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Over and Over

painSitting cross-legged on the couch, the man hung his head in silence. Shame seemed to crawl on his skin like thousands of insects he couldn’t shake.

“I blew it,” he sighed.

A familiar voice filled his ears. He knew the words by heart, to the point he could almost believe they were his own. Still, the voice of the accuser didn’t waver on account of the man’s pain and heartbreak. In fact, it grew stronger because of it.

“Yeah, you really blew it this time,” the voice said. “Nothing left for you. Just call it a day! You tried to follow God. You tried grace, but it’s not working. You still struggle and you still blow it.”

“God said He forgave me,” he countered hesitantly.

“Yeah, He forgave you the first time you messed up, and the time after that and the time after that. You’ve been at this so long. God’s done with you now.”

“There’s no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus,” he lifted his head for a moment, as if seeing something in the distance he hadn’t remembered was there.

“But that’s all that’s left now: condemnation. You were the one who left Him. He didn’t leave you. Don’t you remember what you did?”

His head sunk again. Yes, he remembered. He was ashamed. He couldn’t understand why he still struggled. He knew God, had a relationship with Him. The man prayed, was an active church member–he tithed and did good things. It wasn’t a question of hating his sin–nothing made him more angry or made him feel more helpless. He despised it.

Sensing an opening, the accuser needled even more.

“This sin is obviously not something you do, but it is you. You can’t escape it no matter how hard you try,” he scoffed, and with scornful derision, continued, “And what about all that singing with a lump in your throat about ‘surrender’ on Sunday? ‘I’ll give you my life!’ ‘I give you everything!’ You think God’s okay with your blowing it after all that? You’re a hypocrite and a liar! God doesn’t have time for that. Really, how many times are you going to tell Him you surrender?”

The weight of the moment seemed to knock the breath out of the man. He couldn’t argue. He couldn’t deny it. But in that moment, grace broke through. Like a drop of rain hitting his arm then another and another until it becomes a downpour, he felt the familiar drawing of grace.

“How many times will I surrender?” he spoke into the air. “Over and over and over. As long as it takes. I’m not giving up and I’m not going back to shame and defeat. I don’t like what I’ve done and neither does God, but that’s exactly why I surrender. Every time something else gets surrendered–the pain, the rejection, the patterns. I’ll keep singing until it’s absolutely true.”


This is a fictionalized version of something that happened to me earlier this week. Each of us has struggles and they arise from different places or deficiencies. Anger, withdrawing from others, lustful behavior, gossip, tearing others down to feel better about ourselves, overeating, –on and on.

Those are patterns you’ve embraced. Can you hear me today? Patterns you’ve learned to cope with difficult situations are not you. They are not a fundamental part of you and can be changed as you give yourself to Him and His process. You don’t have to struggle to be changed. You are growing into maturity.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. –Romans 12:1-2

Go ahead. Surrender over and over. Let Him renew your mind and don’t let any bondage remain as you mature and are conformed to Jesus’ image.

What are your thoughts? Do you struggle with this sort of condemnation? Is this encouraging?

 

12 Comments

  1. Jason, this post broke my heart. I work with a few women stuck in condemnation, can’t believe God’s unending forgiveness is for them. They are defeated on a daily bases. I love the KJV version of Roman 8:1 there is therefore no condemnation to those who “walk after” the Spirit. Even when I fail and struggle to walk after Him He does not condemn me. Even in the pig pen He does not condemn me, He cannot condemn that which He has saved. (my version) This is a very good post Jason, thanks brother for putting it out there for us to examine ourselves.

    • God bless them to see His infinite grace and love--not only see it, but experience to the core of their being. Thank you for loving and praying for them, Betty. Blessings to you.

  2. If it wasn’t for grace i would be here. I was this person at one time- rehashing over and over the sin which dogged me. Then I learned about grace and about forgiveness and about how the accuser tries to tell me I’m not worthy.
    Bill (cycelguy) recently posted..StressMy Profile

    • I know all those things, but that voice stills gets to me sometimes! I am learning, but my frailties and weaknesses seem overwhelming at times. He is so good and patient and faithful! Thanks Bill.

  3. So moving and heart-wrenching, Jason. We all endure those moments of feeling we are inadequate and unlovable, but His grace DOES break through when we allow it to happen. Something all of us, as sinners, desperately need.
    Thank you for your candor and courage to share, my friend.
    Blessings!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?My Profile

    • To be honest, I thought about posting it as a story and leaving it at that, but the more I wrote I realized I needed to share the whole story. I hope it encourages others. We all struggle, but grace prevails! Thank you, Martha.

  4. May we come to a place where we fully accept that we are not defined by our failures but are defined by our relationship with God!

    • Amen and amen. I’m learning! Thank you, Dusty.

  5. Jason, This is so good, and something I believe everyone can relate to. Some things the enemy taunts us with aren’t even from our own failures . . . just consequences of someone else’s. And we think -- I should have been smarter, I shouldn’t have listened. etc. Then of course there are the other things. Habits we wanted gone years ago. Forgiveness we should have given and or received. Thank you for sharing this so beautifully
    Deb Wolf recently posted..Positive People and Blessing Counters LinkupMy Profile

    • So true. It applies across the board. The enemy makes every attempt to steal, kill, and destroy by any means possible. BUT Jesus continues to give life and life more abundantly. Our enemy never wins! Thank you, Deb. Wonderful comment.

  6. Yeah. I struggle with those voices in my head and, like the man in your post, in the end I have to give it up to God …

    … again

    …… again

    ………and again …

    • He’s so good to receive us back over and over. Grace upon grace… Thank you, David.

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