Saturday, January 2, 2016

Who are you?

This has been a year of big changes for me, spiritually speaking. I don't think I could have a more different view of God now than I did this time last year without being something other than a Christian.

The things I've learned about God are rarely taught in most churches these days. And while I dearly love the churches I've gone to over the years, and have great respect for their leaders, I can't help but wonder why the things that changed my entire outlook on life, were not things I learned on a Sunday morning.

I've spent years believing that I had to act right to be acceptable to God, believing that I was spitting in Jesus' face, or trampling His grace under my feet whenever I sinned. I've listened to hundreds of messages that drove me to look inward, at myself, and how I should be doing a better job of being a Christian... how I was obligated to "do better" because of His sacrifice.

And I tried. I tried so hard and failed again and again. As I failed, discouragement would increase until, eventually, I would give up in some way. Usually not too long after, I found myself asking God for forgiveness and trying again. And while I never doubted my salvation, I always knew that when I got to Heaven some day, God would be letting me in begrudgingly, with an eye roll and a shrug.

Even when things looked good to the outside world, I was hurting. Early 2015 saw me in a struggle that made me feel like my best option was to just let God give up on me... because I couldn't get it right. One bad choice spiraled into several and I was so close to not trying anymore.

Oh, how wrong I had it... and I'm so thankful to know.

I remember one of my moments of revelation from this year. Joseph Prince said that either I was righteous because of grace, or I was righteous because I am doing the right things... works... and that I couldn't have it both ways. The moment I tried to pay for His sacrifice with works, I was discounting what He had done on the cross.

It was a light-bulb moment. When I began to comprehend that my sins: past, present and future, had already been forgiven, that feeling of obligation to do the right thing was broken. Suddenly, I wasn't obligated to do anything "right," yet, I wanted to... more than ever.

What a freeing feeling... knowing that God already saw me as righteous... that while I had been declaring myself "a sinner, saved by grace" I should have been calling myself what I really am... "the righteousness of God in Christ."

Over the course of the last year, I have come to learn that when God sees me, He doesn't see a sinner at all. He sees so much more. Below is something I put together that shows just some of the things God says I am... and the good news is... He says you are these things too.

I read it to myself often, saying the words out loud. Not to make them more true, but to help me understand and believe it. Romans 12:12 says that we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds. That's what reading this out loud to myself does.

I can't help but believe it makes Satan shake a bit... because no one is more dangerous to him than someone who knows who she is in Christ.

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