Learn to preach the gospel to myself.
So what do I do about all this sinful mess that I have to deal with? As one who is “in Christ,” I can now do good, but I am not always going to do good or right. Some days, that is the last thing I want to do…despite the fact that I am “in Christ.”
I will have to return to Jesus often and learn to “preach the gospel” to myself often. Actually, this is a good thing.
The gospel is the good news that Jesus loved me in my sin, died to pay the penalty for it, by grace chose me to be His adopted child and clothed me in His righteousness so I could stand before the Father as one righteous. Not judged on my works, but His. Romans 8:1-4
What better thing could I be reminded of on those bad days when it seems that all I do is sin! I can go to my Father and find forgiveness. Even when I don’t deserve it…forgiven. That is what grace is! You did not deserve this, but I have forgiven you!
My sin is not surprising to GOD!
The last person who is shocked by my sin and failure is Jesus. He paid for every one of my sins when He died. Not one of them is surprising to Him. In fact, He knows my sinful heart better than I do. So I need to realize that when I sin, I don’t “let Him down.” He is all too aware of the nature of my heart.
I am the one who is out of touch with the depths of my own sinful heart. Jesus is fully aware of the truth of what goes on there. And He has forgiven it all…if I am “in Christ.”
So when I sinned and lost my temper with my child…or worse, what happened? Did I lose my place in GOD’s family? I often felt like it. But I was wrong! I was still Jesus’ daughter. I wasn’t kicked out of the family. He was my heavenly Father, reminding me that He was ready to forgive and help me reach out to my children in grace. I didn’t understand the concept then as well then as I do now…sadly.
What is the truth?
Did my kids ignore me when I gave them a deadline for a job to be done? Did I feel disrespected and ignored? Yes. Did I feel like a nobody? Yes. But just because I felt that way didn’t mean it was true! I had to learn to live by the truth and not my feelings. Not ignore my feelings like I tried to for years, but pay attention to them, ask GOD to show them to me and then speak truth to myself…the truth of the gospel!
Yes, you feel like a nobody right now. It is painful to be treated in a way that makes you feel that way but here is the truth! You are a forgiven daughter of the King! You have value as a human being made in GOD’s image, as a woman who is “in Christ,” as a person placed in authority over these children to love and care for them and teach them in the ways of GOD. You are not a nobody.
Only He can ferret out the true intents of my heart! Learning to preach the Gospel to ourselves takes time…but it is so worth it! II Corinthians 5:20-21.
I’m much more prone to put a positive spin to my behavior and ignore MY sin. I don’t do it nearly as often when I’m hurt by someone else’s words or actions. It is always much easier to see their sin!
Teaching and living out the Gospel with our children is how I show them what it truly means to be “in Christ.”
No, it wasn’t a cute formula that worked each time I was tempted to get angry…that’s why I didn’t put it in an alliterated format…or give you easy steps. It isn’t neat. Just as in all relationships, neat, tidy formulas rarely tell the full story. They might give us good clues, but apart from finding our redemption and frequent forgiveness in Jesus as we live by faith and repent daily, we will not find satisfaction in our own performance.
It seems that the happy ending would be that I never got angry again because I realized who I was in Christ!
Honey, that isn’t the real world! I sometimes wish it were. We live in a world broken and marred by sin. That is why it is such a struggle. Sin permeates every aspect of life. We may not be as bad as we could be, but all of life is marred by sin for sure!
The actual happy ending is this: Jesus loved me in the middle of my mess. He has paid the penalty for my sin and His righteousness is on my account if I am “in Christ.” Whether I am the obvious prodigal or the less apparent prodigal in the form of the self-righteous older brother. We are each just as sinful.
The other part of the happy ending? I need Jesus to live the christian life! I can’t do it without Him!
Jesus knows us deeply and loves us…and has completely forgiven us as well. To top it off, we did nothing or had nothing about us that made us deserving of this forgiveness.
It truly is amazing! On the days when I have my devotions and perform well, Jesus loves me. On the days when I don’t have my devotions, and don’t want to obey. He loves me. And all the days in between!
Somehow, we must communicate this message to our children too…or they will grow up thinking there is actually something they can do to earn their way to heaven! They might even think they can live the christian life without Jesus! That would be awful. Then we would have a generation of pharisees instead of genuine believers. How sad it would be.
I think the change took place more over a period of time. The starting place was learning to believe the truth of who I was: a sinful person in need of the transforming power of GOD in my life!
This is all of grace!
Then, as one who has trusted Christ for salvation and was now “in Christ”, I needed to realize who I was…totally forgiven, permanently adopted into the family of GOD, solely based on His grace! But one who would continue to fail just the same.
The fact is, I needed to repent many times over for “losing it” with my family. I needed to go to Jesus to repent for losing my temper, but deeper, for my desire to live a life of comfort with no interruptions, no difficulties. I’ll talk more about that later.
I needed to apologize more than I did. It wasn’t all neat and tidy then. I bumbled along and GOD was gracious and helped me along the way to learn ways to help deal with my anger and other sin. More details later.
One thing I have learned more recently that I think is very true: as we become more and more aware of our sin, we will become more aware of our need for Jesus…to forgive, to help give us victory over the rule of sin in our everyday lives…not in the neat, formulaic ways we would like, but victory just the same.
I think it will look like encouraging signs that we see Him giving us a desire to love our family at times when we otherwise wouldn’t…in ways they truly need. But never feeling that we have “arrived.” Because we won’t…until we arrive in glory and no longer have to deal with that sinful part of ourselves that affects so much of life.
I see I will need to continue this series. I do have some practical tips that helped me. Some of them might help you. Some of them might not apply to you at all. I’ll continue with them at our next visit.
From this visit, I hope you will understand two things:
My sin is worse than I could ever imagine.
GOD’s grace and forgiveness is more high and deep and
broad and wide than I could ever dream!
Think about it.