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Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. -- Isaiah 55:1

Maybe it was sitting in the sunshine and being warm for the first time in 2011. Maybe it was the chicken sandwich or free diet coke refills. Or maybe the Holy Spirit wanted to teach me something and used a friend to do it. I believe it was all three, but not necessarily in that order!

So I'm sitting in the sunshine eating a chicken sandwich with my good friend and brother-in-Christ Dave today and he noted with concern how some folks preach that being saved is the “whole ball of wax”--after that you can kick back and wait for your prize or, if you prefer, run around in a hurting world gomping up blessings like Pac-Man.

"The moment you're saved, you're conscripted," he explained. "You're drafted. You have your marching orders and are expected to carry them out. You've won the battle...but you still have to fight it."

Check, please! There it was.

I repeated the phrase to myself a few times. "You've won the battle but you still have to fight it." Having watched more college basketball than I should have the night before, I thought, "that's like knowing you're going to win the NCAA tournament before it starts--but you still have to play each game with all your heart, soul, mind and strength." I liked Dave's version better.

Before we moved on to other topics, he said simply, "God's ways are different than our ways." Isn't that the truth? Jesus says "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it" (Matt 16:25). He also says "those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last." (Matt 20:16).

 Why battle when you know already know the outcome? It seems counter-intuitive at best. But that's exactly what we're called to do. We don't have to understand, but we have to obey. Seizing upon the potential for misunderstanding here, some faiths, denominations and/or churches teach that you are never sure of anything and must continue to earn your way into Heaven (via donations or accumulated "good deeds.") Paul says the opposite of this in Romans 10:10: "For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."

Finding faith in God through Jesus Christ is an overwhelming victory against almost impossible odds. If you know Jesus and are assured of your place in Heaven, that's cause for rejoicing indeed! But that love must compel us to reach out to others in humble service. Remember John 21:15?

 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?"

 "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."

 Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

Jesus didn't tell Peter to first sit back and reflect upon the glory of his resurrection or to deepen his spiritual understanding in private study and meditation. He didn't tell him to sit and wait for his prize. He told him to go find someone to help.

There is still a battle to fight, even though we know the outcome. Brothers and Sisters, you have your orders! _______________________________

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding – Proverbs 3:5


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