things I’m [re] learning

Posted in faith
  1. The grace and glory of God is stunning.
  2. Believing the Bible as light and nourishment is the only way to truly flourish in life.
  3. There is never any condemnation for those in Jesus Christ.

In my years of not only knowing facts about God and the Bible, but experiencing them for myself, in the roller-coaster-way life can be, I learn and relearn things like it’s my job.

And I read “grace upon grace.” The beauty and severity and AMAZINGNESS of that reality. Amen?

Since this blog has become a place to tease these things out, here we go…

The grace and glory of God is stunning.

“Often when we become familiar with things, we begin to take them for granted. When we are familiar with things, we tend to quit examining them… Familiarity tends to rob us of our wonder. And here’s what’s important about this: what has captured the wonder of our hearts will control the way we live.” Paul David Tripp, Come, Let Us Adore Him

My friend Ashton and I talk about this sometimes — how growing up in families that love God, being active in church, and learning the Bible even at school are great gifts. They also make us [graciously] repellant to the idea of becoming numb to the gospel.

Earlier this year I had one of those “God, I am desperate for more of You, exhausted and broken by how I was carrying on in life. Please straighten what is crooked in my heart and mind, please tear down so You can rebuild the framework of my belief in You” seasons. (At the time, the pages of my journal were strewn with messy phrases, tears, and jumbled up processing.)

Seeking His face even when it felt mechanical worked for me. While I pleaded for my inner state and feelings to change, I did keep reading. I read Scripture and trusted authors, and while it didn’t happen immediately, He began to fill me with fresh wonder. I rediscovered the God of my life in a way I didn’t even know I needed. Months later, I feel marked by an adoration for the Lord I haven’t had before, an adoration I hope and pray will only keep growing.

It feels like asking “show me Your glory” and “God, be for me what I can’t be for myself” have become part of my survival. 

 

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Believing the Bible as light, nourishment, and authority is the only way to truly flourish in life.

Light, to clarify confusion, questions, and disappointments of life.

Nourishment, to be the source I glean encouragement, inspiration, energy, and strength from.

Authority, to be the First and Final Word on all my doubts, fears, plans, and passions.

Not just knowing the Bible’s words, but sincerely believing them. Not simply studying it, but meditating on it so much it becomes part of me.

If God in Scripture is my first and final word on everything, insecurity doesn’t stand a chance; fear has no oxygen in which to stay alive; freedom is mine to choose no matter the circumstances; declaring God great is my life’s joyful vocation. 

Do you see? If I allow only my limited view or imperfect understanding, to inform the way I feel or see or act, life will get distorted. For me, the distortion can look like religious activity with sides of fear in conflict, stress, self-righteousness, or pride.

If we want to flourish, it is vital we take God at His Word, trusting Holy Spirit to reveal and teach and transform us.

 

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There is never any condemnation for those in Jesus Christ.

This is a Biblical reality that consistently comes up against my nature. A truth I claimed in high school as a nice phone wallpaper or doodle, but not a lifeline. Maybe you have one like that also.

Long story short, I have acquired chronic neck pain – major disc degeneration and a bone spur on my C5 disc. Due to the way my neck is, this causes me pain ranging from barely noticeable to breaking down to cry. In the past year or so, I’ve processed it, seeing different doctors, trying a variety of treatment options, finally landing on “do what makes it feel better, don’t do what aggravates it” from a spine specialist.

Last week J and I stood in the kitchen and I confessed something I never wanted to admit: this entire year and a half I’ve been bearing a great shame, believing this neck injury was my fault, my mistake, and that it was my job to fix.

Walking around in this mindset, I felt paralyzed by all the decisions of “Will this be helpful? Will this make my neck feel better? I shouldn’t have done that. Maybe I should try this or that,” leaving me full of guilt over my lack of healing.

That moment in the kitchen, tears streaming down, my husband preached the gospel to me. God, through J, greatly encouraged, and after a few days I landed back on Romans 8:1.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4

And then verses 33-34, Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

God did not strand me to this discomfort. He does not abandon me in this unforeseen pain. He isn’t looking with critiquing eyes, saying, “You did this to yourself, now you are less to Me,” and waiting for me to get the right act together.

How have I combatted the lies? With Romans 8, and Jesus Christ’s work on the cross in my place, sealing me forever with Him. I trust Christ, as my righteousness and my life, regardless of whether I’m in pain or not. My sins, past, present, and future, are covered. I pray against temptations of Satan, and ask that Jesus’ power be perfected in my pain.

There is peace to be found in resting in Jesus’ work instead of condemning, evaluating, and self-promoting our own abilities.

If you’ve stuck with me this far, thanks. I hope His goodness is reflected in this honesty.

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