Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Joy of Relationship

I know that the last few posts have been words from my own, and alas, today is going to be the same. I am just finishing up a six week study that is based on learning to pray God's Word; a concept I had never thought about prior. Not only has it allowed depth and greater insight to Scripture, but the personal experiences Beth touches on has allowed for my own personal reflection and understanding of who God is and what the relationship He desires to have with me looks like.

Today's study left me face down, in the dirt to God's magnificence. It has taken me YEARS to grasp the understanding that I am FULLY forgiven of my past and present sin. And I say that with no intention of thinking that even now I fully understand it. Because the more and more I learn of who this living God is, the more I realize how big He truly is, and the fact that I will NEVER fully know everything about Him.

As you read below you will find highlighted sentences. They indicated the points that resonate with my personal story of sin. And while no one, but God, knows the sin that use to bind me, I do want to put emphasis on those points that rocked my soul and brought great conviction. Because perhaps like me, at times, you feel that your experience with sin is different. That no one else could possibly understand or relate to what you have gone through or continue to go through. Hear me when I say: Your sin is no greater or worse than anyone else. Which leaves us all on the same battle field with Satan; equal in sin. Yet equal in receiving forgiveness from Him.

So, here we go with today's study. I pray that the words will resonate in a way that brings you understanding and light to enjoying God.

As the deer pants for
streams of water,
so my soul pants for
you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
Ps. 42:1-2

You know I feel a closeness and affection for you that I cannot describe...even with all my adjectives! So I am going to be bold and ask you a very personal question. The honest answer to this question shapes the quality of your life more than anything I know. Do you enjoy God?
I'm not asking if you believe God or if you seek to glorify Him. Probably, finding satisfaction in Him will lead you to enjoy His presence, and certainly experiencing God's peace will incline you toward Him. Ultimately, however, life comes down to whether you enjoy God.
I love to be around people who are knowledgeable and interesting. I like people who are at least somewhat demonstrative and who care about others. I want to be around people who have something to say and who are willing to listen. I do hope you have found God to be all those things in your life.

You automatically know that I believe God is worth glorifying. One reason I believe so is because nobody satisfies the way He does. Only in His presence can you find peace in the midst of the greatest challenges imaginable.

I hope you see all that we've been doing coming together here. If you are enjoying God's presence, I want you to enjoy Him more and more. If you aren't, I see two possible causes.

You might still not believe He satisfies. If that's where you are, don't beat yourself up over it. Continue to get to know Him through His Word. I promise the more you know Him, the more you will believe He can meet your need.

On the other hand, you may genuinely believe God and still have difficulty enjoying His presence. Could the problem be the work of the accuser? That is Satan's game, you know. Revelation 12:10 identifies him as the "accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night."

I've said many times that Satan lacks creativity. He just keeps doing the same tried-and-false things. He wants to keep you out of God's presence, so he accuses you. He can't keep you out of heaven, but as long as Satan can keep you feeling too guilty to be in the presence of God, he wins a small victory.

If you have confessed and repented of known sin and still fill ashamed in the presence of the Father, something is wrong. Never in all of Scripture did Christ resist the repentant sinner. He resisted the proud and the self-righteously religious but never the humble and repentant. Indeed, forgiveness is why He came.

Some issues are more gray than others, but we've now arrived at a place we can see black and white: once true repentance has taken place, any accusation and guilt we continue to feel is the enemy. We need to be certain that we have experienced genuine repentance.

Godly sorrow brings
repentance that leads
to salvation and leaves
no regret, but worldly
sorrow brings death.
2 Cor. 7:10

What does 2 Corinthians 7:10 tell us leads to repentance?
  • spiritual warfare
  • godly sorrow
  • open rebuke

Genuine repentance does not mean merely regretting that we have sinned. Repentance comes from godly sorrow over our sin. Satanic accusation leads to crushing guilt.

Please trust me when I say that I know about this guilt issue. Satan has used guilt, condemnation, and accusation to nearly be the death of me at times. You see, I was a young child when I received Christ, and yet I have sinned and failed miserably in my life. I nearly have to fight not to be jealous over the testimonies of those who only knew the real pit of sin prior to their salvation and have walked faithfully since. Every horrible sin I've ever committed has been as a believer.

Oh, what grief strikes my heart again even as I share this testimony. As I grow to love Christ more, every now and then a wave of grief will come over me about my past sin, and I will cry to myself, How could you have done such a thing to Him? If I don't stop and pray immediately...restating Christ's love for me and my righteousness in Him...Satan will interpret my wave of sorrow as a vulnerability to accusation, and he will proceed with a hurricane of condemnation. I have had to become extremely proactive against his accusations. You must, too.

You and I are about to cease cooperating with Satan's schemes. Amen? If we've never developed godly sorrow over a certain sin, let's ask God fro godly sorrow! Then hang on, because He will be faithful to do it! If we have repented of sin and yet guilt keeps assailing us, let's start refusing to absorb the accuser's attacks anymore, fighting back with prayer and God's Word.

In the life of a believer, guilt experienced before we've repented of the specific sin is the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Guilt experienced after repentance is the condemnation of the evil one. Please hear this with your heart: If you have truly repented of sin, you are forgiven no matter how you happen to feel. Remember, Christ boldly proclaimed that He has "authority on earth to forgive sins" (see Matt. 9:6).

If we repent of sin and still let the evil one convince us to refuse forgiveness, what are we implying about Jesus?

Are we saying that we can do our part (repenting) but Christ can't do His part (forgiving)? I finally realized my unwillingness to accept Christ's complete forgiveness after my genuine repentance was an authority problem. I was in effect saying Christ couldn't do His job. I found myself having to repeat for refusing to receive forgiveness!

Please end your day's study with a time of prayer. Let me suggest a prayer project. Begin to personalize the psalms by praying through them. For today pray Psalm 121.

-Living Free, Beth Moore. Day 2, Week 6, Pg 92-95.

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