Friday, March 21, 2008

Thank God for Good Friday!

As a kid growing up, the thought of Good Friday was a dreadful one. I was never taught the actual events that took place. I was raised an Italian Catholic, went through the motions of going through communion and confirmation and all that good stuff, however, there was no passion in any of the teachings that were given to me. It was too complicated for me. It wasn’t “real” and it didn’t have a great impact on my life. I knew that there was a God, and that I needed to be “good”, but as far as knowing the history of God and how God is present in our daily lives was just as real as Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy to me.

I was out of control in my late teens reaching into my early 20’s. I had no direction as far as "religion" went. I sat in a confessional booth filled with guilt every 2 years or so – but only after I did something really, really bad. The priest would forgive me, but more importantly, isn’t God supposed to forgive me? I didn’t get why we had to have a medium there. I might as well have gone to a psychic in a fancy tent.

At the age of 23, I realized there was a God. There is a God! And, there’s history behind this concept of “GOD” too. I started studying the bible and learning more and more about Jesus. I knew the basics of course and that He died for our sins, but I needed to know when where why and how! This Catholic stuff wasn’t working for me, so I decided to develop my own personal relationship with Jesus and get to know Him better on my own.

Amazing things happened in my life, which I’ve written in my book. They were miracles that God has given to me in order to not only make me believe the word is true – but know the word is true. I’m stubborn- I’ll admit that. There are things that I just won’t give up for one person. But think about what God gave up for all of us: His son. He gave up His only Son, because He knew we were all a mess. We were out of control and losing grip on life fast. We couldn’t do it all by ourselves. If sin is going to continue floating around in this world, we’re inevitably going to get plagued with it. It’s impossible to perfectly live by the law.

Look at Galatians chapter two verses 17 through 21:

But what if we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then find out that we are still sinners? Has Christ led us into sin? Of course not! Rather, I make myself guilty if I rebuild the old system I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, I realized I could never earn God’s approval. So I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me an gave himself for me. I am not one for those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.

That one sentence says it all: {“For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.”}

God saved us by giving us His Son. He gave us Jesus. Then, Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit, so we wouldn’t feel alone when he left us. A lot of people don’t fully understand what the trinity stands for. But it’s all in one package: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They merge together in an awesome salvation for those who believe.

So today isn’t just a day where I curse the sky because I can’t have a burger, however, I thank the God above for sending His only Son, so that my sinful butt can be saved and that my taste for tofu will rise above the rest. But it goes so much deeper than giving up meat on Good Friday. It’s just a symbol of sacrifice that some of us can’t even comprehend. Today is the day when Jesus died a very painful and slow death…for us. Can you imagine the love that went into that? I still can’t imagine how deep His love is for all of us. Who else would do that for us? He loves us more than anyone can possibly love anyone on this earth. It’s a greater love than the human mind is capable of understanding. It’s like fish trying to comprehend algebra. Impossible to fathom.

Today I’m going to stop whining about life and its petty circumstances it brings forth. Instead, I’m going to remain grateful and remember when, where, why and how Jesus gave up His life for us.

Even if lost and neck-deep into sin, Jesus already took the burden off you…if you’re willing to accept it.