Monday, December 6, 2010

Saturday, December 4

Saturday I had a strong sense of the love and the wonder of my God and Savior. When I focus my thoughts on Him, I am overwhelmed by His mercy and the privilege He has given me to know Him, to love Him, and to keep company with Him. The Jesus of the Bible is the Jesus who reigns in me. What a wonderful thing! Oh, that I would be able to die to myself all day long and keep the awareness of His presence with me. “For to live is Christ and to die is gain” according to the apostle Paul. When I choose to deny myself and walk the way Jesus walked—that is, to walk in the Spirit by following His leading—I am blessed. I am at peace. I am fully content. But when I choose my own selfish way, handling problems according to my limited reasoning and self-centeredness instead of bowing the knee in obedience to God’s Word, I cease walking in the Spirit and I lose out. I miss the blessing of continual fellowship with God. Until I repent in sincerety and ask for forgiveness. Some days it’s easier to bow the knee than others. If only I’d learn to ask for His help before reacting in my own human nature. I would save myself a lot of grief.

For now—this moment—I’ve been allowed the privilege of sensing God’s love, His great love—not only for me but for my family, friends, my church, and the world! His love heals, soothes, protects, redeems, sanctifies. Receiving His love melts away fear, lightens sorrow, and eases pain. And suddenly there’s light—illumination—and hope for the future.

Changing my will to match His will takes my full commitment to Christ and the divine power of my heavenly Father. I must be an active participant because He has given me free will to choose whom I will serve. I DO NOT WANT TO SERVE MYSELF! That has proven disastrous for me. My mind darkens, my soul numbs, and my spirit suffers and gets trapped by deception and lies. Fear enters in place of faith. I have an Enemy who is too strong for me. And he’s more than willing to sit and wait until I feel trapped by my own stupidity and weak nature before he steps in to destroy what’s left.

He was a murderer from the beginning—a murderer of souls. Slaying the spirits of Adam and Eve by convincing them they could be like God. And they fell for it. I’m reminded of their temptation every time I hear that JEEP commercial—“I live. I ride. I am.” If that is not a temptation to pride and self-exaltation, I don’t know what is.

Look what Adam and Eve gave up—divine power and authority, holiness and purity, blessedness and fellowship with God. They exchanged God’s goodness, love, and light for the darkness of their own limited wisdom and power. They thought they would gain something, but they lost everything because sin entered their hearts. They wanted to be like God. They didn’t realize the danger.  Instead of focusing on all God had given them, they focused on the one thing He refused them—and He refused because it was in their best interest not to have it. God never withholds from us unless it is for our good.

I become like Eve every time I choose my will over God’s will. But there is a Savior who sacrificed Himself so that those who believe in His Name may be forgiven and reinstated into God’s fellowship and perfect will. Because of Jesus taking my place on the cross, the debt for all my sins is paid. He suffered in my place. He bled and died so I would not have to. The sacrificial suffering and death and the glorious resurrection of Jesus—all expressions of God’s great love so that we could be free. After fulfilling His Father’s purpose, Jesus was presented before God’s throne and took His rightful place at His Father’s right hand. Jesus, the Lamb of God. The Bright and Morning Star.

I’ve been bought with a price. A love gift that I don’t deserve and can never repay. I’ve been given freedom from the slavery of sin, fear, and death. Through the power of the Holy Spirit in me, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, I am enabled to say no to sin and yes to God. The Enemy’s tricks and deceptions haven’t changed. But I have Christ in me. I serve a risen Savior who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. My Helper. My Rock. He sustains me. He holds me together. He’s given me the Spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. And I will reign with Him in eternity. Sin is not my master. Death has no sting. Death has no victory. For I am saved! Saved! Saved!

“The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.” (Psalm 23)

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