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The Exchange 12.23.14
Mark 8:36-37 says, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Earlier this month the President of the United States exchanged some Cuban prisoners for some American prisoners with the President of Cuba. This exchange came as a result of a reconciliation between Cuba and the United States. Some people that commentate on the President of the United States decisions, said this was a terrible exchange, they even went on to say, we got the short end of the stick. A couple weeks later my mom told me that she went and exchanged her old pair of shoes that were falling apart for a brand new pair of shoes, at a very small cost to her. In America we understand the idea of being able to make an exchange. If you get a Christmas gift you don’t like this week, you can exchange it for something else, with usually very little hassle.
Other countries do not understand exchange in the sense of being able to return something to a store for a similar product or a cash refund. While I was in Malaysia, they would not return anything, once you bought it, it was yours, there is no return, nor exchange policy in that country. As an American who is used to being able to make a mistake and have it corrected by the store, I had to learn to think clearly before I bought anything, for there was no making an exchange, once I handed that money over to the clerk.
As Christians, we have been taught that the greatest exchange the world has ever known is the exchange of Jesus’ life for our sins. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God gave His life in exchange for our sins, this is the greatest exchange that was made for us and we have been taught this from before we were saved. However, there is another exchange, that is very rarely talked about, but needs to be addressed, it is the worst exchange.
As Christians, who are recipients of the greatest exchange, we make some of the worst exchanges. We exchange the kingdom of God for our religious traditions; we exchange our family members for our ministries or jobs; we exchange our health for food that tastes good; we exchange God’s thoughts for our thoughts; we exchange trust for independence; we exchange the glory of God for the approval of men; we exchange the love of God for immorality. The list could go on and on, but the reality is, we make exchanges that are costing us the very life Jesus gave us.
During this Christmas holiday and New Year, I pray you would begin to think about what you are exchanging for life. People exchange death for life everyday, because they do not want to listen, learn, obey, change. It is not always comfortable nor convenient to live, that is why most people choose chocolate over chick peas; or religion over relationship. Jesus said, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is here!” Repent is a call to change the way you think, it is an invitation to exchange your ways for His ways.
My prayer is that we together, would stop exchanging death for life, so we could embrace the kingdom of God that is here. It takes changing the way you think and that can only happen, by spending time in the word of God and spending time with the God of the word. Merry Christmas my friends!