One on one

I have a confession to make. I am both a terrible control freak and a perfectionist. But they say admitting you have a problem is the first step toward recovery, right? . . . Although, I have to say I’ve never figured out who “they” are . . . In any case, I really do struggle with this. I have a real problem letting go of things and trusting other people to get them done correctly. And many times, it’s not healthy for me. I load myself down with too much stuff.

On the other hand, there are times when doing something yourself is better than letting someone else do it. It’s one of those things in life where you have to have a balance. Because sometimes God has given you a unique gift to be able to accomplish something, and if you aren’t paying attention — or if you’re refusing to listen — you’ll miss the opportunity to be personally involved in something lifechanging.

The verse this morning is 1 Peter 2:24.

24 He personally carried our sins
      in his body on the cross
   so that we can be dead to sin
      and live for what is right.
   By his wounds
      you are healed.

I think this verse is really interesting because it stresses the fact that Christ personally carried our sins on the cross. Redundant language in the Bible always catches my attention because God never repeats things unless He wants us to pay attention to it.

This verse could have just said that Jesus carried our sins. Wouldn’t that be enough to communicate that He did it for us? Why does it stress that He did it personally?

So I decided to check it out in the Amplified version of the Bible to see another translation’s take on the language:

24He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree [a][as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.

It’s similar, stressing the fact that Jesus did it Himself.

Reading this verse helps me remember that sometimes I forget how personal God is. It’s easy to put Him in religious box and stuff Him high on a shelf and only go looking for Him when I run into trouble, but that’s wrong. God is bigger than any box I can imagine, and not only is it foolish to try to contain Him, it’s detrimental to your health.

God is a personal God. He sees every aspect of our lives, and He wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives. Every step we take, every decision we make, every though we have, He wants to be at the center of it because He wants to be in a relationship with us.

When you’re in a close relationship with someone, don’t you make decisons based on them? Don’t you choose to spend time with them because you love them? Or go places with them? God wants to be that close of a friend to us.

Christ died for us personally so that we could have a personal relationship with God through Him. Read the rest of the verse, though.

24 He personally carried our sins
      in his body on the cross
   so that we can be dead to sin
      and live for what is right.
   By his wounds
      you are healed.

He died so that we could be dead to sin and live for what is right.

Before He died for us, we had no escape from the sin that controls our lives. By trusting Him, by accepting Him, He becomes our personal God and offers us freedom. We don’t have to sin anymore. We have a better choice.

Do we still sin? Well . . . yes, unfortunately. Because we’re still human and still dealing with a dark nature we won’t be rid of until Christ comes back for us. But because of Christ’s personal sacrifice, we have hope. We can get up in the morning and decide that we’re going to do what is right, to live without letting sin control us, through the power of God’s Spirit in our lives.

What we have with God through Christ is a one-on-one relationship. It’s personal. It’s alive. God should be shoved on a shelf, ignored until we need Him. He is moving and alive and interested and invested in each of our lives on a personal level and He wants to be our friend.

I don’t feel like I’m making a lot of sense this morning. It’s earlier than usual because I have to be at work two hours ahead of normal, so I’m going to stop rambling and end with another version of this verse that really encouraged me this morning.

I don’t often study from the Message since it’s a paraphrase version of Scripture, but there are times when it really captures the meaning of a verse or series of verses very clearly. This is one of those passages:

 21-25This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step. He never did one thing wrong, Not once said anything amiss. They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.

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