When I Am Weak…

“Forgiven beloved
Hidden in Christ
Made in the image of the Giver of Life
Righteous and holy
Reborn and remade
Accepted and worthy, this is our new name.”

Jason Gray ‘I Am New’

Sometimes, I still find myself tangled in lies of days past, living outside of the truth I believe in. Sometimes, I live like a hypocrite, teaching great truths to others, and not letting them penetrate my own heart. Sometimes, I live like fear is relevant, when I know beyond a shadow of doubt that it isn’t. Sometimes, I am a lot weaker than I want to be, a lot weaker than I dream of being.

In this, discouragement begins to settle in… leaving me feeling confused, unsettled, and weak, reminding me once again, of my huge inadequacy and overwhelming need for God.

And that’s ok. Because Jesus is big enough to fill that need. He knew the enormity of my need when He chose me to be adopted into His kingdom, and said His grace was sufficient. His power would be made perfect through my weakness.

This weakness may not feel like a source of strength right now, and I may not enjoy the confusion of my sinful state. But the Lord’s promises are true. He will be faithful through our weaknesses to be our strength, He will work all things for our good, and fill with us with perfect peace as we keep our minds on Him.

We can trust Him in the middle of our disorder. As we lean on Him, fix our eyes on Him, and believe His word above all else, He will come through with what we need. We don’t need all the explanations and answers, we just need His truth.

How Great Must His Love Be?

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“This love, this life, was always meant to be, a wild, crazy adventure. The thrill, the rush, the more of You I see, the more it leaves me wanting. I’m so in love. Captivated, I just can’t get enough” ~Bethel ‘Chasing You’

I recently had a really bad week. The kind where on Monday, your’e already saying it’s been a long week. (That isn’t just an example either, that actually happened.) But I found that even in the mist of that crazy week, I felt God’s peace SO strong in my spirit. Even though I felt like I had continually come up short, and had been attacked by adversaries, I had joy in my heart. I couldn’t help but ponder: How great must God’s love for us be, if even on the worst of weeks, it can over power the bad. I have been thinking on this for awhile now. I don’t think that any of us are even close to grasping the greatness, the wideness, the all-encompassing power of His love. I know I haven’t; but I sure do get excited every time He reveals a bit more to me. It’s exciting that we will never know all there is to know about God this side of Heaven, even though He is continually revealing more to us… So good.

Move

The following is an excerpt from a commentary found in my Bible. It goes right along with my last blog post. It really hit home for me when I read it. Its based off the following Bible verse.

Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tent near Sodom.  РGenesis 13:12

“Just like Lot, the alluring draw of sin can make me think I can live right outside its boundaries. I justify staying close to the sin because it gives me advantages in life. I flirt with temptation, never intending to partake in or participate in the sin itself. Then I slowly move closer and closer until temptation takes over. When my faith is weak, I often give in to sin.

We cannot be near sin. We cannot flirt with sin. We cannot be friends with sin. And we certainly cannot move close to sin. Instead we must move completely away from it. Thankfully God has equipped us with the power to make hard choices. It’s up to us to make the first move.”

~Wendy Pope

 

The Unseen Isn’t Necessarily Hidden

IMG_0175“Therefore, since we have these promises, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting ¬†ourselves out of reverence for God.” ~2 Corinthians 7:1

I think I have been living under the allusion that my thoughts, just because no one knows them, aren’t sinful, therefore, aren’t dangerous.This is ironic because I spent a lot of my life struggling with thoughts of fear and doubt; I learned full well those thoughts were against God’s will and wrong, so why have I been convincing myself that I can entertain any polluted thought I want, just because I’m not acting it out?

The Bible states, “For as a man thinks in his heart, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7) I have been compromising myself with sin, believing it won’t effect me so long as I keep it with in a certain fence of my life. But sin doesn’t work that way. You can’t just tell it to sit in this one area of your life and expect it to listen. When I was in elementary school, maybe even kindergarden, I had a sunday school teacher explain this with two glasses of water. She had clean water and dirty water in two separate cups. The clean water represented holiness, and the dirty water sin. When she poured the dirty water in the clean water, do you think it just sat at the top? Or that it maybe went to the bottom, and left the rest of the water clean? Of course it didn’t! It contaminated the whole glass. I’m polluting my mind when I allow it to think on wrong thoughts, desires, and perspectives, and those thoughts overflow into my life, the way I treat people, the way I let people treat me, and the way I treat myself.

The verse I opened up with has really spoke to me recently. It hit right at home and convicted me. I have to deny my fleshly side, earthly thoughts, and tainted views. I have to deny myself the chance to ponder and give life to flesh driven thoughts in my mind. Because when I allow myself to think these things, I become numb to them, and they easily become a reality, not merely a thought.

The world offers a counter fit idea of what is acceptable, and if I am not careful, I am going to believe them. I have to keep my mind on what the Bible says is right, so when I am offered a alternative option, I will recognize it has false, and be able to deny it.

We do this not only for ourselves, to keep us from falling into dangerous sin, but we do it out of respect and honor for God. Though we may not always want to do what is right, I believe if we are sincere about our relationship with God we will always want to please God. That desire to please Him, to honor Him, and serve Him, is what motivates us to deny our sinful desires and seek the things He instrucst us to, laying aside what the world tells us to seek.

I’m not saying it is easy. Among TV, music, co-workers, and classmates, we are given so many suggestions about what is “ok”. We are surrounded by the course language, perverted humor, and inappropriate behavior. How could our minds not think in a polluted way? I know, trust me, I know. We must train our minds though. If we don’t, we are going to convince ourselves these behaviors are right, even when we know they aren’t.

“Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.” ~Philippians 4:8

Chosen

“Before the creation of the world, He chose us.” ~Ephesians 1:4

Today was a bad day. One of those days when you jus fail repetitively. I crossed lines I didn’t want to cross, said things I didn’t want to say, and ruined things that could have been good through poor decisions. And with all these mistakes and the disappointments of the day running through my mind, discouragement set in.

Somehow, in all my discouragement God still stoops down to come and reassure me. To reassure me of His love, to reassure me of His presence, and to reassure me of my identity. I am reading a commentary on Ephesians right now and the very section I was on tonight hit right at home. The verse that spoke to me was Ephesians 1:4. This verse says that God chose us before the creation of the world. It’s not that I didn’t already know God chose me long before my existence, but hearing it again tonight was just what I needed. God already knew all the times I was going to mess up. He knew all the things I would say that I shouldn’t, or the things I wouldn’t say that I should. He knew all the times I would give in to temptation, and cross the line. He knew all the times I would hide behind fear, and all the times I would reject His truth. Yet, He still chose me. He chose me.

Do you know what this tells me? It tells me God approves of me, despite all of my flaws. Why? Because this isn’t about me. This is about Him. It always has been and all ways will be. I have His approval through Jesus’ blood, not my works. This means I can forgive myself when I mess up, pick myself back up, and continue being who He chose me to be, and doing what He chose me to do. This means I can live in freedom. I can live in Grace. I can live in victory.

He chose me to be His. He chose me to be a heir of royalty. He chose me to play a influential part in His kingdom. He chose me to serve His people, to serve Him. He chose me to be free. To be loved. To be safe. He chose me not because of anything I would do, or anything I could do. He chose me because of His grace and mercy.He chose me because he loves me. He loves me.

What an amazing relief to realize it is not up to me to measure up to any standard.