When You Squeeze A Lemon

When you squeeze a lemon, what comes out?

It's not a trick question. It's not a riddle. When you squeeze a lemon, what comes out?

Lemon juice.

So, when you get squeezed, what comes out of you?

When you are squeezed—rushed, hurried, worried, angered, depressed, despaired, tired, pressured, patronized, frustrated, frightened, mocked, teased, or fill in the blank unsettling emotion or event—what comes out of you?

What comes out is what is really inside you. Scary, isn't it?

I know we try to keep it together. And we do keep it together. Most of the the time. When things are easy or going our way. Or not too bad. Even when they are just a little stressful we can still keep it together. As adults, most of us are experienced at personal behavioral modification. We know when to keep it in. When to hold our tongues. When to censure ourselves. When others are around. Others we don't want to have a negative opinion of us. So we fake it. Until we get squeezed. Squeezed too much.

The squeeze expresses reality. Not our behavior modified apparently sanctified selves, but our real selves.

The squeeze exposes fallacy. We can't change ourselves. If we could have, we would have. But we can't. Not fully.

We don't need behavior modification, we need need heart transformation. Only Jesus can do that. Our surrender avails us to his strength. Our genuine transformation proclaims the truth of Easter. We revel in the reality of Easter all year round.

We'll still get squeezed. But we can be transformed. Through Christ.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you maydiscern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 ESV

We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 HCSB

Not behavior modification but heart transformation.

Let Jesus in. Be transformed.

One or the Other

There are two types of people in the world. You are One or the Other.

  • Those without a saving relationship with Jesus Christ are One;
  • Those with a saving relationship with Jesus Christ are the Other.

Ephesians 2:1-10, written to those already following Christ, contrasts One and the Other. 

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

Verse 4, with the word “But”, is the hinge between: before & after; without & with; lost & found; drowning & rescued; death & life; natural & supernatural; One & the Other.

On your own you are One

  • dead to God (verses 1 & 5)
  • drowning in the world (verse 2)
  • living my way (verse 3)

With God you are the Other

  • no longer dead to God, but alive with Christ (verse 5)
  • no longer drowning in the world, but rescued by grace (verse 5)
  • no longer living my way, but living God’s way (verses 6-7)

“Christ died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again,” states 2 Corinthians 5:15. You get new life.

God wants to change your life. He offers you true, eternal life. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sins. You just have to commit your life to follow him.

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to be called children of God,” encourages John 1:12. You can become God’s child right now.

Consider the amazing transformation God offers:

  • righteousness instead of guilt
  • honor above shame
  • power opposed to fear
  • purity rather than defilement
  • meaning versus emptiness
  • community in place of alienation.

Your life may be defined by One OR it can be transformed into the Other.

“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved,” assures Romans 10:9. You can be rescued right away.

If you have never committed your life to follow Jesus, then you can pray a simply like this:

God, I know I have broken your law. I humbly ask that you forgive my sins. I commit my life to follow Jesus forever. Amen.

If you did, then let someone know—me or a committed Christ follower you trust—and start your new life of following Jesus without delay. You are no longer the lost One. You have become the found Other.

If you previously have committed your life to Christ but have returned to old ways, then you can turn back to Christ in repentance today. You return like you came, by grace, as Ephesians 2:5&8 teaches. You are created to serve (Ephesians 2:10) as determined by Sovereign God.

One or the Other? Following my way or following Jesus. Serving self or serving God. Which will you be?

Note: This is my Gospel invitation shared at the conclusion of each 2013 performance of This Day of Resurrection.