Greetings, Dear Friends!
And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way. Each month I give away a $10.00 Starbucks gift card to someone who posts on my blog. For the months of March AND April I will give away away a gift card and a couple of copies of my new book, "Growing Grateful Kids" so leave a post, share an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a fun treat this month!
Post a review of my new book, "Growing Grateful Kids" on Amazon and enter to win a 4GB I-Pod Shuffle!
Now on to my topic...
Okay, I know I've addressed the 'no condemnation' issue to some degree in the past few weeks, but it's not going away for me. In fact, the whole idea is growing within me; it's changing my perspective of how I see God and how I view myself.
I think there is something here for all of us. Do you struggle with being more self-aware than God aware? Me too, sometimes. But as I ponder and meditate on the truly finished work of Christ, everything changes for me.
Because of Christ's victory over sin and death, you and I have been made righteous in God's sight. Not just on good days, but on bad days too. We have a right standing with God even when we fall down. Not to say that our sin doesn't matter. Of course it does. But if you have truly accepted Christ's sacrifice for your sin, and the Holy Spirit truly resides in you, you won't want to take Christ's gift, walk all over it, and take it for granted. You will gradually become more and more like Christ, and cherish the very thought of becoming so.
Read this powerful passage:
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God (1 John 3:8-9).
We know that when He appears, we-shall-be-like-Him, for we shall see Him as He is. EVERYONE who has this hope IN HIM, purifies himself, just as HE is pure (1 John 3:2-3).
Hope in HIM, purifies us. And yet, we tend to put our hope in ourselves; we hope against hope that we will get it right or that we won't get it wrong. So often we feel that we need to focus on our sin and our badness lest we get too prideful or we misinterpret life-in-the-Spirit as a license to sin. I've wasted far too many hours of my life despairing over my badness when my day could have gone better had I instead, simply reveled in His goodness.
When - in the face of one's own frailty, selfishness, and sinfulness - a true Believer focuses on the fresh mercies of God and His abundant, amazing love - do you know what her response is? It's definitely not, "Well, hey then, let's run out and sin some more!" No! For me anyways, it's a drop-to-my-knees moment that compels me to soak in the fresh love of God with a truly grateful heart.
Grace saved us. But grace also keeps us. We are sustained by grace. We breathe and live and serve and love because of the beautiful grace of God. We can do nothing apart from Him.
I used to think that this next passage only spoke to the unbeliever whose mind is set on running amuck with sinful desires. But now I think differently:
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God...those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God (Romans 8:5-6,8).
Now hear me correctly. This passage is of course speaking of the unbelieving, carnally minded man. But it also applies to the Believer bent on living under the law; being controlled by a tally of sins and things done right; overwhelmed with despair for mistakes; and maybe pride for what she does right. If you think about it, that's like accepting God's grace for salvation, but then adding in the law in order to live righteously.
To truly live by the Spirit, is to embrace grace, every hour. And when we mess up, we look up, and we pray, "Lord, it's me again. Forgive me for forgetting what I possess in You. Thank you, so much, for Your forgiveness, for the power of Your finished work on the Cross, and for giving me access and right standing with You. I am free, I am whole, and I am clean because of You! Even here, even now, I can wrap my arms around grace. I can embrace Your precious gift that allows me to get up again and move forward in my walk with You. I am Your Beloved, and You always love me; on good days and bad. I refuse to be sin and self aware! There is no shred of condemnation in me. I choose to be fully and completely aware of You and of the righteousness You provided for me! It is a gift of God, not a result of ANYTHING I have done! What a gift! I celebrate the priceless, unfathomable gift of grace today! Amen.
Be encouraged today. No one can snatch you out of His hand. Because of Christ's finished work, you are beautiful and clean and you're a wonderful work in progress. Every day, becoming more like Him. And when you see Him, you will be like Him. You are His. Amazing grace.
~Until next week.