mercy

reflections from the Wedding Church in Cana, Israel

Whenever people applaud or praise me for being a good Christian or a godly person or anything along those lines and I’ve got a sin that’s haunting me, I feel really guilty… If only they knew what I’ve done, they wouldn’t be saying those things. Along those same lines, I then get stuck in this vicious cycle of feeling like I can never be pure or righteous again, like I will never be the person people think I am, like I will always be living a lie – unless I tell the truth.

But that isn’t God’s way. I’m reminded yet again of the song by Tenth Avenue North, “You Are More”. I am more than the choices that I’ve made / I am more than the sum of my past mistakes / I am more than the problems I create / I’ve been remade. Who we are isn’t what we do or what we’ve done. God doesn’t measure us by how many times we’ve sinned. If we profess to be His and take His outstretched hand, we are children of God.

Sometimes I don’t think that’s enough. Sometimes that makes me feel even more like a hypocrite. Because what we do Does matter, doesn’t it? The Bible says we are measured by the fruit we produce. As in an earlier reflection, we are saved by grace first, and only grace, but then we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

But the contradiction I see is an illusion and a misinterpretation. Misordered priorities, perhaps. I see it backwards and think, oh no, I’ve done this, that means I’m less of a child of God. Less deserving. But I’m never deserving. Yet God calls me His own. So if I am saved by grace already, and someone makes a judgment based on the fruit they see in my life, then let no one, upon finding out what I’ve done, change their judgment of me. Because the fruit reflects the real-time conditions of the soil. So what if it used to be bad soil or rocky ground? What matters is that now, it is good. I believe that’s what Jesus looks at.

I must stop discounting His grace upon my life. I do not need to tell the world all my failings, unless, of course, He asks me to. But even then, I can stand with the confidence that I am forgiven and my past sins are not counted against me. That is the good news of the Gospel. And it is not arrogant, as some may think, because I am fully aware that I am made clean not by my own efforts or piety or righteousness, but by His blood and righteousness that cover, cleanse and sanctify me.

And for all that, Lord, I cannot thank You enough. My strength in life is I am Yours. My soul delights because I am Yours. God, thank You for Your grace and mercy. Help me to walk in it always. In the name of Jesus, by whose blood I am redeemed, Amen.

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