Lawrence is one of the most joyful, dynamic Christians I have ever met.
He had only been a follower of Christ for about three years, but his Bible knowledge had grown so much that his church had sent him out as a pastor/missionary. The powerful ways God was using this man amazed me – all accomplished while Lawrence worked many hours per day at his “secular” job.
Lawrence’s productivity for Christ both inspired and convicted me: Lawrence, an impoverished farm worker in Zambia, lives in poorer conditions than most anyone in the U.S. His annual income is about $200. He will never experience most of the material luxuries U.S. citizens consider “necessities” – yet the man exudes joy.
Across a vast cultural gulf and through broken English – his voice heavily steeped in his Zambian Bemba dialect – my friend quickly and clearly shared the source of his joy and inexhaustible energy: Jesus Christ, God incarnate, risen, and living within his heart.
Lawrence’s impact for Christ, in the midst of intense poverty and hardship, is proof that the reality of who Jesus is makes a tangible difference in our daily life. It does lift your spirits to reflect on the rock-solid realities that each believer has as their comfort and inheritance:
Jesus came so we could know God personally (1 John 5:20)
Jesus came to pay for sin and rescue humanity (Mark 10:45; John 10:15)
Jesus came to fulfill prophecy (Luke 24:27; John 5:39)
Jesus became man to show us the Father (John 14:8-9)
Jesus came to give us the New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15, 12:24)
Jesus was born to destroy the works of Satan (1 John 3:8)
He came to begin the Church (Matthew 16:18)
Jesus sent the Spirit to draw us to Himself (John 14:15-26)
Jesus was born in order to usher along history
(Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26, 14:62; 1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Peter 1:20-21)
Clearly, a lot was happening as Christ entered human history, performed His ministry, died on the cross, rose from the grave, and ascended to heaven. Realizing that Jesus loved each of us so much that He endured the agony of crucifixion is overwhelming enough. But the depth of His love is magnified even more when we grasp all He was doing as the crucifixion was carried out: As the razor-like thorns slit his scalp in dozens of places, as the rough splinters of the wooden cross scraped the deep lacerations on His back, and His entire body weight hung on nails in hands and feet – as Jesus endured that pain, He was (as God) “holding all of this together.”
Colossians 1:17 speaks of Jesus literally holding the elements together by His power and will. As He was being executed on Calvary so that we may be saved, the nails and cross (the actual instruments inflicting such torture) were being held together by … Him.
You think you have to juggle multiple things at once? Jesus Christ, God the Son, atoned for our sin because we could not do it, and He suffered so we would not have to. And as He did all this, He also held the universe together by His power.
He did all that in love, and He is acting on your behalf in love this day. God is in control. This was never more clearly manifested than on the cross and in the resurrection. Such precious reality can put a song in your heart and sustain you each day. Like my Zambian pastor friend, the presence and power of Jesus can illuminate each of us daily. May God grant that we each allow this to be so.