Black, cold, hard, dead. That is how the ground looks. Still so frozen underneath that you cannot dig.
Yesterday, I had the initial inspiration for this devotion. As I was leaving the house, I could see the starts of the tulips pushing their way through the ground. I had planned to take a picture and the day just sort of got away from me. This morning when I woke up, the sprouts were covered with snow!
As I looked at the beginnings of new life emerging from the ground, I could not help but think of how like me that ground could often be. Hard and unyielding, determined to do things in my own time, my heart can sometimes seem dead to hope and joy and be covered instead with the snowdrifts of discouragement, frustration and disappointment.
The more I thought about the little bits of green pushing their heads up from the ground, the softer my heart became. Those little bits of green are hope and life and the promise of new beginnings.
In the first three verses of Ephesians 2, Paul is describing the black, cold, hard, deadness of the people’s hearts before they opened them to Jesus. In verses four through ten, Paul is explaining the growth and new life that are available to us if we will only submit ourselves to God.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Just like the beautiful flowers that arrive every spring, I go through times of dormancy in my spiritual life. When I am purposing to live for Christ it is hard to understand how I could ever not but in the times of darkness it can be difficult to see that there is hope.
When Jesus came to this earth, He had to leave His Father’s side. I wonder how like darkness that must have seemed to Him. He loves us and came with a purpose but to see and live amongst the lostness of this world must have been crushing. Yet, just like the little tulip bulb, Jesus knew that He had a job to do.
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
Jesus endured the cold winter of the cross (the crucifixion Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19) in order to bring new life and to bring it abundantly.
1 Timothy 1:14
The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Through the sacrifice of enduring punishment and death at Calvary and keeping His promise to live again, Jesus brought hope and salvation to the whole world. He is faithful to bring new life – even to a cold and tired heart. Just like the little tulip, all you have to do is turn your face to the light and warmth of the Son. He is waiting for you.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.