Do you know what I love? A sermon or devotional that mentions the Lord of the Flies.
There’s something interesting about seeing a person redeem such a heavy and upsetting narrative to the glory of God, amen? Some of the reason for these feelings that stir within us is because it seems wrong that someone might try and redeem a story like the Lord of the Flies. It’s about our brokenness and sometimes it’s hard to look at the world around us or, to an introspective person as we seek to be as believers, the brokenness within us, and admit that its redeemable.
I, as a pastor, cannot redeem humanity’s brokenness. I wish I could and even as I know that I can’t redeem brokenness, that does not mean that I don’t get off-track and seek in my own power to change the world. Well, shame on me. I cannot redeem broken souls. Nor can I redeem a broken culture or a contentious subject matter.
When that causes me to lose hope, I notice that I have lost my identity. God does that to us sometimes – when emotion, or anything else for that matter, begins to distract us from the hope we have in Christ, He’s telling us we’re off-track. We’re forgetting who we are. We’re losing our identity. We’re looking more and more like the boys in Lord of the Flies who begin to lose themselves and fall to the flesh.
So who are we then? I begin this search and I feel the extent to which I’m just a broken person. I’m so broken, I couldn’t begin to define who I am, what my purpose is, or whether or not I even hold any objective value.
Then I hear the hymn And Can It Be by Charles Wesley.
With biblical conviction, the words help me to understand exactly who I am. This song shares a story of a person whose soul was redeemed through an interest in the Savior’s blood. It states that, though they caused Christ’s pain even as He left His Father’s throne to pursue death for them, it was done through an amazing love which is available due to His infinite grace. It states that, though every one of us are inherently helpless, He emptied Himself of all but love and His immense mercy found us in the muck and mire to release us from our guilt and shame.
If you thought more critically than what is typical, do you ever feel imprisoned in a hopelessness where sin, the flesh, or your emotions and fears seem to motivate you from time-to-time? This is the exact moment in which a great miracle of God occurs. Like salvation or each individual moment of sanctification where we grow in our relationship to our transcendent God, He reaches into our inadequacies and draws us into freedom, releasing the chains, unlocking the dungeon’s doors, and allowing us to follow Him into the light.
Ask yourself with me today – do you know from the depths of your soul that fear cannot take ahold of you and that condemnation cannot touch you? Jesus is yours and when you’re alive in Him – with Him as your Head and sole inspiration – your identity is no longer of this world but it’s founded in the righteousness He gave and the experience we will one day have of literally stepping before His eternal throne and seeing His face shine upon us.
This is how we now think and how we engage the world. It’s not at all as a citizen of the nations, but it’s as a citizen of God’s eternal kingdom. Fear has no place because He has won the war. Anxiety cannot hold us back because He gives us His peace that is grounded in His love. Anger cannot get the best of us because we’re learning to lean into His sovereignty and grace for those He came to save, including ourselves, hallelujah! Praise God that He gave us, in our wandering, an interest in His saving blood and that He died to give us this identity which is founded in His grace alone.
Love you all,
Young Adult Minister – Evan McNeff