This post has been on my mind for a while now. I wanted to do a post this week which points people to the cross, to repentance and faith. While it may not seem to be very “Eastery” I hope you will find you are pointed to Christ and are reminded again of the wonderful hope of Easter.
Many years ago I was talking to an elderly friend about her faith. At the time I was a young woman and newly married. We had a wonderful chat but I don’t remember much of it at all now. The one thing I do remember is her statement, “The older I get, the more sin I see in me.” At the time I was pretty disheartened! I had an image of getting more and more godly the older I got. Visions in my head of being a sweet, almost perfect little old lady one day. Even I knew that no one gets to be perfect ’til they get to glory, but I was hoping for pretty close.
Nowadays I am much closer to her age than I was! And I understand much more what she meant. Not that I like it anymore today than back then.
The older I get, the more God uses His Word, His Spirit, His people and the circumstances of life to reveal the sin that has actually always been there.
Just lately God has been doing some more “revealing” to me. I have not enjoyed it. I have become discouraged and a bit grumpy at God that He hadn’t changed me in those areas yet. Why did I have to keep coming back to the same things again and again? Why didn’t it work last time I faced these things? It was tempting to listen to the lies being whispered in my ear. If God was powerful I would have overcome these things by now. If God’s Spirit was in me then I wouldn’t be struggling to live in a way that expresses His character. The lies flowed.
But God is so gracious. He knew the struggles I would face and He put just the right people into my life. He planned the Bible Study I was going to lead for our little group of ladies. He directed the blog posts and the books I needed at just the right times. He led me to the point where I was able to slowly work through these lies. I started to analyse just why I was feeling the way I was. (You will see if you stick around that analysing is part of my DNA. I could not stop thinking and analysing if my life depended on it.) As I pondered and journaled I was faced with a realisation.
I don’t want to be forgiven, I want to be perfect.
I realised that as God revealed these failures and sins, I had a choice.
I could choose HIS way: to repent and seek reconciliation with Him and with those I have sinned against and have faith that, in Christ, I was forgiven. This way would lead to joy and peace.
I could choose MY way: to get frustrated with myself and feel hopeless to achieve my goal. I could seek perfection and trust that, one day, in my own strength,maybe with a bit of help from God, I might get there. My goal was perfection. Not Holiness.
To pursue Holiness is to seek to image the character of God in perfect righteousness. This is not possible in this life. Therefore it requires humility. Pursuing holiness will lead to repentance and seeking reconciliation.
No, My goal was perfection. I wanted to do everything right so no one could tell me I was wrong and I would never need to apologise to anyone or feel like I had failed. I wanted to avoid repentance and reconciliation by never doing anything that required them! Ask me how that was going! (Romans 3:23)
Just realising this has begun a significant process in my life. I have begun to consciously choose to repent when I fail instead of choosing self-justification. I don’t always take this choice…as I said, I am not perfect yet! But when I do choose to repent I am led to the foot of the cross. The mere act of seeking at the cross the forgiveness I know I have through Christ’s death reminds me of God’s faithfulness. It reminds me of God’s love and His Grace. It fills me with a deep gratitude and desire to be who He has declared me to be. His daughter, an image bearer of my heavenly Father, united with Christ His Son. I go away from the cross encouraged, and full of hope!
This Easter, as the season brings us to deeper focus on the cross of Christ and all that His death and resurrection mean to us, take some time to ask yourself some quiet questions:
- Is my response to sin and failure to flee to the cross in repentance and faith?
- Do I minimise and devalue all that Christ has done for me by seeking to change in my own strength or choosing to justify myself instead of choosing repentance?
- Do I understand truly the absolute nature of the forgiveness which Christ bought for me on the cross?
- Am I living in the fullness of joy and peace which is offered to me as I trust in all He has done for me on the cross?
Do you struggle in this area too? Share in the comments so that we can all pray for and encourage each other in turning to the cross today.
Hugs and Prayers,