Journal Entry ~ 10/14/17

13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart.  - Psalm 107:13-14

Our human nature is challenged to accept and believe that fact that we are all bound by the chains of sin in our lives. We live in a culture that constantly compares ourselves to others - we can always find people less worthy than ourselves, and that justifies our ability to keep the chains on. That comparison is what keeps the shroud of darkness over us, and keep us in bondage. The reality is that we are all sinners, none of us are righteous. Apart from Jesus, we are chained to our desires. We want what we want when we want it. And until we come head to head with the reality that we are broken, we are a sinful lot who are destined to live an eternity separated from God, and accept the fact that Jesus came to save those of us who wear the heavy chains of sins, we will never know true freedom. 

Perhaps some of the most beautiful words in all of scripture are found in Ephesians 2:4-5: But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved.  All of God’s wrath, all of the condemnation we deserve, was poured out on Jesus when He hung on the cross. All of God’s demands for perfect righteousness were fulfilled by Christ in that moment. At the instant we receive His gift of salvation, which is offered to us by His grace, God becomes for us - 100%, forever, for us. His death took the place of our death, the condemnation poured out on Him took the place of our his righteousness becomes our righteousness.  God becomes 100% irrevocably for us forever in that instant.  It doesn't even make any sense why He would do something like that for us when you spend any time at all dwelling on it. Why would He offer something like that to us, when we've done so little for Him?  We find the answers in these verses - because of the great love with which He loved us. In those moments that God made us alive in Christ Jesus, He awakened us to see the truth and beauty of Christ, our blinders were removed, and we were made alive with Christ. When we ponder that truth, how could we possibly question His goodness. In light of the fact that He rescued us from our greatest crisis - eternal separation from Him - with no other reason for it except that He loves us, how could we possibly question His promise to rescue us from our current trial?  We can't. And that should bring us a peace that surpasses all understanding.

But the reality is we live in a broken world, dominated by the enemy. Even though we may have accepted Jesus’ rescue, we still reach for those chains daily and we put them back on.  We may not be defined by our sin in God’s eyes, but we are still living as if we are in bondage. In order to conquer the lies in our lives, we need to meditate on the truths found in scripture. The most important truth in all of Christianity is stated in Ephesians 2:5:  We are made alive together with Christ. So never think of yourself in any other way, because the whole work of the enemy is to get you to disbelieve that and to go back to thinking that you are just an ordinary individual, struggling through life on your own, trying to make it the best way you can, needing to mobilize all your human resources to try to get ahead of the other people and to achieve as much of the fulfillment of life as you can. Any time you believe that, you go right back to acting as you once did--back to the misery, back to the heartaches. You can escape that only when you come back again to this central truth--we are alive in Jesus Christ.  God invites all of his creation to live life to the fullest, to be in fellowship with Him, to be a part of Him, and to be made alive in Him.  Being made alive with Christ means he has come to live in us, and He has joined himself to us. We are one person with Him. Think about that - you are joined to the Creator of this entire universe. That's just mind boggling to me. He loves us enough to make us alive WITH Christ. Mediate on that truth today, and the enemy will flee from you!

I would be lost in this current trial without the constant reminder that He has rescued me from an eternity separated from Him, for no other reason than He loves me. How could I possibly be filled with fear about what lies in front of me with that thought in the forefront of my mind?  I can’t. But I have to be the one to keep it there - the world works hard to rip that truth from my mind, but daily I get His Word open and I remind myself of that truth so it stays there in the front. That’s our job in these trials we face - to keep reminding ourselves He has rescued us from our greatest trial - eternal separation from His holiness - so we can be confident He will rescue us from our current trial. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗


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