I was asked to list my fears for a blogger friend Christine (http://awakentheheartministries.blogspot.com/). One fear, though not my greatest, has weighed heavy on me since I posted it--"fear for not being seen for who I am now vs. what I have been". Daily I have had encouragment in readings and scripture that I am only to be judged by Christ-His opinion is what matters most so why then do I fear? Then it came home hard this morning. Amy (http://amahoney-amy.blogspot.com/) posted yesterday on "Facts vs Feelings" and stated "I challenge you to see for yourself what God's Word says is true, and base your beliefs on facts not feelings". Confirmation again of the issue I needed to deal with this morning. Hang with me, it gets even better....
Often I have thought that if I could only have walked with Jesus how much easier it would have been to be a perfect follower of Christ and not to fall prey to sin. Been there? Felt that way? I was spiritually slapped in the face with my wrong thinking this morning in my devotional reading from "Experencing God Day-By-Day" by the Blackaby's when they wrote "We grossly underestimate the God we serve! To ignor God's word or disobey a direct command from Him is to ignor the magnificant nature of Christ. Our fear of other people proves that we do not understand the awesome Lord who walks with us. The Christ we serve today is the Lord of all creation. He is vastly more awesome and powerful than the gentle rabbi we often imagine from the scripture". Look at how He is described after His ressurrection in the close of the New Testiment:
His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow,
and his eyes were like blazing fire.
His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace,
and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.
How could I not have the faith that this Christ is powerful enough to transform me from what I have been to be a women who flollows hard after Him and desires to love Him more? Is not His power enough to change even I? Is not His power enough to over come the fear of what other people think or see of me?
Sin holds such an aweful grip on us, doesn't it? How many times have you asked forgiveness of a sin and find it creeping back, whether as an action or as in remembrance. Van Walton (http://www.vanwalton.blogspot.com/) wrote the devotional today for the Proverbs 31 Ministy and I encourage you to go here (http://proverbs31devotions.blogspot.com/) to read it. She references sin being like a splinter. It's a nagging discomfort that can lead to infection and destruction. She referenced the Biblical account of the women at the well in John chapter 8 that was caught in the sin of adultry (our lesson for tonights youth Bible study-how convienent!!). She stated:
"Jesus’ words gave clear instruction about sin. “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). He didn’t say, “Study it.” He didn’t help her analyze her psyche, to understand her sin. He made his point, “Go and sin no more.” The only way to deal with sin is to accept that sin exists: spot it, name it, and find an instrument to remove it. Use prayer, the Bible, a trusted friend, fasting, worship and praise. Pain may remain for a while, but a clear conscience quickly heals the surgical wound left behind by the once-harbored sin.
Is that how some of us are dealing with our shame? Studying it-reflecting on it when we should be moving on-allowing it to come back and taunt us like the nagging discomfort of a splinter under our skin? Have we been made a slave to our sin or to our past shame? That's what satan wants. But we are called to to step away from it and to live in the freedom of God's redemptive grace. It is not always easy but it is possible. I am learning. It requires a releasing of self daily to allow God to enter in and take the reigns of our life-every aspect of it. We are to live outside of our shame, our past, our ordinary lives, and to magnify Chirst, like Peter and John did in Acts 4:13:
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished
and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
There is value in examining what others see in us now as compared to what we have been. But we are only to live in Christ-not their views or opinions. We need to have the courage to be God's disciple here and now. When others look upon our life we want them to realize that there is nothing spectacular in us other than the presence of our living God and that alone should be an astonishing reflection of how much more God can do in their life!
I quote Jan McCray "Nothing betrays the conditon of your heart as readily as the words you speak". Can I have a big ouch here? Your conversation is a reflection of where you spend your most time-so what does your converstaion reflect today? Last nights TV show? A cold uncaring heart demonstrated by harsh words? Unforgiveness as reflected in gossip?
We are called to walk away from the shame of our past and to live fully in Him, to release our "self" and to allow Him in our life. We are to celebrate that the time has come to put our shame behind us.
As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
We are to reflect our heart in our converation and in our actions--we are to reflect Christ. We are to be servants of Christ, entrusted by God to share in Christ ministry:
So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.
~1 Corinthians 4:1
I am living in Christ, not in my shame. I am becoming a women that says yes to God, despite where I have been or who I have been because He has called me to. I pray my conversation will also be a reflection of Christ in my life. Will you join me in this today?
In His Graces~Pamela