This past weekend I let my mouth get away from me… again.
I made a comment, a small comment that was lost in the hustle and bustle of current conversation, but I went home thinking about it. “I shouldn’t have said that.”
I tossed and turned that night. “I shouldn’t have said that!”
The next day I apologized. Apparently she had not thought about it as much as I had (yes, I am a sensitive soul), but she acknowledged the wrong-doing and met me with grace. Thank you, friend.
These moments put me in such a tailspin. “Lord, fire me! I can’t work for you. I mess things up. I am totally unworthy. I am not qualified to be your servant.”
Does anyone else hear these whispers? “You can’t serve the King! Don’t you know all the wrong you’ve done? You make mistakes. Big mistakes, small mistakes, red, blue and green mistakes. Sometimes it’s not a mistake at all. It’s a purposeful decision to do wrong. You knew better but didn’t listen. And now you think you can ask for forgiveness? Think again.”
Oh the voices! The voices of our flesh that condemn, judge, and keep us far away from the throne of holiness, right where we deserve to be. And honestly, they are partially true. Our thoughts, words, and actions do condemn us. We deserve to be far away from God. That’s why it can be such a struggle, especially for those who are like myself and love all things to be fair. This isn’t fair! I am not getting what I deserve.
I put smudges of dirt on my cheeks and He gently cleans.
I rip my shirt and He patches it.
I choose the flesh and He disciplines me. Redeems me. Corrects me. Teaches me.
“I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22
The fairness of my flesh fights this concept. Doesn’t everything of the flesh fight the Spirit?
“You can’t just accept His grace. It’s not fair. You don’t deserve it.”
For those of you who are heavy laden with a life of choices and actions that are not deserving of grace, let me ask you: what then is grace? If grace is given to only those who deserve it, it is no longer grace. Grace exists only because our wrong-doing exists, and every wrong-doing doesn’t deserve it.
Isn’t that humbling? We are not worthy. We are not qualified. We are not deserving. We are not perfect and never will be. We are in desperate need of a Savior.
For our big mistakes, small mistakes, “I didn’t even realize I did that” mistakes. Our purposeful choices of sin and death. Our careless words, our selfish thoughts and actions, and our pride in refusing His grace for ourselves or extending it to others.
Perhaps you have someone in your life that likes to remind you how unworthy you are. Perhaps that someone in your life is you. Do you constantly remind yourself that you are not worthy of the calling? Do you mess up and give up? Do the lies come attacking, “You are not worthy of grace or forgiveness. You’ve done it now. DISQAULIFIED.”
Disqualified. The problem with this word is that it insinuates at one point you qualified. You didn’t! You accepted His grace to begin this journey with Him and must accept it to continue. That leaves you with no excuse. If you want to be disqualified from the work of the Kingdom, you must refuse His covering. It is your choice; perhaps you cannot accept His grace-filled sacrifice on your behalf. Or maybe you would rather live life on your own terms, without a covering and without such a distinction between flesh and Spirit, light and darkness.
For those of you who want to be washed clean, He’s waiting. For those who want to repent, the time is now. This is when all of the “partial truths” of condemnation are put to death. You are qualified because He qualifies you. You are forgiven because He forgives you. You are worthy because He who is in you is worthy. Now get up and keep walking! I am sending out the call: if ever you’ve wondered, “Should I get serious about this? Can I really have a close relationship with Him?” the answer is yes and yes and start today. Will you be perfect from here on out? Absolutely not. But when you fall, you get up again.
“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.. for this my son was dead and is alive again.’ Luke 15:20-24
To all of the voices (either literal or imaginative) that condemn you- have they spread out the sky? Do they give life to your body? Do they know the expanse of the oceans or can they number the stars? Did they spread out their arms to pay your penalty of sin?
No. No, they didn’t. No, you didn’t. Mere people do not hold the position to condemn or not to condemn. You have one ultimate Judge.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1
For those are alive in Yeshua, submit to His authority, accept His grace and walk in His Spirit. Understand that if He wants to unfairly extend forgiveness and continue to use you for His Kingdom purposes, that is His call, not yours. It’s not fair for you to play God and decide for yourself what is best, but you can. You can decide your own graceless, sin-laden, “this is what is fair and right” route if you so desire. It will not be a pleasant one. Refusing to properly deal with sin is not pleasant.
Sin is serious. Let’s not forget that. Sin is very serious. When He corrects, be corrected. When He rebukes, listen! When you fall, repent before you get up. Repent means turn from your ways! It is not a small deal to behave according to the flesh. It’s wrong!
“Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” Hebrews 10:29
The atonement provided went above and beyond the weight of sin. It was a huge deal that deserves our utmost respect. On that same train of thought, we can know it was so powerful that it did indeed atone for our sin. Therefore, we don’t need to hide. We can’t hide.
This concept of grace is probably not a new one but regardless, it is so important. I need this truth desperately in my life. We as a body need to know where we stand in His name before we can function properly. We need intimate relationships taking place, from heart to heart. Repentance to forgiveness. Reconciliation, vertically and horizontally.
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Yeshua (Jesus) the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession…. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need.” Hebrew 4:14-16
Truly in His grace,