I am standing at the end of the wooden pew – dressed in my Sunday best. I am not a fan of wearing dresses or frilly socks with patent leather shoes. My older sister wears these things quite well, so I follow suit.
The pew in this sweet Methodist Church is large enough for the four of us…my dad closest to the window. Then my mom, sister, and me on the end. I love the blue stained glass windows juxtaposed on the white clapboard siding.
I love this place.
The service is almost to its end. It’s taken all my self-control to sit and listen and sing the hymns. It is so hard not to talk or flick my sister’s hair, but I am reverently following the service order in my bulletin, checking each element off as we complete it.
Trying so hard to avoid any shhhhhh’s because I am a talker.
Near the service’s end our pastor asks if anyone wants to accept Jesus. I feel compelled to block the aisle. I don’t want any of my family walking forward. I can’t explain why, but the thought of walking forward scares me. And it scares me for my family.
My six-year-old heart feels it’s too hard. If we go forward, we have to do all the stuff the pastor is talking about. I keep thinking…I can’t do all that. And, what if I go forward and make that promise then I am unable to do all that?
What happens then?
Some part of that six-year-old still lives in me. The one who wonders…what if I can’t live up to all that I am taught and told to do? What if I don’t pray without ceasing? What if I don’t have a quiet time or read my Bible daily? What if I don’t love my neighbor some days? What if I am not a member of a church? What if one of my children turns his or her back on Jesus? What if I don’t grow in my faith, teach a Bible study, or share Christ with others?
What if I fall short?
I know the answer… He loves me still.
But for many years I’ve wondered about these what if’s, wondering how can I live like God loves me? Like He loves me so much that He sent His son to DIE for me? To rescue me?
How can I live rescued?
I’ve been praying about, questioning, studying, and researching this as part of a local women’s ministry team who is preparing for a conference. I have begged God for a fresh revelation about this year’s conference theme: “rescued.” I have been plagued by this part of the day’s message…
How does one live rescued? What does that look like?
Admittedly, I have not come to any easy answers. I am still praying, questioning, researching, studying, and begging God for a fresh revelation. But, He has begun to speak…
I ask my friend, Krysten, to make me a necklace that says Live Rescued. I thought wearing these words around my neck would serve as a daily reminder to continue seeking Him about living rescued while I try to…well…live rescued.
Krysten replied with…What a great phrase! Live rescued… Always thankful, knowing you’re worth the risk, you’ve been pursued, now alive… Wow, the meaning that holds!
Always thankful. Knowing I am worth the risk. Knowing I have been pursued. Knowing I am now alive, no longer dead in my sin. Free not enslaved.
Wow! The meaning that holds. (Thanks, Krysten!)
Sadly, just a few months ago if you had asked me: What does it look like to be saved? How does one who is saved or rescued live? I’d have answered…
She attends church, prays, and studies her Bible. She loves others. She probably attends Bible studies and tithes to her local church. She serves others. She tries to reflect Jesus.
But, God has shown me…she surely might do and should do these things. They are all right and good. Yet living rescued is a heart thing not a “doing” thing.
The one who is rescued…saved by grace…should not begin with all these to-dos. Instead, she should begin with surrendering all to the one who saved her by His grace: Jesus.
She should begin with Him. With the gospel.
As Mary DeMuth writes in her book Everything…
All your life is the gospel.
The gospel of Jesus Christ should be both simple and profound. Simple in its beauty, but profound in the life change it should bring. No longer enslaved to sin, which so easily entangles, we receive a new nature from the Spirit of God. We are to live like Christ – self-sacrificing, loving to a fault, humble, empowered, fully alive. We now represent God’s kingdom in this earthly realm, clearly establishing Jesus as our King and God’s rule as supreme over all. The gospel is about spreading and living God’s fame…the gospel isn’t a life management program. It shouldn’t merely be the crutch we fall on when life gets ugly. It should be the legs we walk on, the air we breathe.
Long ago in that church pew I thought I had to begin with the to-dos – tasks that my six-year-old heart never thought I could do. And now I know…believe…none of us begins there.
We begin with dying to ourselves, surrendering to Him, listening to His Spirit living within us, and embracing Him as Lord. And from there, He leads.
From there we are able to be thankful. Free. Alive. Self-sacrificing. Loving. Humble. Kind. And more.
He transforms us, helping us to become more and more like Him.
It’s who we are. Not what we do.
We are rescued.
If you’d like to share how you live rescued, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.