LIFE IS FRAGILE, BUT WE HAVE PERMANENCE IN CHRIST

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LIFE IS FRAGILE, BUT WE HAVE PERMANENCE IN CHRIST

Today is my wife’s birthday. And it marks the beginning of ‘birthday season’ in our family. For by the time we get to the end of January, her sister, her mother and yours truly would have all had our birthdays. That’s two thirds of the family, and we haven’t included grandpa yet.

And while we look forward to the celebrations and marvel at how we have been so blessed to be able to share ‘birthday season’ with Jesus, and enjoy the festivities of His birthday while remembering ours; looking at the three generations who are commemorating our births this season brings home a sobering reality.

“All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,” 1 Peter 1:24

When I was in the army, my mates and I used to joke that life gets easier as we age. Because with age comes illness and disease; so the aches and pains that we used to pretend to have, just to get out of training, become more believable. But now that we are at the age where the aches and pains are acceptable, the irony is that there is nothing we won’t trade for perfect health and a strong young body.

Isn’t that true for you too? When you were young, I’m sure ‘fevers’ and ‘colds’ were a daily ritual for you, just so that you could get out of school. But now that you are older, fevers and colds sometimes get you worried. And that brings me to the point.

Life is fragile. No matter which way you skin that cat, no matter how many serums you use on your face and tonics you consume, you cannot run away from life’s transience and fragility.

Just look around you. Nothing is ever ‘built to last’ anymore, is it? Because the truth is, nothing really lasts. Everything withers and fades. Even our plans and priorities change. The things we swore we would never do, or thought that we could never live without, change with the changing of the seasons; till one day, we realize that we are quite different people from who we were 10, 15 years ago.

But you know what? We who believe, are a blessed bunch. Because for us, instead of fragility and impermanence, we have

“…been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” 1 Peter 1:23

It is fitting that we look at life’s fragility through Peter’s eyes. For we remember that Peter was the man who once said,

“Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” Matthew 26:35
And we all know that Peter ended up denying Jesus three times; talk about the fragility of will.

Yet, this ‘denier’ of God has turned man of God, and so strong did his faith become that he purportedly chose to be crucified upside down when his captors came for him. But why did this transformation take place? How did he go from being a momentary coward to becoming a life-long champion?

Well beloved, for Peter, it all started because even before he fell,

“…the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”” Luke 22:31-32

You see, impermanence is not God’s way. He doesn’t like things fragile. He likes things solid, sure, true and long-lasting. All you need to do is read the story of creation and the book of Revelation and you will soon come to realize that it is our Father’s habit to do things and say things that last for all eternity. And that is why Jesus said,

““Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”” Matthew 7:24-27

Because we have put our faith in Jesus, our lives are built on God’s permanent rock. Though the trials of life may come, though they may lash at us as the rains do and overwhelm us as the floods do, we will more than stand up to the test, because we are all founded upon the permanence of Jesus’s promises, because we can all rely on the permanence of Jesus’ love for us.

Think about it. There was much impermanence in the words of Peter. But when Jesus said,

“…I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”” Luke 22:32

There was no impermanence in that. In fact, in the end, Jesus not only restored Peter’s self-image, He also restored Peter to ministry.

“After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.” John 21:15-17 [NLT]

Indeed, “the word of the Lord endures forever.” 1 Peter 1:25

And that means that His promises endure forever, His protection endures forever, His provision endures forever, His grace and mercy endure forever, because Jesus’ Love For You Endures Forever.

I’m no Bible scholar, so I’m not for obscure passages taken from singular translations. But I’m going to continue this world’s trend of impermanence and point you to one today because if there is one thing that you must take away from today’s message, it is this;

“Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. …” 1 Peter 1:2 [MSG]

If you are battling with sin today, rest, because God has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient. If you are battling with a crisis today, rest, because God has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient. If you are battling with a lack of faith today, rest, because God has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient. If you are battling with temptation today, rest, because God has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient.

Now, obedience is doing what God wants you to. So what does God really want us to do? What work shall we do in order to prove that we be obedient to God?

“Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”” John 6:29

And how are we kept in obedience?

“…by the work of the Spirit…” 1 Peter 1:2 [MSG]

So you see, the strength you need to fight the challenge that you are facing today will come from the Spirit because God has determined that you be kept believing in His Son. God is not doing this because He is free. He is not doing this just because it is the Christmas season. He is doing this because He is determined.

And think about it, how can your faith continue to be, if trials are not overcome? How do you keep on believing if Jesus doesn’t come through for you? So you see beloved child of God, our solutions are not founded upon the fragility of this world. Our solutions are founded upon the permanence of God’s love for us.

So if you are facing an uncertain future, if the road ahead seems dim, remember

“Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours!” 1 Peter 1:2 [MSG]

Rest and rejoice, for the Spirit is going to help you keep the faith so that everything good from God will surely be yours.

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