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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Thursday-Once Upon a Time


Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.


Colossians 1:21


How many stories start out with, once upon a time? So many fairytales and fables all start out with that familiar phrase? Even Walt Disney wisely used it in the beginning of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs[1].


When our daughter was little, I used to snuggle up with her in bed and tell her stories. For a long time I told her tales about Salley Squirrel the Girl Squirrel. Every evening the first words out of my mouth were, “Once upon a time, Salley Squirrel the Girl Squirrel” and the story went from there.


Paul says the same thing about us. Once upon a time we were alienated from God. We weren’t from the same family. The same neighborhood. The same country. And as we all know, aliens aren’t treated the same.


When a member of your family or close friend is coming to your house, what do you do? We clean up. We straighten up. We buy food and drink that they will like. And why? Because we already know them. We’re family. We’re friends.


And what do we do when someone we don’t know comes to our house. That’s right. Nothing. They’re a stranger so why go to all the trouble. We don’t vacuum the floor or wash all the dishes in the sink. We don’t dust the furniture either.


Whether we think it’s right or not, it’s just a matter of truth. We treat people we know better than strangers. We go out of our way for the people we know. For our family and friends that we’re connected with, nothing is too much trouble.


And while it’s true for us, it’s not true for God. He went way out of his way for you and me when we were nowhere close to him. In fact, it’s worse than that. We weren’t just strangers to God, we were his enemies.


For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!


Romans 5:10


We need to remember that being the enemy of God isn’t just something that we just stumble into. It’s not an accident. No. Being the enemy of God means that we’re actively hostile towards the one that made us. We purposefully and deliberately do what we know is going to hurt his heart. Be disobedient against our loving Heavenly Father. The one that loves us.


Our words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes weren’t just a little bit against God. All our behavior was evil towards God. What we did, what we said, what we thought was done to destroy our child connection with God. We were out to ruin the relationship he made us for.


And all the things we were doing didn’t come from an accident. We lived in such a rebellious way that we weren’t just walking along an evil path. Oh no, we’d come to the place that we sat down where we could hurt God the most. Do the most damage[2].


While we were God’s enemies, he didn’t just kick us to the curb. Even though we deserved it. He could have said, “Away with them all” and he’d be well within his rights. We deserved nothing but his anger and punishment. We deserved his wrath[3]


And then came the idea that we could figure it out all on our own. That we’d come up with a solution. A fix. Some people look for a spiritual guide to help them figure it out. Or they look to spiritual beings like angles to show them the way.


And while some people look for help from the outside, the favorite American way is for us to create our very own DIY, Do-It-Yourself, spirituality. We get to create our very own way to fix ourselves. We believe that if we do enough good things that we will somehow make up for all the bad stuff we’ve said and done.


Nothing, and I mean nothing, could be further from the truth. The more we try to get closer to God, to fix ourselves, the further and further we move away from God. The more that we work to pay for our own sins and brokenness, the more pride grows in our hearts and minds[4].


Because our behavior, our actions and thoughts, are evil, we’re really up a creek without a paddle. The only thing that will happen is to be pulled further and further away from our loving God. Eventually, we’ll be thrown against the rocks of life and broken into a thousand pieces.


That’s why Jesus had to come. That’s why he had to die for our sins. That’s why he had to be raised from the dead. That’s the good news. The gospel story. A story where God himself is our knight in shining armor whose come to save us.


Now that’s a story worth telling. A story worth hearing. It’s the best “once upon a time” story in all the world.

[2] Psalm 1:1

[3] Ephesians 2:3

[4] Ephesians 2:8,9

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