Psalms 12; 146
1 Peter 1:13-25
I have a kind of unhealthy obsession with bags and backpacks. It was worse when I was commuting by bicycle more frequently, because I lived with this assumption that there had to be one bag that would check all the boxes that I was looking for. Waterproof. Big enough to hold a day's worth of gear. Not too cumbersome on the ride. Good organization pockets. There had to be a bag that would fit all my categories, right?
And so the following scene would play itself out regularly for me. I would stumble across a bag that made sense, that seemed like it could check all the boxes. I would save my pennies, because bags and backpacks are unreasonably expensive. I would wait for the package to arrive in the mail. I would hype up to myself how this was the bag that was going to change everything. This was the bag that was going to make getting to work by bike easier. This was the bag that would keep my gear dry. This was the bag that would actually make getting up hills a little easier! And then I would use the bag for a week or two and...
That euphoric feeling I was hoping for, that desired outcome, that changed view on life, never came. It would be just hollowness. Emptiness.
And I fell into this trap again, and again, and again, and again.
(Fun fact: I wrote the first part of this post in the morning, and then went to a meeting which happened to be near REI, so obviously I went in. Guess what I almost did, immediately after writing about that hollow, empty feeling? Humans are so predictable.)
I think that's why Peter's words this morning caught me so hard:
"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."
The words empty way of life caught me in a big way, particularly in this holiday shopping season. I think we know when we're chasing emptiness, but usually it only shows itself in the end. We finally catch what we've been chasing for, and it leaves us feeling hollow and broken down. I think about the people who I pass by every day in the coffee shop or whatever, who aren't so much living a life as they are enduring it. And I keep thinking, we were meant for so much more.
To remind ourselves that Jesus wants to redeem us out of that kind of life is worth while. Sometimes we think that if we're not miserable sinners, then Jesus must not want much to do with us. In fact, Jesus came that we would have life, and life to the full (John 10:10). So Peter reminds us that the precious blood of Christ was shed to pull us out of our sleep walking ways, away from an empty way of life, and toward the goodness and fulness of life in Christ.
However your life shows its empty side, whether that's in consumerism or worry or fear or doubt or sex or whatever, you don't have to live like that. Christ has come to redeem us from it all! And that, my friends, is truly good news!