Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Living Beyond our Pasts and into the Futrure

Do you have a closet of skeletal bones that if the door was opened, you would be horrified?  Do you have past sins that pain you when you think upon them?

Yeah, me too.  My heart aches at some of my past choices and sins.  Sometimes I think upon them with such shame and wonder what in the world was I thinking!?

Actually, I know exactly what I was thinking when I was buried in the sins that cause me great shame.  I was a broken mess searching for clarity, worth, and anyone to save me.  I looked for anyone and anything to validate me and tell me that I mattered.

Any chance you can relate?

If I think about it hard enough, I can still feel the terrible gnawing at my heart.  The quiet, but powerful begging for someone to love me.  Gracious, there are times I just want to give that old girl a hug.

I am proof - as you may be too - that ugly messes can turn into beautiful and mighty workers for Christ.

There are still times, however, that the stupid devil tries to get me to feel the bitterness of shame and regret.  The pest screams at me when I'm feeling down that I will never matter because of my past.  He likes to tell me that if my biological father didn't love me, no one else really does or will either.

He's a liar.  In fact, he's the father of lies.  He has no truth in him.  You and I should NEVER believe him.

If  I feel the heavy heat of shame try and overtake my heart, I have to remind myself that Jesus' ways are not my ways.  His thinking is not mine.  He isn't seated on His beautiful throne reliving my disgusting sins.  He is not reliving yours either.  He is filling His heart each moment with love for us. He is looking upon our obedience and desire to live for Him and saying, "That's my girl!  I have faith in you, sweet child."

You may be reading this and thinking, "How on earth can you be so sure?  You have no idea of the sins I have in my locked up closet."

I know because Jesus tells us it's so.  Allow me to show you-

{If you have a Bible available, read the entire account in Luke 7:36-50.}

Luke 7:36-50 tells us that Jesus was at the home of a Pharisee dining when a woman who was labeled a sinner came in and wept at His feet.  She cleansed Jesus' feet with her painful tears and rubbed her very expensive fragrant oil on them.  The Pharisee was outwardly horrified and disgusted.  He asked Jesus if He knew what kind of woman was touching Him and how on earth He could allow it.

The town had labeled the woman a sinner.  You can be certain they had names for her and liked to make themselves feel superior by condemning her.  We are all sinners so I am led to believe that she had a very open sin that the town knew about.  The Scriptures do not detail her sin but if my guess is correct, I would say she was a prostitute.  I would bet she had a harried past and felt great shame and embarrassment.  I would also bet that many in the town treated her like yesterday's trash and looked down upon her.

Jesus sternly tells the Pharisee that those who are forgiven much, love much.  Jesus also assures the woman that she is forgiven. 

Read Jesus' words and allow them to penetrate to your core.  If needed, write them on an index card and keep it with you to read often until you know without a doubt that those sweet words are spoken directly to you and about you.

Luke 7:50
And He said to (insert your name),  "Your faith has saved you.  Go in peace."

He does not shame her or validate the Pharisee.  He actually calls the Pharisee out for being...well a Pharisee.  

In Luke 7:44-47, Jesus basically calls the Pharisee out for being so condescending, rude, and pious.  I love it!

Jesus isn't about to let people condemn His loves and get away with it.  He stands for us every single time.

Let me show you a few verses that prove my statement above.

Luke 6:37-38
Do not judge and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure - pressed down, shaken together, and running over - will be poured into your lap.  For the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  

When they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, "The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her."

James 4:11-12
Don't criticize one another brothers.  He who criticizes and brother or judges his brother criticizes the law and judges the law.  But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.  There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy.  But who are you to judge your neighbor?

See what I mean - Jesus doesn't take judging and condemning lightly.  When you experience them, know that Jesus sees and doesn't like it.  Nobody messes with His girls!

The best part of this story is told to us from the account in Matthew 26:13-

I assure you:  Wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her.

Jesus assures us that our faith will be remembered, not our sins.  Our legacies will be based on our faith and devotion to Christ, not on our harried pasts that make our hearts heavy at times.

Isn't that an awesome balm for our hearts?!  I don't know about you, but that is beautiful music to my heart!  He takes our uglies and turns them into our beauties.  He takes our past (our testimonies) and uses them to show the glory of His love and Kingdom. 

Now that is some amazing mercy and grace!  Let's all shout amen and hallelujah!

While many of us wish we could erase our past sins, they are actually what have caused our hearts to be so devoted to our Savior.  Because we have been forgiven much, we love Him so very much.  He cleaned up our messes and threw His loving arms around us.  He welcomes us into His great Kingdom with open arms and a love that spins our heads with great devotion.

Be encouraged, sweet friends.  You are loved with a great fierceness by your King.

Loving you all will an overflowing heart of adoration-