What does your theology tell you about who you are? Sadly, I find many people are very fearful of God and live in a perpetual state of self-condemnation.
I believe it is this way for a variety of reasons; few churches teach the fundamentals of our Christian faith anymore. When words like justification, sanctification, redemption, sanctification, and propitiation are not used or taught, and there is little to no teaching on the sovereignty of God. Instead of learning these crucial doctrines in our Bible studies and Sunday education classes, we are fed weak material that is supposed to “fill our love cup” or meet our latest felt needs. Consequently, many people have no real idea of what has been done for us and who we now are in Christ. I see women (and men) from these kinds of churches wandering through life defeated, discouraged, in despair and unable to live in the victory they have in Christ.
A few years ago I began to learn many things about God’s grace. Thanks to a few wonderful books like The Grace Awakening (Chuck Swindol) and Transforming Grace (Jerry Bridges) God began to open my eyes to the truth of the believers position in Jesus Christ, the certainty of our eternal destiny, and the permanent and total salvation in Christ. These truths were not new to me; I had learned them throughout my Christian life. What was new was what changed in the application of these truths to my life!
By no means would I tell you I have a “lock” on this knowledge or that I have “arrived.” However, since I began to understand these things, I have grown in knowing Him. His sovereignty, His grace and mercy have changed the whole focus of my life! It is not about me- it is all about Him. And it is about Him in a very real way. You have probably heard that before phrase before, but do you have any idea what that means to live this truth out? Allow me to give you a few examples:
I can submit to difficult authorities in my life because the focus of my submission is not that person, it is Christ! As I submit to Christ out of love I am obeying Him as well but my obedience is not out of fear of punishment or condemnation it is again out of love. Of course, people in my life, including the difficult people, will all benefit from my obedient submission but they are not my focus, He is.
When I determine to serve others, it is out of love for how He has served me. What greater love is there than a man who serves others by laying down His own life? (John 15:3) If I make my service about serving Jesus rather than man I am living a life of “One Anothering” out of gratitude and love for what has been done for me. Others benefit from my love for Christ in a very real and tangible way.
Showing grace to others in overlooking offences is another tremendous blessing of having some understanding of Him. Since He is always before me, always lavishing His grace on me would I not be loving Him by being gracious toward others?
You see dear reader, when I stop looking at my circumstances through secular eyes and begin to put on those eyes that are only for Jesus wonderful things begin to happen in my inner man, in what the Bible calls my heart. I begin to see through my acting righteously in spite of my fears and personal hang-ups that Jesus is enough! He becomes real to me and His sustaining power is realized as I find I can make it through extremely difficult circumstances because He is enough to carry me though. Because He is faithful, because He is God and I am united with Him in Christ!
I am so determined to tell the world that He is enough!
More on this next time!