1st week of Advent

I hope this finds you well. I wanted to pass along a reflection as we all enter into this first week of Advent.

“He was a valiant soldier but he had leprosy”
 -2 Kings 5:1

In the account of Naaman the leper, we encounter a mighty man. He is smart and useful yet fatally incomplete. His affliction of leprosy is a mark that leads to death of one kind or the other. In our message last Sunday I hinted at Naaman’s condition being an allegory for our human condition. God made us and He made us good yet we have this condition of sin. We’re born into it. It’s a part of our nature. Though this condition leads to death, we can still function in this world. God made us to be creative, clever and productive people. Even in our sin we can still invent life changing technology, we can harness knowledge and science and achieve historic results. We can fly a rocket to the moon, walk around on its surface and return to earth unharmed. We are mighty. We are smart. We are useful but we are fatally incomplete.

We can use the gifts God gave us to achieve amazing things but if our sin condition goes unchecked we are impaired, limping around biding our time until old age or illness forces us to stop and take stock of what comes after this life. Our sinful nature forces us to live incomplete lives. There’s no other way to describe a life lived separated from the gracious God that made us and the eternal life He offers. We see this reality play out in the lives of many of those who achieve great things in this world. This makes me think of musicians and actors. So often musicians like Jimmy Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Janis Joplin possess a remarkable gifting that elevates them and inspires the masses. At the pinnacle of their careers, in too many of these cases, these mighty, talented and smart artists struggle with a nagging emptiness that drives them toward substance abuse and eventually a tragic, premature death.

Though these cases represent the most extreme case in point of humanity’s incompleteness, we all can relate to this condition. We all must relate to this condition or there’s no reason to long for a savior in these days of Advent. God’s entire testimony from Genesis to Revelation is an initiative to save us from the death that this incompleteness leads to. From the disobedience of Adam, we have all chosen our own path that strays from God’s original design. Every human born on earth walks this incomplete path at some point in their lives. Our Maker is too compassionate, too gracious and too merciful to allow this to continue. His desire is to make His children whole. He achieved this by giving us the fullness of Himself in a helpless baby. He assessed a world incomplete and He gave us His one and only son to make it complete once again. This long awaited savior was born in barn, in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. He came through humble and lowly means so that we might humble ourselves. That is the cost of the salvation that he brings. Faith as well as humility and obedience is our part. Just like Naaman’s pride was broken as God cleansed him of his leprosy, so too God is humbling us so that He can impart His salvation.

God assessed an incomplete world and He applied the completeness of his son Jesus Christ. In this Advent season, we symbolically wait for God to reveal Himself in this way. We actively wait for him to return and complete his cosmic equation by ushering in a complete, eternal age where death is felt and feared no more! Advent is an invitation to be made whole. If you’ve given your life to Christ, you no longer have to limp around, limited by your condition of sin. Remember that Jesus Christ paid it all and that old condition no longer governs the way you live. Through His blood shed you have been made whole for eternity. Feel the freedom to run the race and not grow weary! Feel the freedom to evaluate the incompleteness of life right now and apply Jesus Christ’s wholeness. Covid has made our social lives, our education experience, our holidays and our work glaringly incomplete. Today, wherever life feels incomplete, apply the wholeness of Jesus Christ. Close your eyes and say to yourself, “this thing is incomplete but Jesus your are complete and in you I am made complete.” In short make it a practice to allow the incompleteness of life right now to push you closer to Him.

-Ben Boatright

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