Tuesday, August 22, 2017

FIRST-PERSON: Scary awesome

FIRST-PERSON: Scary awesome

COVINGTON, La. (BP) -- My wife Martha and I had the opportunity to make a trip to Yellowstone National Park this summer. It has always been one of the places she particularly wanted to go.

We also visited the Grand Teton National Park which is only a few miles from Yellowstone. In many ways it is more breathtaking than Yellowstone. We also spent some time in other parts of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

But one of the most wonderful places we visited we didn't even know about. We left Montana heading back into Wyoming and saw a promising-looking highway -- the Beartooth Highway -- that led from Red Lodge, Montana, to Cody, Wyoming.

Martha described it as "scary awesome." That meant she wanted me to "keep your eyes on the road" amid the awesome scenery. We saw mountain goats at the pass crossing from Montana to Wyoming at 10,900-plus feet. The switchbacks were truly scary, amazing, inspiring and astounding.

Martha's phrase about "scary awesome" kept reverberating in my mind. While the highway with its narrow road and amazing scenery was truly scary, it was the kind of scary you never want to miss.

I think of the Gospel in the same way. It is "scary awesome."

The Gospel is scary because we have to "die to self" -- to surrender the things we assume we could never live without -- so that we can live to God.

The Gospel is awesome because "to live is Christ but to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). It is awesome because the "light momentary afflictions" of this present time are nothing compared to the glorious riches laid up in heaven for us (2 Corinthians 4:171-8). It is awesome because "henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge" has prepared for all of us who believe (2 Timothy 4:8).

How sad for those people who miss so many awesome things in life because they are afraid. How much more sad for those who miss the awesome blessings of the Christ life because they are afraid to submit to Him. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel," Paul said, "because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed -- a righteousness that is by faith from first to last...." (Romans 1:16-17).

The Gospel transforms and makes us alive. It is the power of God.

For this reason, life with Christ is sometimes scary. It demands fortitude, perseverance and courage. But it is awesome -- the kind of awesome you would never want to miss.



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