When I started this study, it was in the spring of my last semester of my teaching career. A lot of things were on my mind. I was sad–very sad. Earlier in the year I was pretty depressed about retiring. As I reviewed the various options in my head, I still had to come to one conclusion: I should retire. I just am no longer the man I once was. I just didn’t have a lot of the energy you need to really do a good job. I readily admitted to this; it did not take any rocket science to figure it out. I accepted it easily: it was time to retire.
Teaching was my life. Sometimes it was the best part of my day–being in the classroom. But, it was not my entire life. I led with my heart, and that is probably one of the reasons why I got tired at the end. Emotions such the energy right out of you. I loved it so much–teaching.
I remember Ernest Hemingway. Writing was his life. The trouble was, writing really was his life. That was it. Nothing else. This focus made him to be a very important writer of our time, but this focus lead to his suicide, I believe. He could not write any more. What was the point of living?
Teaching was my life, but it was done in Jesus’ name. Therefore, Jesus is my life. I could have been a plumber or a used car salesman, but as long as I did those things in Jesus’ name, He would be my life, not my vocation, not my loved ones, not anything. Jesus is my life. My life is hidden in Him.
So, yes now that I am retired, it is sad to know that a very important part of my life is over. But, a very important part of my life is now beginning. Actually, this ought to be His time, not mine. So many retired people live what seems to be an idyllic life. They always make that quite clear: time to enjoy family, to travel, to do new and different things. All of that sounds good, and if that is idyllic, than I am happy for them. Perish the thought that I would ever be jealous of someone who had a happy life. There was a time when I was jealous. But, no more. I would never ever want to do anything that would rob a person of their happiness. Gee–I hope I have never done that.
Jesus is my life because it says in John 8:31-32 that if I continue in His word, I will be a disciple of His, and I will know the truth and the truth will make me free. I am free. I could have a horrible day teaching (been there done that) and walk out feeling really bad, but somewhere within me there I was with Jesus. I never have a horrible day with Jesus. Never. I could do some really dumb things and hurt myself and others and feel really bad about that. In fact I feel pretty bad about something I just did in the past 24 hours. But, those emotions are going to pass. I could never feel bad about anything that involves me and My Lord. He loves me unconditionally. That is the truth that sets me free: His love. It is up to me, however, to claim that love. How? First, by understanding my position in Jesus. If I am in Jesus positionally, I am clearly in the Kingdom. I am never alone. I am in Him with the entire kingdom. Friend–knowing this has kept me away from loneliness for a long time now, and being lonely was my M.O. for just about my entire life. That is what comes from being in Jesus.
Second, I need to claim the love of God by understanding my personage in Christ. I need to accept that I am: (1) a Saint; (2) an Ambassador for Him, (3) His workmanship to bear the fruit of good works; (4) light to the world; and (5) salt. Wow–what a mix!
Third, I need to claim the love of God by understanding my possession in Christ. For instance, even before I was born, God blessed me spiritually (Ephesians 1:3). In addition, He gave me an inheritance (Ephesians 1:11 and Romans 8:17). He deeded to me something as if it was part of a will. In order to execute the will, someone must die. That “someone” was Jesus. Who is the executor of the will? The Holy Spirit.
Furthermore, I have peace with God because of Jesus (Romans 5:1-2). Can you imagine that? Peace with God, the Almighty who created the heavens and the earth. I– Michael the Penguin–just one speck of life in the entire milieu of life that has marched across His creation from day one till now, have peace with God!
There is more. He has granted to me His precious promises. Please see this. These are not just promises–these are precious promises. Precious means: extra large, magnificent.
And more: I can have victory over sin by being a partaker of the divine nature. Not to be sinless, but to sin less.
I am a partaker of His grace because I am in Jesus (Ephesians 1:6). We don’t take grace for granted, but often we fail to see the extent of it. Very often I view His Word as grace. It is so full of His riches–so honest and so true–so helpful–just saying the Words bring comfort and peace. Grace–it is more than amazing. It is precious.
And most importantly, I have fellowship with God through Jesus (1 John 1:3). I am not into religion. I dislike the word. The other “r” word that marks us as Christians is the word Relationship. I have a relationship with God. Just that alone is grace. I can come to Him personally. I can approach His throne boldly. Why? Because of my possessions in Jesus.
My name is Michael the Penguin and I am a Christian in recovery.
See: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10