nails.
He chose the cross.
“But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
That’s really good news. In fact, literally, that’s what the Gospel means: Good news.
So when a fire destroys part of an iconic church, the truth of the Gospel reminds us that this world is temporary and even the most seemingly permanent structures of humankind will fade away.
When a national tragedy happens, the truth of the Gospel reminds us that we have a Savior familiar with suffering. He offers comfort and an eternal perspective.
When the world seems headed for disaster and politicians seem corrupt and untrustworthy, the Gospel reminds us that this world is not our permanent home and we don’t have to worry about our momentary troubles as those who have no hope.
And when worries, troubles, overwhelm, to-dos, comparisons, and frustrations threaten to entangle us, the Gospel reminds us to pause and remember the goodness of God in each and every circumstance.
So this Good Friday, consider that the God of the Universe, the one who made the heavens, the planets, the stars, and the DNA that holds you together, He came for you.
Are you tired of following a different god?
Will Jesus Christ be the God of Your Life?
Will this be the Friday you see the Good?
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16a)