the hard road

Posted: December 11th, 2009 | Filed under: God | Tags: | 4 Comments »

‘…come on, let’s leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on “salvation by self-help” and turning in trust toward God…’ -Hebrews 6:1-2

We have this innate belief that we have to earn our way. That we are responsible for our purity, our salvation. This is evident in those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but cannot forgive themselves for their sins.

We have this unfounded belief that we have the ability to not sin. We try to be good, cutting out things that may cause us to sin. Yet, we still sin.

Why is it that you think you can carry out what you could not begin? When you first became a Christian, you knew the truth. You knew that you could not make yourself pure, so you accepted the gift of salvation because you believed the truth about Jesus. What gave you the notion that your salvation made you your own savior?

I believe that, because of the changes within yourself, you got cocky. You were proud of the things you were able to get under control and you got comfortable in your new identity. It started out as your identity in Christ, but somewhere along the way, it became your identity by achievement. Jesus was enough to get you started, but then you drifted away from the Source when you found your own footing.

How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up! -Galatians 3:2-3

Human effort always runs out.

Scripture tells us who we are. We are ‘saints’, ‘children of God’, ‘one with Jesus.’ Churches build this up and up and we own it to the point of excess. Your true identity is the internal Eternal. It’s true what the scripture says. It’s great what our churches teach. It’s faith and assurance to own it. But, it’s talking about the eternal you. The inner you. Have you forgotten that the outer you, the mortal you….the flesh and blood you is still in the picture? I believe you have.

You are not made one with your flesh and bones. You are to ‘die’ to that. You do not take the body with you. You are not that body. You are not that ‘human nature.’ You are not that! If you forget that, then you will be confined to the limits of it and its finger-painting faith.

It’s a hard road to for the believer because we forget who we really are.

You will sin until you physically die. You will choose yourself over God, often. You will always need Jesus. You can never do this on your own. If you are unable to forgive yourself, it’s because you have stepped away from that truth. Somewhere along the way, you started relying on yourself.

You have two choices, either you maintain your salvation or you trust that Jesus does it for you. You can’t have it both ways. If you believe you are responsible to keep yourself presentable to God, then it’s impossible for you to trust Jesus.

Once people have seen the light, gotten a taste of heaven and been part of the work of the Holy Spirit, once they’ve personally experienced the sheer goodness of God’s Word and the powers breaking in on us—if then they turn their backs on it, washing their hands of the whole thing, well, they can’t start over as if nothing happened. That’s impossible. Why, they’ve re-crucified Jesus! They’ve repudiated him in public! -Hebrews 6:4-6

Washing your hands of the way of salvation is when you turn to an alternate way of salvation. It’s thinking that you could do what only He could. It’s not forgiving yourself for your failures because something deep within you believes you had the ability to not do whatever it is you did.

If you had the ability to not sin, then He did not need to die. Jesus came to do what you could not do. If you believe you can avoid sinning, you are rejecting Him.

You can always look back with a new pair of eyes and see where you should have turned. It’s not hard to see why you can, now, think you have the ability to make different choices. It may be because ‘now’ you do. For that particular space in natural history, you have learned a lesson you feel you should have already known, and you ‘now’ have the vision needed to equip yourself to not repeat that exact mistake. Don’t use that amazing knowledge to condemn yourself for your past behavior, use it to avoid the same pitfall in the future.

What’s done is done. Mourn it until the mourning process is over. Make it right if it’s in your power to do so. Then, let it go.

You are not your mistakes.

Self-condemnation is evidence of pride. I’m not trying to add to your load, but think about it. You thought you were better than that, right? You were above that level of failure. Are you walking around with your wounded heart, trying to earn the forgiveness of others?

There is no set time limit for the aftermath of sin. Sorrow is good because it’s the mother of repentance. It’s not the same as feeling remorse for the one’s you’ve hurt. I’m talking about a sorrow that goes deeper than that. You can’t rush the introduction of that kind of sorrow. But, when it comes, then it’s almost over… repentance isn’t even swallowed before deliverance sweeps sin off the table.

With no sin, there is no longer a place for sorrow. Sorrow stayed for the night. Rejoicing comes in the morning. Don’t fake this, the judgement of others doesn’t affect you, but if you’re still dragging the old behind you, then you have not experienced Godly sorrow.

If you have come to the realization that there is nothing that you can do to make this right and you trust in the finished work of Jesus, then let it go. Do you believe or not? Are you in or are you out?

‘There is, therefore, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’ -Romans 8:1 NIV

hard road


4 Comments on “the hard road”

  1. 1 Sisterlisa said at 6:46 am on December 11th, 2009:

    I like this, "You are not your mistakes" Sometimes people think we are not repentant unless we wallow in self condemnation. But it doesn't matter what they think. If they don't forgive, we can't do anything about that. Jesus does forgive us and I think those we have hurt, don't like that because of their own unforgiveness toward us. Which should be a lesson to all of us when someone hurts us. No need to jump though hoops to be forgiven. It's a gift.

  2. 2 Larry said at 8:16 am on December 11th, 2009:

    So much of my time has been spent trying to convince myself that I am worthy of love and in fact am loved. I usually try to do that by looking into the eyes of other people. The beginning of a walk of faith in Jesus, starts with the acknowledgement that there is nothing I can do to increase my value, it has been intrinsicately given by my Creator. Jesus verified that value by giving His life for me. I then trust His assessment of me. It is so true, Serena, that we continue along the paths of "seeking" and "proving" our "goodness" by right behaviour, when God's assessment has already been made. He loves us, unashamedly and with nothing held back. I must, therefore, learn new habits of relying on His love, and being a participant in it by sharing it with others. Sometimes there are people who come into our lives that show us the way, because they love us. They show us grace when we are selfish. They even still call us friends when the rest of the world would drop us. These kinds of friends make the transition from "earning" love and acceptance to accepting by faith what God has said about us through the life of Jesus, an easier one. I am just finding such friends. I thank God for them.

    You have a wonderful sense of God's grace, Serena. You accept it and swim in it. I'm sure you battle your cognitive habits as do we all in daily life, but you remind us to allow the tide of God's love to sweep us out to sea in the fathomless depths of His grace.


  3. 3 Jason said at 9:20 am on December 11th, 2009:

    God has given you such a gift to share truth through words.

  4. 4 April said at 6:12 pm on December 11th, 2009:

    Unbelieveable. Amazing truth. This has just wrecked me.