Never Alone Again

Photo by Steve Williams.  Fasi Winery Driving Tour

Photo by Steve Williams. Fasi Winery Driving Tour

 

“Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope.  But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.”  (Ephesians 2: 11-13 NLT)

I look back in amazement that when I gave my life to Jesus I near instantaneously connected with a whole new group of friends.

At the time I was living in a fraternity house surrounded by “brothers.”  Continuous parties,  girls and drinking. Yet, in many ways I felt alone.  Sure lots of friends but few I could open up to.

I even tried going to church.  Thought maybe I could find answers there.  The church I was raised in was mostly focused on social action which I wasn’t into so it seemed futile.

I attended once a large charismatic church also.  Frankly, I felt like an outsider.  I couldn’t understand what was going on and all of the commotion scared me.

 

I wasn’t against God.  I hoped he was there.

 

I prayed occasionally just in case.  But frankly I didn’t feel I completely belonged anywhere.

Yet, after that night that I prayed my feeble prayer that God would accept me my life changed dramatically.

Along with being filled with unexplainable peace, I suddenly found myself included in a new group of friends.

But they were more than just casual friends.  I had dozens of those.

I was accepted rough edges and all.  And you can only imagine how rough those edges seemed to a church group.

Yet, we actually prayed for one another when one of us was struggling.  We ate together.  Had fun together.  Learned about God together.  And just spent time with each other because we cared.

Out of that group came my wife and some of the closest friends I have today.

 

This passage shows us this incredible new way of life.

 

And he also makes it also very clear how this new life comes about.

So much is written today about spirituality.  Younger people particularly seem interested.  And that’s a good thing.

Yet, so much is baked like a cake.  Writers blend ideas that seem like a good recipe.  A dash of Christianity, a pinch of Buddhism, sprinkle in some New Age, etc.  Unfortunately the cake doesn’t always turn out well.

Because, while God loves us all only those who follow his recipe end up in the fullness of a relationship with him.

And while the spirituality interest is good it can still leave people feeling alone.  They don’t feel close to God or other believers.  They have nothing to hope in because they’re making it up.

Paul writes instead that the relationship with God and other believers comes as we believe Jesus gives us the way to become part of his family.  And then ask for it.  That’s it.  Nothing more.

And look at what results.

  • We were separated from God but now feel a closeness that’s hard to explain.
  • We were aliens but now live as citizens of God’s kingdom with all the privileges.
  • We were excluded from but now live in his family.
  • We had little hope but now are filled with it because we see God blessing our lives.
  • We faced this world alone but now in a relationship with God and friends.

 

We’re offered a new family.  The choice is ours.

 

How have you experienced this feeling of love?