I should not attempt to walk in Christ apart from "It is Finished"

So I am probably going to get in trouble with this post, not because of the content of it but for this next statement. I have wanted a tattoo, but not for the sake of getting a tattoo. I want two greek words marked on my arms so every time I look down, have my head in my hands or look in the mirror I will see "tetelestai" on my right arm and "meno" on my left. I know I have a few friends who are reading this who would try to convince me to get them and may even pay for them. I also know I have other friends who do not believe in getting tattoos and might get offended. Don't worry, I hate needles and fear them more than snakes. So maybe I will just use permanent ink? Any artist want to use a sharpie on my arms?

Okay the real reason I am writing this post, those two words are rocking my world. Last year, Michelle and I were in Nashville where we purchased a shirt and 2 wristbands with the word "tetelestai" on it. I had just finished a series of sermons about the finished work of Christ on the cross which gives power to all that Christ has accomplished for those who place their faith in Him. It is a great visual reminder of Jesus and His work. 

"Tetelestai" is Christ's declaration on the cross that His work is finished. When He cried out "it is finished" (John 19:30), Christ's declaration is that He has done everything needed to redeem falling men and women back to Himself and back to intimacy with God the Father through God the Spirit. It is the cry of victory over sin and the cry of freedom from the power of sin. When Jesus said "tetelestai", He is telling the world that all we need is Him. In Him, we now have everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), we have everything we need for eternal security (John 10:28-29), we have everything we need to live with joy in this fallen world (James 1:2-8) and we have everything we need ever(John 17:3). When Jesus declares "it is finished", there is nothing, hear me, nothing else that needs to be done. He has done it all to save us, change us, grow us and secure our place with Him for eternity. He has made the way for our salvation from sin, given us the life we need to live before heaven and then will take us to be with Him forever!

So why is "meno" important to me (and to you). The word "meno" means to abide and to persist. I can get so focused on being saved from sin and getting to heaven that I forget to search for and apply the in-between. The in-between is the time between the day my faith was set on Jesus and the day that Jesus fulfills it by taking me into eternity with Him forever. It is the life I am called to live that is the in-between. As a Christian, God has called me to live the Christ life here on earth before He calls me home to live with Him in eternity. How do I do that? When Paul commands the Colossians to "walk in Jesus" (Colossians 2:6), how do I do that? When Jesus says to abide in Him (John 15:4-5), what does that look like? 

It looks like someone who has been given everything they need and that their identity has changed forever. How do I walk in Him? How do I abide and persist in this life before eternity? By living out what Jesus accomplished for me. My identity has changed and therefore, the way I act is changing. Where before Christ, I acted sinfully and selfishly, I am now free from sin and should allow that truth to lead the way I live. To live selfishly is to deny the fact that God has saved me from selfishness. 

In the book "How People Change", there is a story on the change and beauty that Christ gives His own (chapter 4, page 58). The writer puts it this way:

     "Suppose you are a homeless person trying to survive on the street by begging for spare change. One day you learn that a wealthy uncle has died, leaving you a fortune. All that belonged to him has become yours, though you haven't done a thing to deserve it. What would you do? It would be irrational to keep begging on the street! If your mind were clear, you would draw on those financial resources to buy a house. And you would probably find ways to help others you had known on the streets

This is a picture of Christ's righteousness being credited to me, which is a result of His finished work on the cross. I am to live out the truths of "it is finished" which means I must live in the reality of "meno" or abiding in Christ. God isn't asking me to try harder or be better. He is asking me to live out what Christ has accomplished for me and gives me daily. 

Every time I have stayed in my struggles (especially recently), I had forgotten "tetelestai" and tried to live "meno" in my own strength. It was too much weight for me to carry and will always be that way. If I do not lay my hope and source from Christ's finished work, I cannot walk in Him without failing. Persisting must be launched from Jesus!

These past weeks and months have been incredible, and beautiful. Incredibly, God is walking me back into these truths. God is still renewing my hunger and passion to persist in these truths, allowing Him to overflow His life in me to others. However, what makes it beautiful is not God bringing back to these truths, but through His healing of my past, I am now able to apply these to my life. I don't know how many times I had preached identity from the pulpit, only to struggle with how to apply those great works of Jesus to myself. There were too many times I walked off of a stage after preaching only to think "those are incredible truths for everyone ... but me". That is changing. What a joy I am experiencing and what a great hope I have in Him. I know I will struggle to apply these truths again. I know that the battle is still on and there are days where I am simply overwhelmed with life. My reality is I will probably walk with a limp in my soul (because of my past), but I walk in victory here on earth because of what Jesus has done for me. Jesus is healing me and is giving me His hope. These truths are mine and always will be. My job is just to make my home in them, "meno".

So instead of a tattoo, I will settle for God's Word and 2 wristbands that I wear daily. One says "tetelestai" and the other "persevere". Michelle gave me the "persevere" one for Christmas. Every morning I put these on. They are reminding me that abiding is a daily work, but a work done because Christ has done all the work! All Jesus is asking me to do is take my DADDY (abba father) by the hand and walk with Him! That's it, His journey and my trusting Him!

Can I just tell you how incredible my God is? I hope you are experiencing His life too! There is so much more to these truths that I hope to write about later, but for now, I should not attempt to walk in Christ apart from "It is Finished".

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