05 January 2006

on grace (a peek inside my journal)

i debated sharing this from my personal journal because of it being so open, but the more i thought about it, the more i thought maybe it'd help someone in their own pursuit, so here goes:

just got out of an early early prayer meeting with some of the healing place church staff. i like this prayer time (5:30) cuz i can get up and back before anyone else wakes up. (and so one of the twins starts crying as I type this.) i just wanna real quick put something in here about this morning. dino said something at the end of communion right before we took the cup that hit me strong. he said, “let’s just believe that after we take the cup – for that moment right there that we are all actually totally pure before God. all sin is forgiven – we’ve repented and he’s washed us and at least for that moment we are totally all of us all clean.” all too often i forget what an incredible thing forgiveness is. forgiveness by God for me is just a breath away at any moment any time of the day – and yet all too often i fail to ask for it, yet the result of asking for forgiveness is ALWAYS being forgiven totally and being made clean.

but that brings up two more thoughts. first, how stinking difficult it is sometimes to forgive others. why is that? God has paid such a high price to make it easy for me to be forgiven, and yet i make it such a difficult thing for others to find my forgiveness sometimes. the other thing that hit me is how much i need to walk in grace. now i’ve heard that phrase a bazillion times in my life, but it was just last night (as i watched the longhorns dethrone the trojans in the rose bowl) that i think i may possibly have begun to understand it. reading brian houston’s little book “how to live a blessed life” i read something that triggered a rabbit-chasing in my mind. he said something about living in grace, and i began to think about the way grace really does take away my sin. it is the whole reason that i can have any hope of heaven. but here’s my issue: far too often i allow God to forgive me and yet i continue to live under the guilt of my sin. i know I’m cleared with God, but i also allow the memory of my shortcoming – my weakness – my sin – to force me to walk a path that is lower, afraid that i’m no longer worthy to walk the path i was on earlier.

how ridiculous is that? sure, it is always about not sinning in the first place. don’t screw up and there’s no need for this to even be talked about. but if/when i do sin, i need to repent and then allow God to wash away the sin and the guilt of it. david prayed, “create in me a clean heart, o God, and renew a right spirit within me.” God can renew. God doesn’t need us to walk around the rest of our days dragging a load of guilt around. that would reduce forgiveness to just being an “ok-you-didn’t-lose-your-ticket-to-heaven” thing. but it is so much more than that.

forgiveness is complete. sure, there’s consequences for sin. look again at david. how could he wake up in the mornings after that whole deal and not be reminded of his guilt? i think he knew God had forgiven him and he did what i think i would find to be one of the hardest things to do: he totally accepted God’s complete forgiveness and walked away from the guilt and condemnation.

so when i feel less than top notch because i’m reminded of my past failures, i need to remember that God has already taken care of it because i have asked him to forgive me for whatever it was. and I’m not second-rate to anything or anybody. i can hold my head high in the grace God has shown me. His grace doesn’t just allow me to squeak by and still make heaven. it puts me back on the right path and it sets me back as though i’d never messed up.

i have got to quit holding on to what God has erased. today, Lord, help me to walk in confidence – in the confidence that you’ve washed all my sin away by your grace and that your grace is sufficient for me – i don’t need to do something else to make my being clean complete and totally perfect.

none of our past failures should ever be allowed to hold us down or keep us back even a step off the pace of what God wants for our lives. we are what He says we are – regardless of the past. it is forgiven and we can stand up tall and grateful to God and advancing into His plan for our lives unashamed and undaunted (but hopefully wiser for the lesson learned).


Mark Batterson said...

Great thoughts Dan!


Anonymous said...

i'm glad you made that post...it certainly spoke to my life, my situation, and my circumstances...