Now it’s time to sit back and ponder what we’ve read and reflected on for eleven chapters. A few scriptures to remind me of the extraordinary power and love God has for me: Ephesians 1:18-19, 3:17-20.
The love of Christ is beyond all knowledge, beyond anything we can intellectualize or imagine. It is not a mild benevolence but a consuming fire.
In reality it seems that religion is much easier than the kind of faith and love that God calls us to accept. Following a strict set of rules, no matter how difficult provides an imperical measurement, a factual perspective. However, it’s impossible to quantify how much I love my wife, though I tell you it’s a lot!
Manning shares two stories in this brief afterword:
- Mary Magdalene, a woman who demonstrated amazing discipleship in a time when women were considered second class is a fitting example for us all to emulate. It’s interesting to read recent articles on Mary and her leadership role in the early church. A woman who came to Jesus with seven demons became the model Christ follower. Interesting to say the least.
- Peter was already back to his trade of fishing when Jesus cooked breakfast for him after his resurrection. The one who denied Jesus was reinstated beyond his wildest dreams. Peter was able to preach from his brokenness. If he had succeeded in his own power, his story would have likely gone nowhere, but in Christ he found strength.
And now it’s time for our story, what will it be? Stop putting on masks and pretending to be something I’m not. Transparently love others. Lord help me to study the life and words of Christ and those who follow him with passion so I may be an instrument of your peace and a light to the lost. God, I’m so unworthy of such a task! It’s ridiculous for me to even ask for such things, but I trust you have a plan and all I truly want out of this life is to leave knowing I gave it my very best for you.
1 exigency. An urgent need or desire. Love has its own exigencies.