And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14 NIV)
“Surrender Everything And Live!” (my newest motto for life)
Just to warn you this will be the first entry of a two-part blog. I have two topics mulling around in my head, and wasn’t sure whether to go with the feel good message first, or hit ourselves with the “ouch” one. So I decided to go with this happier one first, to soften the blow.
I recently came up with this”seal” acronym to help my friend and I, as we each face daily spiritual battles. Namely, to do that which at times seems too overwhelming--like making the bed, perhaps. We asked God for a strategy that would work for each of us. I left her with the promise that I would be her s.e.a.l. prayer partner. Driving home, I was playing around with ideas for the acronym, and the above motto popped into my head, “Surrender Everything and Live!” I laughed to myself because in most military efforts the cry is “Surrender or Die!” I love the twist.
I was trying to think of something that we could relate to when we think about being “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise”, which brings me to canning. Not that I practice the ancient art, but I did grow up in a family who valued storing our hard earned produce for the winter. I remember enjoying fresh canned peaches that we had picked in an orchard during the summer. We would sanitize the glass jars in our dishwasher, boil the two-part metal lids on the stove top, then fill the clean jars with sliced peaches covering them with syrup made from sugar and water. Next, we would line up the seal part of the lid on the jar and then loosely screw on the rim. We had this big black, speckled pot with a jar holding contraption inside. We would place each filled and prepared jar in the cage-like mechanism, and lower them into a water bath, boiling the jars for the required time.
My mother would remind us to listen for the pop that the seal made to indicate that the process was complete. We could also authenticate the seal by visually checking that the center of the lid, which was indented at the beginning, had indeed popped up. This was an important check in the process. If the seal didn’t take, we could start over. If we missed a jar, in the winter our peaches would be rotten.
Authenticating the seal insured fresh peaches. I am not sure this is the best metaphor for understanding the seal of the Holy Spirit, but I like to know that I have been authenticated by the Holy Spirit, as far as my salvation is concerned. Through Jesus’ sacrifice I know that I have been preserved from God’s wrath, but the seal of the Holy Spirit assures me that this knowledge can be freshly applied to my daily spiritual battles. It has been determined irrevocably! To dispute the fact that Jesus has redeemed us would be pointless, since we have the promised Holy Spirit indwelling us.
Surrender is the means by which I know the seal has taken hold! And now to live!