That sets us free…
Cainspirations by Kristi Cain, originally published March 31, 2023
How are you overcoming the struggle to find the right road? Let’s journey together!
Such an appealing concept — on the surface.
But the more life we experience, the more success can feel like an unreachable bar that taunts us.
Even on a less personal level, the persistence of national tragedies and international crises can make every foundation of security appear to be crumbling around us.
Yet diving deeper into God’s word can reveal a better way forward for all of us.
And as Holy Week begins Sunday, I can think of no better example than that of our truest teacher to guide us into that higher ground we’re all really looking for.
Worldly success wants to teach us many things about what gives our lives value and meaning.
To start with, worldly success proclaims that if we want a leg up in life, we need a special origin that sets us apart from the crowd.
Perhaps we will need to come from an impressive pedigree. Perhaps we will be born under a special alignment of the stars or other divine sign of a favored destiny. Maybe we will be born in a place with an auspicious association, such as a great city or a place of legend.
Such were the tales told of Octavian, or Caesar Augustus, who was the world’s most powerful ruler at the time of Jesus’s birth. And Herod, the anointed king of the Jewish people.
But no noteworthy person of that day would have looked twice at the uneducated carpenter and his teenage fiance from the poor hinterlands of Judea.
Let alone the disgrace of the teen’s pre-marital condition and the rumors circulating about the integrity of their union.
Let alone a birth in a setting that was not even fit for human habitation.
Because in a world that is ruled by a fallen prince, every outward trapping of success is designed to deceive and distract from signs of God’s true favor.
A lineage straight from heaven. The miracle of a virgin conception. The appearance of a glorious star above the City of David. The songs of angels. The words of the prophets.
Meanwhile, the fame-favored Augustus sat on his worldly throne oblivious to it all.
And when God sent three foreigners to the throne of his people’s king, Herod responded according to worldly standards of successful rulers (including almost every Roman emperor), and doubled-down on keeping his own crown by killing off the competition.
But when thousands of infant sons of Israel were slain by Herod’s army, God’s true son was spirited far away from harm.
Because in a world under the temporal rule of a prince who has been a liar and a murderer since before the dawn of Eden, the path back to our one true home must be forged right under his nose–in the secret way that only God himself can reveal.
So when the child grew into the Messiah he was born to become, not a single worldly authority approved of him.
To the Romans, he was nothing more than an eccentric religious outcast of an insignificant tribe of strange, sectarian foreigners who self-righteously abstained from all the fun things in life.
To the religious leaders, he was an arrogant young upstart from the middle of nowhere with the audacity to claim religious authority without even attempting to pursue proper rabbinical training.
And when the prince of the world continued to do his worst to thwart him–slandering him as a drunken friend of prostitutes and tax collectors, a worker of dark magic by the power of evil, and the blasphemer who must be slain for the sake of the people–God continued to forge his secret road to victory.
Even when Gethsemane reminded him there was no way out, even when the Sanhedrin ex-communicated him with a sentence of death on a tree, even when his last breath left his body–God still made a way.
Because godly victory looks nothing like worldly success. Nothing that truly lasts ever does.
So on days when it seems like the world has measured you short, remember that you are in good company.
Because Jesus’s prostitute and tax collector friends now sit at higher seats of honor than the holiest leaders of the last Jerusalem temple. His uneducated, marginalized disciples who were hunted, arrested, and executed now sit on twelve thrones in God’s celestial palace. And the same Jesus the world crucified rules from heaven as our grave-shattering, immortalizing King of Kings.
Because our Father who loves us and created us in his image will never stop working his secret ways to bring us the true victory that sets us free–and brings us home.
Don’t make me do all the talking – I’d love to hear from you!
- What has helped you count your hold onto God’s unseen hand when the world seeks to steal your focus?
- Are there any verses that remind you of God’s victory in your life?
- Do you want to hear about anything else? Any prayer requests?
Just shoot me an email – don’t be shy! And I promise to reply!
|Want to know your divine calling? Find out with my “Discover Your Destiny” Quiz!|
BEAUTY IN TODAY
Check out these awesome photos from readers like you!
PHOTO CREDITS (top to bottom, left to right): “Olivet Overlook” by the Rev. Scott Cardin, Jerusalem, Israel; “Saguaro Spring” by Sarah Witenhafer, Saguaro Lake, Arizona; “Hibiscus Blush” by Greg Guzman, Kapalua, Maui; “Dusky Shores” by Beth Bottoms, Gulf Shores, Alabama; “Breakthrough” by Kevin Berry, Mt. LeConte, Tennessee; “Cabana Breezeway” by Jon Holmer, Villa el Carmen, Nicaragua; and “Twilight on the Lake” by Brian Watson, Watts Bar, Tennessee; and “Pisa Perspectives” by Bethany Jett, Italy.
Want to share your “Beauty in Today” picture or inspirational musings? Shoot me an email and you just might be featured in my next issue!
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Thanks for visiting with us today! I hope I’ve helped you feel encouraged! – Kristi
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Work looks a lot like play for Kristi Cain and includes freelance writing for Crosswalk, inspirational blogging, writing fantastical stories of Christian fiction, teaching English to teens, and being able to say, “I’m a former journalist.” Home is nestled in the Smoky Mountain foothills with her husband and teenage children. If you ever want a little encouragement in your day, check out her newsletter. Hop over to her website for her latest happenings and join her Facebook group, a fun, faith-based community.
Cain’s life experiences and faith journey have lent her the lens through which she shapes stories of unlocking the light of destiny out of darkness. Through her writing, she hopes to encourage people to understand that the difficult places in life can be the very ingredients that shape the greatest destinies.
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