I have a very intimate relationship with God. It is a gift above any gift I could ever ask for, it is my identity and my solace. He is my husband and my friend and I would die without Him. Because my relationship with Jesus is so precious to me, and because I believed what I had been taught about sins and the importance of confessing them in order to remain in contact with God I became extremely sin conscience. It started by making sure to clear my conscience before bed every night so that the Enemy couldn’t torment me in my dreams. Eventually I started the practice of clearing my conscience and confessing my sins every time I washed my hands – which is a LOT when you’re a stay at home mom! I finally got to the point where I was afraid to talk because I might sin, I was afraid to do anything wrong because then God would turn His face from me and wouldn’t talk to me anymore. I was constantly worried that I wasn’t doing the right things: Not spending enough time with my kids and too much time writing; spending too much time with my kids and not enough time writing… I was constantly walking on eggshells and afraid that one would break and I wouldn’t notice it soon enough that I would be able to confess it before something happened. I was afraid that God would lift His shield of protection if I sinned, there’s only one place I could have picked up that idea and it’s not from GOD! Honestly, the worst part of this whole thing, is how ignorant I was to the whole thing! Sure, writing it all down now and looking back it sounds psychotic, but the change was gradual and I was, at the time, convinced in my legalism (although I wasn’t seeing it as such at the time). I was deluded. I had been lured into being held captive to the lie that I needed to constantly ask for God’s forgiveness in order to have His stamp of approval and protection on my life. But all that succeeded in doing was to tie me up in knots, stress me out and frustrate me. I certainly wasn’t living freely, or abundantly.
Here I am, a FIRM believer in “God is in control” and yet I was placing all the control on MY very weak shoulders. The way I was viewing it, is I was expecting God to protect/bless us, IF I did everything right….. ummmmmm….. Tamar, at what point did you die on a cross and rise from the dead in order to place that kind of authority and power on yourself? Honey, that’s not how GRACE works.
Grace has nothing to do with you earning anything, and everything to do with JESUS. This past week I was struggling with my priorities (as mentioned before) and when I should be doing things during my day in order to get them all done. I have decided that I need to get up at five to spend time solely for prayer while I shower so that my day will start successfully. To do this I must exhibit self-control and walk away from the TV and/or household chores at 9:45pm in order to be in bed by 10:00pm (I have yet to actually do this by the way, close, but not yet). One morning I drug myself out of bed and literally stumbled my way into the cold bright bathroom attempting to wake myself up… it didn’t work. I tried reading my Bible, but my eyes just kept closing themselves. I told the spirit of fatigue to leave me in Jesus’ name, but that didn’t work either. Finally I said, “Lord, if You REALLY want me to do this right now instead of going back to bed, You are going to have to wake me up.” Still nothing. But in my heart, I knew that it WAS His will to spend alone time with me. He’s told me so on several occasions. I gave in to the tears burning my eyes and sobbed in frustration at my lack of ability to carry out His will. I said “Lord, I am so sorry that I can’t do this. I’m sorry that I’m not good enough for You. Lord, I quit, I can’t do this anymore…” When I was finished verbally beating myself to a pulp He said, “When are you gonna get it that it’s not about what you DO?” And the verse about our righteous acts are as filthy rags popped into my head.
Pleasing God, gaining His approval, benefiting from His blessings and His protection has NOTHING to do with what you DO, that’s legalism. And it has everything to do with what has been done in your name. Every day we do things “in Jesus’ name”, without ever realizing or thinking about what HE does in our name every day. The first thing He did in our name is He died to pay for our sins. Every single one of them, both past and present. And if that was all He ever did in our name, that would be amazing. But wait, there’s more! Right this very minute Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God the Father. And because we all have sinned and fallen short, every day, when it happens, as it happens, Jesus lifts His wrist to the Father’s eyes and let’s Him watch us through the holes that the nails left, so that Yaweh can now look upon our sin and yet never turn away from us. He views our sins through Jesus’ hand-made “Son-glasses”.
When we give our lives to Christ, it is a precious thing. Something that He does NOT take lightly. He takes us and places us safely in the center of the palm of the Father’s hand, where we are free to walk, run, jump, dance, eat, drink and be merry in His presence to our hearts content. And if at any point we begin to wander too close to the edge of His hand (AKA sin) then He will begin to tighten His grip on us, to close His fingers in around us, bringing us back to the center of His grace. That tightness may be a bit uncomfortable for a time, possibly even downright painful, but I think you will agree that the end result is worth it isn’t it? Praise God that life isn’t all about us! It’s all about Him! What He has done for us, not what we do for Him. It’s about how He loves us, and shows us that love in a multi-faceted ways everyday. How He keeps us protected from all eternal harm when we’ve chosen to allow Him to do so by placing ourselves totally into His loving hand.
So this morning and, I pray, every morning from here on out when I get up I will place my own set of Son-glasses on over my eyes to help me remember that what Jesus did on the cross and in the tomb, is a FINISHED work that He did in my name before God Almighty, so that the laundry list of my sins past, present and future are FORGIVEN. Once and for all, so that I can go about living life and not get wrapped up in sin. I can walk with confidence knowing that if I am doing something wrong, He will alert me to the situation and I pray that I will choose to heed His warnings and cease and desist immediately!