As February has the distinction of playing host to Groundhog Day, I take its arrival as another opportunity to draw from the lessons passed along in the movie by the same name. If you have not seen this movie or it has been awhile, I recommend watching it at least once a year. There is always something new to learn from it.
The premise of the movie is simple. The male lead played by Bill Murray finds himself reliving one day of his life (Groundhog Day) over and over. Unable to believe what is happening to him, he tries different strategies to break the cycle, all to no avail. Everything he tries, even multiple suicide acts, only lead him back to the start of that day.
The female lead played by Andie MacDowell becomes Bill’s romantic interest. It is she who helps him to see the great opportunity he has been given. Thus, begins a journey through multiple self-improvement projects that he hopes will make him worthy of her love. One notable transition is that as he seeks to become more lovable, he becomes more loving and caring for others.
How different it should be for Christians. When we stop to examine what we do and why we do it, we often find that we are acting just as Bill’s character does. Many Christians act as though they must make changes to who they are so that Jesus will love them. How often do we take on project after project, commit to new or increasingly intense devotional practices, or some other activity that we hope will prove our love and devotion to Jesus? If, or when, this is the case, the days need to reset back to when we first began following Jesus.
When we began our walk with Jesus, we began living in a relationship built upon his love for us. All that was needed was for us to turn away from our self-serving ways (confession and repentance), accept his healing and help (baptism by water and the Holy Spirit), and begin living a relationship with others that aligned with his relationship with us (love God and your neighbor as you are loved). Nothing we could do would make us more lovable and acceptable to God.
So, in this love we begin living each day as a gift. Some days may be hard to bear; God’s help will see us through every time. Some days will be filled with great joy and celebration; God shares in our rejoicing. Some days will just be what they are; God is present. In every moment of every day, in every place where we might go, God is already there and will use that time, place, and us to witness to his eternal love for all creation.
Bill’s character felt he needed to change in order to be loved; we are loved, and we change the way we live in gratitude. Bill’s character had to repeat one day over until he learned to love; we are given new days to experience the fresh outpouring of God’s love on all. So, which way are you living? Which way would you prefer to live? Let me know if I can help.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Braxton ><>