“I may grow and mature in God, but I will never get to the place where I don’t deserve death or anything more than a kick in the teeth from a holy, perfect God. The way(s) I fall short may not seem like much to you or it may seem absolutely horrible. Either way, it doesn’t matter. We put degrees on sin, not God.” –What I Deserve, written June 28, 2010
Do you ever have words haunt you? That’s what these words have done for me. I wrote these particular words almost two years ago, but I haven’t been able to forget them.
The majority of the post I can still stand behind, but those words convey something I didn’t really see or want to admit: that I have had a low view of what Jesus has paid for me.
I’ve had this war raging inside me for several years because revelation of the Holy Spirit and God’s word itself testifies of one reality–that we are overcomers and sin has no hold on us–while culture, religiosity, and bad theology says “we’re bad, always will be, and we’re going to work as hard as we can and barely be any better.”
Someone actually called me on this in the comments in that post, but I played it off at the time like I was just going for “dramatic.” If that we’re true, I’m sure I could have let it go, but here we are.
It sounds good, maybe even spiritual, at first glance. “I am nothing without God. No matter what I do I will never deserve anything from Him.” Both are right statements, but what motivates me to say them?
Is it because I am overwhelmed with His love and compassion for me? Blown away by the mercy that reached out to save through Jesus’ blood and brought me to the Father’s table to receive an eternal inheritance?
Or is it that I feel like a miserable failure who messes up all the time and I don’t really believe that I can possibly overcome? That I am more focused on sin and shortcomings than my position in Christ as a new creation who is living in fellowship and life?
The idea that Christians are only sinners with a little bit of knowledge or understanding that other people don’t have is to miss the point of the Gospel. If you made Jesus the Lord of your life, your old self died and you were born again. It’s not a metaphor. It’s a spiritual reality.
We treat our confession of faith in Jesus or the Holy Spirit as a little “help” against our sinning ways when God has provided the answer. He has given us the antidote to the poison.
As long I continue to believe I have the identity of a weak and powerless person scraping by until the one day I’m with Jesus and free from this sinful nature, I will be dominated. We take a curious view of the “weakness” described in Scripture. We take it to mean we don’t have anything of value, but you can look at Jesus who was strong and at the same time completely submitted and dependent on the Father (displaying weakness). He died and rose again so I could have the same strength.
It doesn’t mean that I won’t choose to sin, but it’s not because His grace isn’t sufficient or Jesus’ blood didn’t fully cleanse and purify you. If I choose to play video games sometimes, it doesn’t mean I’m controlled by them. In this world, we face temptations and we are learning and growing, being groomed for Kingdom reigning for all eternity.
I have struggled with identity for all my life in various ways. I believe it’s why I have been so drawn to the Father’s heart for orphans. I don’t want others to struggle and I can’t say I have it all sorted out, but I know I’m advancing.
Still having trouble with this? His love made the ultimate sacrifice and daily makes the difference. I obviously can’t cover everything running through my head and heart in one post, but read just a few passages of what His word says about you.