Continued from here.
Church – It’s time to stop minimizing the enormity of our sin and sinful nature. Jesus did not come to make bad people good: he came to make dead people live. If you have ever committed a sin, no matter how “small,” you have committed spiritual mutiny that has separated you from God. The only way back to God is to receive God’s grace that was provided through the humiliating and painful death of his Son, Jesus. If you have committed any sin, you are responsible for Jesus having to die on the cross. Your only way back to God is grace.
Listen to Tauren Wells’ song Known, paying particular attention to these lyrics from the chorus:
And it’s not one or the other. It’s hard truth and ridiculous grace to be known – fully known – and loved by You.”
God fully knows us, so he has seen the despicable things we have done, not only in our lives but in our hearts. And yet He extends us grace. If you have hated someone in your heart, you have committed murder. If you have lusted in your heart, you have committed adultery. You are guilty, just as I am.
But here’s the good part: God has extended you grace to forgive you – to wash you clean – from ALL of it! He loves you exactly as you are, right there in you brokenness. He provided you with a way to stand before Him guilty and yet be reconciled with Him because He paid the price Himself through Jesus. God fully knows all of the despicable things you have thought and done, and yet he showers you with “ridiculous” grace – grace that fully covers and washes away your guilt. Once you really get this, you’ll find yourself extending grace to others. A gift this lavish must be paid forward!
[Graphic: Link to YouTube video of Tauren Well’s Known.]
Tauren Wells has a song that I love called Known, which you can listen to here:
I heard an interview with Tauren Wells, who said that to be fully loved but not known is superficial, and to be fully known but not loved is terrifying. It’s the fullness of both aspects – God fully knowing us AND fully loving us – that makes an intimate relationship with Him fulfilling.
Sadly, many of us (and probably most of us) live in self-deception, fearing being fully known not only by God but even by ourselves. We lie to ourselves, telling ourselves that we have pure motives when we make choices for selfish reasons. And then we become easily offended when someone (even God!) shines light onto that dark part of ourselves that we don’t want to see. I did this for decades, which kept me in bondage. It was through seeing myself as I really was – a big, fat mess of contradictions and selfishness – that God’s grace was able to penetrate my rotting soul and plant His seeds of grace in that fertile soil.
We are never going to change what we don’t first recognize as not working. If we don’t own up to our real motives, we will continue on in self-deception, doing the same things over and over while expecting different results, which is madness. God’s ways work, so if your suffering has persisted for years (or for decades as mine did), it’s time to take a step back and look – really look – at what you are doing and who you are. While facing truth is hard, it’s the launching pad God uses to set us free.
I know many people who choose to continue to live in self-deception and conclude that God’s ways don’t work. I was once one of them. What got me from there to here was inviting God to hold up a mirror and show me my ugliness. While it’s painful to face hard truths about yourself, it’s an integral part of receiving God’s grace and breaking free from the bondage that enslaves you.
To be continued…