I am not a Bible scholar. Ok, there. I got that off my chest. I grew up memorizing a weekly Bible verse, I went to church camp, I competed in Bible Bowls, I could sing the books of the Bible frontwards and backwards…and I’m still not a Bible scholar. But since I have made an honest, committed effort (with God’s guidance and help) to remain in the Word through daily Bible study, I have gained so much! Before I go any further, I understand that everything is relative. The things I am starting to glean from the Word are not earth-shattering by any stretch of the imagination. But, they are small things that I believe God wants me to learn – on my own – as I study each day. All of that was a set-up to share a new understanding I gained while reading in the gospel of John this week. John 12:31 says “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” Growing up in youth group we sang a song with this verse (I don’t think I ever knew exactly where it was located in the Bible). But when we sang the song I understood it to mean when Christ was lifted up to Heaven to be with God – men (people) would follow Him. As I read it now – and really think about it, the meaning has changed. Jesus, when speaking of being lifted up, is not talking about his ascension to be with God, but rather he is talking about being lifted up on the cross. As a form of execution, being crucified on the cross was an excruciating form of torture meant to bring great shame to the criminal. But that does not hold true for Jesus. When he was lifted up (on the cross) it was to bring glory to God by fulfilling his wondrous plan of salvation for humanity. It was not to draw shame and ridicule and guilt. It was to draw ALL to him. Because while NONE of us are worthy, ALL of us were included in this plan to cleanse us. He was lifted up and sacrificed in order to complete God’s plan and to draw all to Him to receive the beautiful, undeserved gift of salvation.
One of my favorite Bible songs growing up was the song called “This little light of mine.” I loved the words, the hand motions, all of it. I woke up this morning thinking about the promise of the new year and all that lies ahead, and that song was in my head. I believe that things happen for a reason – there was some reason that song was playing in my mind. So I sat down with my Bible and began to look at scripture that contained the word “light.”
I went to practice last night for the newly formed worship team at Foundation Community Church. Driving there I was in a “funk” to say the least. My day had been plagued by one problem after another. I was feeling like I just couldn’t catch a break. Looking back, those “problems” were little more than minor inconveniences, but at the time the combination of all of them were troubling. So by the time I was on my way to practice, I was fighting tears (and barely winning), sick to my stomach, and was the guest of honor at my very own pity party. We were working on a new song last night (new to us), called “Mighty to Save.” I had heard this song many times, and had always liked it…but last night I fell in love with this song. I sat there, buried in problems, singing about a God so wonderful, so might to save…how could I not get over myself? The problems I was dealing with were nothing compared to the power of the God I serve. We sang the song over and over and I walked away from that practice uplifted and strong and free. Our God is mighty to save…He saves me from myself everyday.