This week’s Scripture is another two-fer. The verses are John 14:6 and 1 John 5:11-12, and the song on “Seeds of Character” is called “The Life.” Here are the verses in the ESV (same as Seeds):
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
1 John 5:11-12
11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
These verses contain powerful truths that are central to the Christian faith. We believe that Jesus is who he said he is, and therefore the things he said are to become our testimony, lived out in our words and actions.
I believe that turning from sin and trusting in Jesus Christ is the only way to be reconciled to God, and that life with God’s Holy Spirit leads the follower to walk in truth, and the follower’s earthly life will “end” with being brought into God’s presence in heaven. This is the gospel, and this the testimony I’m trying to live out. I want to live a godly life, but I am so lacking in so many areas. I thank God for graciously giving me what is required to walk in the way of life, and pray that I will desire his truth more and more as I go. I need it!
A Christian life well lived has been on my mind for the past couple of days, as I am mourning with my family the death of one of my great-aunts, who passed away peacefully at the age of 94. The las time I saw her we spent many happy moments together and told her I loved her. Because I really, really do. I’m sad because I don’t get to see her anymore when I visit my extended family, but I’m glad she is at rest in the presence of the Lord. Indulge me; this post is going to be pretty nostalgic.
I have fond memories of my Auntie Barb: Ooh-ing and aah-ing over her many collectibles when I was little, hugs and kisses with each greeting, her calling us “sweetie” and saying “I love you,” listening to funny stories from her life (told by herself or by others as she giggled and added details), receiving special little gifts, Sundays at church during my college years (when she would often catch a little nap during the sermon), her voice– high and gentle, her eyes– always gleaming, her face– always smiling. Before Mike and I got married I got to watch her instruct him in the art of cake decorating as they prepared fondant decorations for our wedding cupcakes. She and another auntie tended the guest book at our wedding, and I was so happy that all of our guests would be greeted by such kind, gentle, and joyful ladies. (And they were seriously adorable!)
But the blessing my Auntie and the rest of my “greats” have provided in my life is more than stories or presents or even family love and support. From these older women and men, especially the ones I’ve come to know well, their faith is the biggest and best blessing they could give me. They were some of the first older people I ever knew. What a privilege it is to be loved by someone who is already halfway down life’s road (or further!) when you step onto it, someone who has walked with the Lord and learned how to trust and obey. Not that my greats are perfect people– I think they would be the first to tell you that they are not. But when I think of them, and specifically of my Auntie Barb right now, I see what can happen when we live a life connected to God through Christ and walk in step with the Spirit. I am so glad I got to know my auntie and benefit from the wisdom, maturity, and fruit of the Spirit that God brought forth in her life as she followed Him.
Here’s what I’m getting from my verses of the week: to know someone who walks with The Way (Christ) is a gift. Today, this week, and for the rest of my life I want to remember that I am not the sole beneficiary of the gifts God gives to me like faith, forgiveness, love, strength, peace, and more. I want to remember that as I follow The Way I may be (should be) blessing those around me, instructing them, and encouraging them to be connected to God through Christ. That is the legacy I want to leave, not for the sake of my own name, but for the sake of others and for the sake of God’s great name– he is the one who made us, loves us, and provided a way to be with him in spite of our sin. May the name of the Lord be great in me and may I return to these verses and the rest of the Word for the wisdom to live this life well.
The joy of heaven will also be motivating me this week as I think of my dear sweet auntie in God’s very presence, unencumbered by her earthly form and enjoying her Savior. I look forward to seeing her there when I am called to receive my own undeserved reward.