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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Learning To Live By Grace - Originally Published November 2013

I never cease to surprise myself. Sadly, I don’t mean that in a good way. Just when I think I am finally getting it together, I catch another glimpse of my heart. The ugly reality of who I am endeavors to eat away, like swarming locusts, the harvest my life was beginning to produce. The downward cycle attempts to repeat itself intending to lure me back into despair, hopelessness, guilt and condemnation every time I fall down on my face and ask for forgiveness. The feelings of guilt and remorse attempt without mercy to consume me even as I claim the truth of God’s word over my life. The voice of the enemy screams in my ear “You are not good enough…you’ve wasted your life…God is disappointed in you. You have failed him too much to ask him for that.” Have you been there? 

Yes it is true – we are not good enough, we may have wasted some or most of our lives, we may have disappointed and grieved God’s heart with our choices – but he loves us and sees us through the blood of Jesus. 

For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...
Others were given in exchange for you.
I traded their lives for yours
because you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you. Isaiah 43:3-4 NLT

I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake
and will never think of them again. Isaiah 43:25 NLT

So why do we struggle? Because we forget several important truths:

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:14-15

There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.” Romans 8:1, 33-34.

These truths do not only apply to the day of our salvation. These truths apply to our lives after salvation as well. We are being sanctified as we surrender our lives to God every day, die to self and endeavor to obey his word. However, because we are still in our fleshly bodies we will sin. But His blood already took care of that. Just like we did not have to earn his grace for salvation, we do not have to earn his grace for living the Christian life and gaining access to him. Unlimited access to the Father has been granted to us by Jesus – Our Savior!

This means that when I mess up – i.e. loose my temper, loose control of my tongue, don’t read my bible, don’t find the time to pray and so forth – I am still just as able to come to him and ask with boldness and confidence for his blessings. I know it sounds insane. If my child asks me for a blessing after disobeying me, my response would be “No…no way. Not after what you’ve just pulled.” But God the Father chooses to only see us through the Blood of Jesus. Since Jesus’ sinless life and death are applied to us as having accomplished it for ourselves – we are not guilty. Crazy right!?!?!

This doesn’t mean that our choices will not have consequences. Some will have very serious consequences. But our lives are in the hands of The Redeemer to whom nothing is impossible. He knew where we would fall short and has already determined how he will work it out for our good because we love him and have been called to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) Unlike us, he is fully aware of the plans he has for us:

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:11-12

What we need to do is exercise our faith so that when our failures come, we are not derailed again. We need to be ready, prepared. Think of faith as a muscle. When someone works a muscle that muscle is strong, firm and defined. The opposite is true of someone who doesn’t work a muscle; it is weak, flabby and undefined. If we do not “work out” our faith it will be useless to us when we fall, we will not have the strength to get up again. How do we do this? By exercising our faith, that is repeating the truth of God everyday before the moment of weakness and failure pounces on us. That way when we sin, fall or fail, we will not only have the confidence to ask and receive his forgiveness, but we will also have the confidence to know that we have not lost our access to him or his favor upon our lives. We can still ask what we need and desire of him.

Everyday I am voicing several truths into my own ears. The first five I took from Beth Moore’s Believing God:

  • God is who He says He is 
  • God can do what He says He can do 
  • I am who God says I am 
  • I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength 
  • God’s word is operative in my life 
  • God is sovereign and in total control. If he has allowed this in my life it’s because he can do something good with it 
  • Jesus’ blood is enough 
  • Jesus’ blood is greater than my sin, shame, weakness, mistakes, failures and regrets 
  • I’m never good enough but Jesus is 
  • I will overcome by the blood of The Lamb 

I repeat these truths throughout the day. Sometimes I will do a couple of sets at time. As I do this I imagine myself shooting an arrow or plunging the Sword of the Spirit into the enemy and I see him going down. While sometimes it easy to speak these truths into my life, there are many times it is the complete opposite. There have been many times when speaking these truths has been painful and difficult. My bleeding heart and wounded soul have fought with every breath to declare them and remain grounded in them regardless of my circumstances. Sometimes only my tears can voice these truths into my heart. Yet I refuse to let go knowing that victory only comes to those who do not give up. Because Jesus has already been victorious, I know that although I may loose a few battles or suffer some injuries, I will never be a casualty of war. I also know that although some of my circumstances may not change - I ultimately will. That is a promise from God: 

So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11 NIV

Never forget that what Jesus accomplished on the cross has been attributed to us, as if we did it ourselves, when we put our hope in Jesus. Remember your hope is in WHO HE IS not only for salvation but for everything He has promised us!!! Approach the Throne of Grace with confidence!!!!!

Click On the Link to Listen : Who He Is

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