Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Live Up to or Live Unto
Did you ever have something wonderful happen to you before people and felt you must work hard to keep giving a good impression of yourself? That you had to "tow the line" or you would lose your good standing before men?
I have felt that, but it isn't that way in the family of God. God sees me today, and accepts me just where I am. He doesn't even get tired of me repenting for the same sin over and over. He tells us to forgive our brother 70 times 7. Well, I say that you can't forgive others if you don't forgive yourself first.
Guilt has a way of coming in and accusing us of things we have already confessed in order to break the peace we have as a free gift of God. But I am slowly learning to answer back when I am accused:
"That is NOT who I am!"
Why can I say that? Maybe it looks obvious to the world that I have failed in some sort of sin. But God says: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold all things are become new." in II Corinthians 5:17. Are these just nice words or are they God's truth?
I choose to believe they are true. I am not who I was in the old person. That person died when Christ died, was buried when He was buried, and rose up to new life when He rose up to new life. I must internalize and believe it, because the Word says it, and it is my refusal to believe it that keeps me stuck in the same old ways of failure.
Romans 6: 1-4 tells us: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life?
It almost sounds too good to be true, but if I want to get past the failures then I must choose to see myself the way He does. Yes, I may have sinned, but God does not see me in that sinful state. He cannot, because He tells us He has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), that they are buried in the deepest sea (Micah 7: 19), that He has put them behind His back (Isaiah 38: 17). What an awesome, gracious God we serve.
If He did see me in my sin, He would not be satisfied with what Jesus did to pay for my sin on that cross. Therefore I need to give myself a clean slate each day, and be thinking only of what is ahead, not what is behind. I cannot do anything about the past, but I can choose what I will do with today.
Sometimes I say to the Lord: "Lord, I am receiving the love you have for me. I am believing the love you have for me."
It helps me to remember that everything He does in my life is done because He loves me. Even when He has to discipline me, I must remember it is done because He loves me. Just like a little child who throws a tantrum needs disciplined, so I also must receive discipline so that I will learn His ways, which lead to peace, rather than my ways, which lead to ruination.
Just think of what God gives to His undeserving children the moment that they place their faith in Christ:
Ephesians 1:3-6 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ: According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having pre-destinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved."
From this passage alone He promises us: 1) All spiritual blessings 2) that we were chosen before the foundation of the world 3) that we are holy and without blame before Him in love 4) that we were predestined to be His adopted children and that we are 5) accepted in the Beloved.
We don't have to try to impress God with anything good we have done. He loved us when we could not save ourselves and His love for us is according to who HE IS, not who we are. So I am not living up to some standard today, I am living unto my Lord, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2: 20)