monday august 4, 2008
Hi sweet girl!
Thank you for emailing – and for waiting on my response. I have been thinking about you and praying about this opportunity to speak to you. Thank you for trusting me with your heart. One thing you said hit me like a ton of bricks. You said, “…even though I know Jesus has covered my sin and his Holy Spirit is continually working out my salvation, I still feel like the consequences of sin will not leave me alone.” Girlfriend, what you KNOW is truth, and fact must drive your life train, not feeling. If we live by what we feel, oh my stars!!! What a mess we’d be in, wouldn’t we? Feelings change. Truth does not. Hold to truth, because you are spot on with what you know. Living that out – now there’s the adventure. Put that knowledge in your back pack and walk with it where God takes you! Cause that’s exciting knowledge!!! VERY exciting!!! I’ve got goose bumps right now for both of us just thinking about it!!! Thank you God for truth like my sin debt is paid and the Holy Spirit is working out your salvation within me!!! Sheweeee that’s good! Grip that truth tight!!!
Now let me talk with you about these "feelings" a little bit – cause they’re not good ones for your journey. I am so sorry you are hurting with guilt. I would love to wash that pain away, but the truth is – restoring your heart is God’s work, and He is faithful to complete it. Ask Him to help you give it all to Him. It’s His. Ask Him to restore to you the joy of His salvation. He will! You were not meant to live under the weight of your guilt. You were meant to live in the victory of Christ, who paid the price for your sin, and bore your guilt – every bit of it. How I wish – like you, my friend– that I understood once upon a lily white time - how my choices had such far reaching consequences. Jesus knew I would come to that understanding, and I am grateful that I did. I live in light of that understanding, but not in the guilt. The guilt is a weapon that the enemy can use to destroy me. Guilt to Gratitude, now that honors God. For example, when I was guilt ridden over my past sin, I did not pursue Christian relationships because of my shame. I didn’t think other Christians would accept me when they found out the terrible things that I had done. I wondered how could I ever trust other Christians to accept me when they are so good and I am so bad? I convinced myself that I needed to remain distant so that I wouldn’t be hurt by their judgment. How grateful I am that God rescued me from not only my sin – but also my guilt, and how amazing that God used the “other Christians” in my life to teach me how deep and wide is His love and forgiveness. Now - my gratitude compels me to reach out and love others just as Christ loved me.
There is a couple that I know who adopted two little girls from China. Each little girl is so loved, and bubbling with joy. Can you imagine if when they realized that they were adopted out of a poor orphanage in China, (one is 9 now and the other 6), that they chose to live in shame because of where they had come? And in their shame for having been orphans, what if they then would not come and eat at the dinner table with their adoptive parents; and what if they would not accept new clothing and toys? What if they would not look their parents in the eyes or receive their affection out of shame for who they were or who they might have become in that poor Chinese orphanage for girls? How tragic! That’s certainly not the case with these blessed little girls. They walk in who they are, and they don’t look back at where they were in shame; they acknowledge where they were found, chosen, and instantly loved by their mom and dad. Girl! That is a glimpse of you and I in the arms of our Heavenly Father. I once was so lost! But now I am found! Because of my Father's love, I have been made new! I am not without error; I have much to learn. And my Father does not remove me from His presence because of my sin nature, He teaches me and guides me, and pulls me to Himself that much tighter as I learn and grow in Him.
The consequences of our sin are great. I realize that. I ache over the images that I remember of my sin. I ache over the lives that I hurt because of my sin. I ache over the opportunities that I missed had I chosen to live for God and not for myself. I could choose to ache and ache and ache, but what good would that do for the one who rescued me? My Savior does not ask me to do penance for my sin. He died so that I might live for Him abundantly. Abundant life is a life without guilt. Abundant life loves much because of how much it was forgiven. Channel that guilt into gratitude – into an abundant life – abundant love. For all that you have done, you’ve been forgiven, and for the one who forgave you, you can now give your life.
I want to assure you of something. You can live a blessed life after you have sinned. God is the only one who can redeem – and by that I mean make right what was wrong. Yes, there are consequences, but God works through consequences – any and every consequence for His good – which He so lovingly pours out on us. For example, in the Bible, II Samuel 11, we can read about King David, a man blessed by God – richly, from shepherd boy to king kind of richly. He was up late one night and happened to see a beautiful woman taking a bath. She was hot, and not because of the weather kind of hot – or the water, cause it was probably lukewarm since they had to work hard to keep bath water hot in those days. She was gorgeous hot. And King David wanted her for his own. Bathsheba, as she was called, (sassy little name to match her hot little self) was not David’s wife. She was the wife of Uriah, a soldier, who was actually away at war. David knew this – and still he took her for himself. Well, A + B = C. So, Bathsheba became pregnant. David tried to hide his sin, and since his attempts to hide his sin failed, he had Uriah killed at battle. Do you see a stream of consequences building here? Sin has consequences. So, here is the rest of that story. The baby born of that circumstance died. God told David this would happen. God also let David know that he had brought further calamity upon his household that would ply out before his eyes in the future. Consequences were severe. But, God assured David that his sin was removed. Bathsheba became pregnant again, and she gave David another son – Solomon. And Solomon not only became king, but God’s favor rested on him as well.
David lamented over his sin with Bathsheba in Psalm 51. He wrote, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” God is the one who does heart work. It is God and God alone who makes us able to live for Him brand new. We can ask Him for a pure heart and the strong resolve of His Holy Spirit that we were created to embody as his creation. We can ask, and we can receive this blessing – believing He will do it.
You will need His resolve to accomplish what you desire, and I’m trusting by your words in this letter, you desire a pure life with this man that you love. You will need a steadfast spirit now - while you are dating. You will need it should you become His wife. How very much we are dependent on our God, and how good it is to walk in His power, and not our own. How you go on from this point is what matters most. Be wise about this young man as you continue in your relationship. Be wise about where you go and what you do together. Pray for him, and pray about your relationship. Seek God daily in His Word, so that you can equip yourself with more and more of that power giving truth you have discovered. And walk in it. Put that truth in motion so you move and grow in it.
God cannot withhold blessing from those who diligently seek Him. It would go against His very nature to do so. He blesses. It is His heart to bless His children. What blessing Jesus poured out – again and again and again to show us God’s love! Can you imagine the heart of the woman who was caught in adultery, and thrown at the feet of Jesus (John 8). Her shame, her fear, her guilt must have been great. What he would say would determine everything for her from that moment on. Jesus’ words not only rescued her from her accusers, but also released her from any condemnation. He knew her heart. He knew her guilt. He knew she bore the weight of what her sin had already cost her, and that He was her only hope – for freedom and for life. He freed her from her accusers when he said, “Let any of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And he freed her to live again - new - when he said, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” What gratitude she must have felt! Would she have remained there at his feet in her guilt? And then - still greater his rescue – still greater his love for her – when he freed her once again from death - when he said, “It is finished.”
You know His Word. You do! You have heard it, too. All of it is for you. What will you do with such a gift?
Adore Him. Worship Him. Get up sweet girl, and live for Him – abundantly. You are blessed!
posted by laura lewis