I've been wanting to write this post for some time but have struggled with where to begin. God has begun to do a new thing within me. I used to spend hours focusing on myself and my need to change. I would compare what I was doing for Him to what others were doing and if I was doing more I would feel prideful but if I was doing less I would feel despondent. My need to justify myself to others and to myself was an indication that I didn't trust in the finished work of Christ. It was my unbelief and idolatry that kept me from experiencing His peace and power. God in his grace and mercy was showing me that although it was pretty easy to change my behavior it was impossible to change my heart. He was beginning to cleanse me from my idol of me. The realization that I can't love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, all my strength unless He enables me to love Him was what brought me to the end of myself. I remember crying out to Him, "I can't muster up enough strength within myself to love you the way you call me to love you but I want more than anything to love you this way." But praise be to God through Jesus Christ, He did. It's Jesus' performance for me that justifies me before God. God came to do for me what I could not do for myself through the life, death and resurrection of His perfect Son. I have nothing to offer except all of me. I lay before Him my law marinaded heart and my flesh that screams, "it's about me". I entrust to Him my inabilities and inadequacies and believe Him to do within me what only He can do and that is change me from within. I've heard it said that if you want to make people angry preach law but if you want to make people furious preach grace. I know this to be true because I used to me one of these people. I didn't understand all Christ had secured for me and I thought I had to go out and get something I didn't already possess. Thank you Tullian Tchividjian for teaching me this profound truth. Also, if it's all about Him and His performance for me than it has nothing to do with me and my ability to do anything for Him apart from Him. My ability to do is only rooted in the reality of done. When my focus is on me and what I'm doing or not doing, instead of, on Him and what He has done, then I make my salvation about what I do instead of what has already been done. This isn't the gospel, it's idolatry. It's self-centered not Christ centered. It's what Satan uses to put my attention on me and my flesh instead of on Christ's supremacy, glory and sufficiency.
The Bible tells us that it was Jesus who created us in our mother's womb, Jesus who spoke creation into being, Jesus who was before all things and in Him all things are held together. Jesus who is the image of the invisible God, by whom and through whom all things were created. This creator became the created. He clothed Himself in humanity to become sin for sinners. He who knew no sin became sin and absorbed the wrath of God to justify sinners to God, for while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Justification by faith alone, by grace alone, in the finished work of Christ alone. This profound truth makes me want to do everything for Him who paid it all for me.
Pictures: Top Garden Tomb in Jerusalem
Bottom: Me and my husband on the Mount of of Precipice in Nazareth. Mount Tabor is to the left of us in the distance.