Jordan is the baby of the family. Although he prefers to be called the youngest, he is resigned to the fact that he will always be "the baby.
A few years back he started Tae Kwon Do. Of course, his goal was to earn the coveted black belt. The school we joined had a program. Faithful, consistent, hardworking students could expect to achieve black belt status in around three years. We figured, three years...how hard can it be? Well. the three-year mark came and went. The other students who were in Jordan's class became black belts, and Jordan was still trudging along. The death of his grandfather, sickness of his grandmother, the work (travel) schedules of his parents and his own mission trip travels delayed him significantly.
Add to that a huge hurdle. Black belt testing (always) takes place on Saturdays.
The Sabbath hurdle is for another post, but let's just say, by God’s grace, we made it over. The make-up test date was set, and the final preparations for testing were falling into place.
While Jordan was on the mat practicing, one of the instructors said to me very matter-of-factly, "Jordan's new uniform and black belt are right there." as he pointed to a corner in the office. The instructor continued, "He just needs to take the test."
Did you catch it?
Even though he had to work very hard and demonstrate that he had mastered the techniques. Ultimately, there was an expectation and anticipation that he would pass the test! The prize was ready and waiting for him. With permission, two weeks before the test, I took a peek and a picture. This was no generic reward. Not just any old belt from the storeroom closet. This was Jordan Spivey's black belt uniform and black belt. It was there waiting for him. Name monogrammed in both English and Korean, It was ready. He just needed to pass the test.
Of course, there was some nervousness. Would he be able to perform the Poomsae without error? Would he be able to break the boards using hands and feet? Would self-defense movements go as planned? With all of these uncertainties and concerns, one thing was sure.
The intention was for Jordan to pass the test.
The intention was for Jordan to reap the reward.
They were preparing him to pass.
They were preparing him to succeed.
The obvious connection is that Jesus has already prepared heaven, and all we need to do is pass the test, but THAT short changes and undermines GREAT GRACE.
In Jordan’s situation, he had to do the work and pass the test.
But that is not the case for us because…..wait for it….Jesus does the work!
Jordan got his new uniform AFTER he passed the test. We, on the other hand, put on Christ’s robe BEFORE the test and…..(are you shouting yet?!) because we are wearing His righteousness. Because He is living in us. We pass!
That’s what I’m talkin’ about!!
Jesus prepares our reward
Jesus give us a robe of righteousness
We wear his righteousness
He fights (and wins) for us
He passes the test
We get the reward
And it’s not a black belt. It’s a crown!