I saw this and laughed and then I thought of all of us who get into the trash cans of life. We end up wearing the evidence as a collar of shame. It takes the love of a believing family and the loving hands of the master to help us get free. Our call as believers is to be a loving family that chooses to embrace those with shame, guilt and condemnation. We need to allow the Master the time it takes to remove all the evidence and help clean up the mess. We all know what the trash can is like, the attraction and the taste. The end result is always a mess. It’s never too big of a mess that He can’t clean up.
In John chapter 11 Jesus friend Lazarus has died and Jesus is summoned to the scene. The faith of those around limit Jesus to heal, but not bring back to life that which is dead. How many people do you know trapped in places far away from God, dead to the things of God, lost in deep sin. You see no ongoing relationship with Jesus in their lives.
I know many people who seem so far away from relationship with Jesus, that it’s hard to believe they will ever come to know Him. There are many times I limit God. I believe He can do some things but not all things. I’m limited, but He is not. Jesus faced the obstacle that stood between Lazarus and life. He tells those around to remove the stone. We are the ones the Father uses to remove obstacles. We partner with the Holy Spirit in removing obstacles by how we love, how we serve, in how we demonstrate the goodness and kindness of the Father. We represent Jesus to a world dead and without hope. We “re”-present Him in a world that thinks He is angry or in a bad mood. We re-present Jesus to many who have been told He uses sickness, disease and destruction to teach them a lesson. James 1:17
Those standing near the tomb say, “It’s going to stink, He’s been dead four days”. In John 11:40 Jesus says, “if you believe you will see the Glory of God”. That means He will manifest, show Himself. Show who He really is…He is the one who loves so much He brings life back to the things that stink, and to that which is dead. He brings revival! Revival literally means, “to live again.”
Jesus was secure in His identity. He knew His Father loved Him because He knew His father listened to Him. He said in John 11:41-42, “You have heard me and you ALWAYS hear me”. God NEVER ignores you, He knows your name and He knows your voice. He calls Lazarus by his name and then Lazarus comes out. Jesus knows us all by name and calls those things in our lives that are not, as if they are. He then says to those around, “Loose him, and let him go”. Loosing and letting go is our job.
The Father saves and than we help people get free from condemnation, judgement, fear and shame. We do this in how we love, in what we say and how we say it. We represent Christ in what we believe and how we believe. Only in a loving, safe, transparent and real community of believers can people truly get free. In religion you only pretend to be free, it’s too dangerous to be honest, transparent to truly get free.
We have all been dead, we have all been in the trash (and still go back to it every now and then) We are not identified by the smell of the trash (our sin) but by the fact that we belong to the Father. Our salvation is not based on our behavior, but by the finished work of the cross. He does not love us any less when we behave bad, or any more when we behave good, He just loves us. We are not sinners, we are saints. (2nd Cor. 5:17) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new”.
We can’t be afraid of sin, or those lost in it. When we are saved, sin is not the big issue with God because the remedy to all sin is Jesus. The real issue that concerns the Father is the motivation for our sin. Why do we go back to the trash can and not come eat from His table? Why would we want to rummage in the trash when He prepares a banqueting table in His presence? When we do go back to the trash can it’s always important to know we can always come back to Him, as well as find help and healing in the community of real believers.
Healing and freedom come to us when our minds are transformed. Romans 12:2. Knowing our identity is the key to our healing as well as a transformed mind. The greatest lie of the enemy is when he tells us we are not worthy to approach the Lord’s table or be in church with other believers. The enemy tells us others have it altogether and you don’t, how great of a lie that really is!
Our job as believers is to encourage and remind each other who we really are. Remind each other that we are Sons and daughters, not orphans, sinners or trash dwellers and that we don’t have it all together.
We each have a place at His table. A chair that remains empty until we come and fill it, our chair. We get to dine with the Father and with each other. We belong even when we don’t behave. Our behavior changes when we know we belong. He is inviting you to His table… Come and eat. Let Him take out the trash. In His love, Jack