Sunday, July 28, 2013

Soaking Not Sulking

Romans 8:31-39 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. [ESV]

Victorious living is open and honest living. It is not about shutting down in front of the One who can’t be fooled, or hiding ourselves away nursing the things which bother us most or over which we are the most ashamed. As amazing as it might seem when we actually sit back and think about who our God is and what He knows of us, we still have tendencies to nurse hurts, bear grudges, hide sins, and put on blinders. It may not be something we do a lot, and it is even likely something that is done less and less as we mature in Christ. I would venture it safe to say that there are areas in our lives over which we struggle and in which we find disappointment and possibly even personal justification.  But the reality is that God knows absolutely everything about us, and He knew it before He ever called us to receive His gift of salvation, the forgiveness of all of our sins, the promise to grow us in Christ to maturity, and to sustain us in the process ultimately delivering us to glory.

In Christ we are fully accepted by God, and there is nothing we can do which separates us from His love and the effectiveness of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. There is nothing we can do to catch God by surprise and give Him cause to question our salvation. It was never about how good we were in the first place, but was about what God did for us when we could do nothing. And as such, while He calls us to obedience as His children, our obedience did not lead to our salvation and it does not sustain our salvation. Having said this, Scripture does say that those who are saved will evidence there salvation in their lives. This has never meant perfection but perfecting—evidencing a real work of grace having been done and a proving that God’s Spirit is continuing to build on that work through our sanctification (growth in likeness to Christ).

And since this really is a work of God done as we submit to Him and follow His ordinances, we really are best to lay everything out before Him and trust Him to do a work in us, recognizing fully that some things will change faster than others.

And when we are hurting it is again best to be honest about those hurts trusting the God who is our help and our comforter to do His supernatural work in our hearts and lives. Sarah quotes today from the beginning and end of Psalm 139, asking God who knows our hearts to search our hearts. In between these verses we read about our God who does this, and is was learning about God in this way that He used to draw me to Himself. And to this day it continues to be one of the key passages I run to when I have a tendency to sulk about or worry over something, knowing that soaking in the truths about My God opens my heart to trust the One who is much more powerful than any situation that might press on me.

Romans 8:27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (7/28)

Let My love seep into the inner recesses of your being. Do not close off any part of yourself from Me. I know you inside and out, so do not try to present a “cleaned-up” self to Me. Wounds that you shut away from the Light of my Love will fester and become wormy. Secret sins that you “hide” from Me can split off and develop lives of their own, controlling you without your realizing it.

Open yourself fully to My transforming Presence. Let My brilliant Love-Light search out and destroy hidden fears. This process requires time alone with Me, as My Love soaks into your innermost being. Enjoy My perfect Love, which expels every trace fear.

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:1-4, 23-24

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reach the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into loves complete perfection]. 1 John 4:18 (AMP)

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