Have you ever had a defining moment in your life that changed you forever? Maybe you connected with a person that rocked your world, and you were never the same again? These special people were like substitutes. Substitutes are a person or thing acting or serving in place of another.
Substitutions happen all the time. During basketball games, athletes sub in for each other to give their teammate a rest. Replacement refs take the place of the regular NFL referees on strike. Teachers use them when they are sick. Colleagues cover your work when you are on vacation. There are also friendly substitutions who stepped into your life and replaced a bad emotion with good, gave you hope in place of hunger, and energy instead of despair.
But sooner or later, the effectiveness of a substitution fades. Life “catches up” with you again. You run into another detour, roadblock, crisis, death, or divorce. And you are left with that same feeling of hopelessness and unbearable burden, becoming the undesirable victim of a tumultuous circumstance.
Then there are another set of us, who have been hurt by one too many people, that we are unwilling to even let the most caring and trustworthy people in. Past substitutes just flat-out failed us leaving us scared and so we resist any new offers. They’ve used us, lied to us, taken our jobs, taken our spouses, stolen our hope, and left us empty. Their criticism crushes our confidence, and steals our dreams. So we build walls of stone around us, thinking we are under protection, not realizing we are also keeping what may be good and healthy out of our lives.
To top it off, a so-called Christian waltz’ into your world and says that Christ wants you to surrender, so He can step into your life, take over , and be your substitution. You figure, yeah right! No way! And then, He’s going to die to make the substitution happen? You think sarcastically, now that sounds promising. This person is off their rocker. Crazy, whacked out, and insane. The thought of someone stepping in and taking over your life is completely foreign, scary and possibly even more dangerous than letting someone in. So you fall back on what you know best: building walls. With each wall, your skepticism grows, until one day a defining moment happens. The Real Substitute shows up on your doorstep and reveals Himself to you.
The Real Substitute is the one person who all substitutes try to copy or reflect, but fall short of doing. Think about it. Every single word, every thought, every action in some way and in some part is a mere fraction of what the One who created the concept meant for it to be. The Creator is the only One who can represent. Everything else after the fact falls short. Although we look and try to get a glimpse of the reality of our God, the world we live in is only a fraction of His infinite glory. People, actions, words, and creation can reflect God in some way, but in itself, they will always fall way short of representing who God really is. Even my article falls short of giving you the best depiction of our Creator.
It’s only until we come face to face with the Creator God himself and a deeper understanding of His plan for our lives through Christ do we really “get” life at all. The Real Substitute removes the scales from our eyes so we can truly see what is real and not real. Our entire worldview changes when we fully surrender and let Christ step in and take His rightful place in our lives. This Substitute redefines our lives and satisfies us completely.
4 Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses,
and He carried our pains;
but we in turn regarded Him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was pierced because of our transgressions,
crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on Him,
and we are healed by His wounds.
6 We all went astray like sheep;
we all have turned to our own way;
and the Lord has punished Him
for the iniquity of us all. – Isaiah 53:4-6
“I was a skeptic until….My body accepted this new blood. It is no longer I who live but someone else who lives inside of me…A substitution of blood on my behalf so that I can live again so that the deception in my body would die. That to me is very difficult to ignore after asking God to reveal Himself to me. That’s very difficult to ignore. I believe we all have a spiritual cancer that’s eating us away on the inside and if we really take a look at it, we are dying, begging for someone to intervene, to step in on our behalf. There is not a question in my mind that the only answer for the human condition is that of Jesus. My life with Jesus has completely changed as a result of my darkest hour and I’m actually thankful for the process I’ve had to go through. As a skeptic and a magician I fully believe, I fully believe, not only who God is, but what He did for me. There is no question in my mind.” – Jim Munroe @ I am Second.
Do you need a redefining of who God and Christ is because your experiences with people gave you a fraction of the true version of God? What have you experienced with them that you know was wrong?
Have you undergone a Defining Substitution of the kind mentioned in the article above? Share a time in your life when you surrendered to Christ and was changed forever?
What destructive habits have you surrendered to Him and what has He Substituted in their place?
It is my prayer that you would fully understand this new life in Christ through His substituting work in you!