May I tell you something vitally important to your faith life?
Jesus is not casting stones at you.
“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stoneat her.” Jo. 8:7
Jesus picks up no rock to sling at your face. Sure, He sees what you do and what you have done. But He grabs nothing to pummel you, like you do to yourself. He does not rip your insides. He does not call you, “Idiot” or “Stupid.” Or say, “Oh, look, she did it again.” He launches no accusatory words at you, like you may do to yourself. Jesus doesn’t hurt his daughters.
He approaches them, arms open, ready to receive them again. And he fights off the violent voices rising against them. He lets not condemnation speak any longer.
“Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” Jo. 8:10
“No one, sir,” she said.
The violent stone throwers were no longer there. Why? Because of Jesus. Because of the voice of simple and authentic love. Love that spoke over condemnation to bring love-filled, sin-shattering consolation.
What if you were to let Jesus’ voice of consolation, rise above the stone-slinging voices of condemnation? What freedom might you seize? What life would you be able to return to?
“Then neither do I condemn you,’”Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” Jo. 8:1
It is easy to leave sin when you’re confronted with authentic, soul-seeing and heart-changing love.
Why not let the one and only Jesus lead you into deeper, life-freeing love? The perfect consoler waits, not with a stone, but with a heart to care for your deep wounds and pain.
It was supposed to be a time of joy, connectedness and unity, but everything went wrong. My heart didn’t want to align with God. It didn’t want to follow his marching orders, and instead marched to it’s own beat: a beat of I have to figure this out, I have to work to get right with God, I have to be better than myself and I have to stop sinning.
Sure, God does tell us to put off our old self, which is “being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph. 4:22-24
There is a taking off of the stinky, the putrid and the worn out shirt of self and a putting on of the new, sparkly, purposeful and intentional dress of holiness and righteousness.
Sounds amazing right?
Certainly, I knew what I wanted to wear, but somehow it seemed like that new dress was out of my price range. It was out of my reach. It wasn’t so easy to obtain.
My ears became so focused on my bad self-talk, that I couldn’t hear God talk. His small promptings passed right over my shoulder.
I was so so focused on, “I have got to figure out the mess than I am, God” rather than the “Come with me, Kelly, I have something for you.”
We speak words of condemnation,
but God stands ready to hand out words of consolation.
When we get to the end of our self, we get to the start of God – and that is what happened to me.
It’s not just about not sinning – about removing the old stink and putting on the new outfit – but it’s about the renewal of the mind. Only then, can we walk forward in the new.
We renew our mind by:
Bringing it to the altar of transformation, which is prayer. Immersing it in the irrevocable truth of God’s Word. Knowing that the one in us is greater than the world around us. Making it new in the promises of God. Finding a space with God when we feel like we have no space for him.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. Jo. 15:5
I humbled myself.
“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Ex. 33:14 God rests my soul, as I find rest in him.
Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Ps. 55:2 As I hand my burdens over, God hands me his hand that holds me upright.
The answer to putting on the shiny dress of new self is giving God the first chance to suffocate the old. Then, we leave clothed in promised robes of righteousness and holiness.
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Just yesterday, I watched my husband and son in the pool. For them, it was fun and games. Laughs flew left, water flew right, my son bounced up, yet all that splashed into my heart was fear.
Cold, bitter, shiver-inducing fear.
Fear that erases smiles and creates armors of protection.
Fear that ruins snap-shot moments in families.
“I am not as good of a mother as he is a dad.” “My son really doesn’t like being with me that much.” “I stink at connecting.” “I can’t seem to approach him right.” “He will never love me.” “Let’s be honest, I am not really that good of a mother.”
Drenched with inadequacy, my fears were ready to send me out to fight or on a far-off flight.
All that seemed to bubble out of my heart was the idea that I am not lovable, not worthy and not good enough. It made me want to march right out to say, “Hey, what about me? Do you all even see me? I am good too! (imagine the hands on the hips)”
And, let me tell you, there would be consequences if I wasn’t acknowledged.
That’s how demands of “what about me” work. These ploys serve as the antithesis, the foil and the opposite of love. They topple down opinions, values and truths of others to erect their own statues of needs.
They basically say:
Hey, you, it’s all about me.
If I can’t fill that hole inside me, I will beat around the bush until I get what I need.
You better or I’ll ___________ .
If all else fails, I’ll simply shut down shop and take off!
Far from any cooler soaked victory, my feelings place me on the sidelines as if I play for team “better luck next time.”
Better luck, loser momma!
Why must I always be the winner? The SUPER MOM to the rescue?!
Perhaps, luck isn’t what I need, Jesus is.
It’s not super amazing, double with a half-twist dive into family praises that transforms me, but God’s entire wrapping over my life, my heart and all the steps I take. Because, the hard and fast truth is that some days, I will feel like a Super-loser (_____) (momma, worker, friend, spouse, sister, daughter, church member).
But, I can’t help but think that there are other loser _____s out there who need an understanding shoulder on which to rest their head. I know I need theirs. Because, there will be days, I won’t feel good enough and there will be days they won’t be good enough too.
When we open up our hearts to share “I-am-not-good-enough” moments, they become the passing point to the love of Christ.It is as if the doors of the drawbridge open and Jesus sails straight through to our precise destination of need.
Yet, so often we shut this part down. We say, “I am a loser today, I better put on some makeup.”
But, Jesus never said he cared much for makeup. And, he doesn’t care much for us making ourselves over with fake products to get what we need. They don’t work to well at covering shame anyway!
Winning status’ aren’t on his play board either- unless it’s about pouring out the victory that has already been won in Christ.
He has heard our prayers, now he wants our heart.
Jesus, convicts my heart. The truth is it’s not about my feeling good, looking good or winning good, but it’s about you loving good through me.
“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.” Mt. 20:16
Jesus models this so well.
He takes the those limping like the least of these,
to make them the most of these.
He rides in on a donkey, with the power of God behind him, to save the world.
He gets down onto a dirty floor, cuddles up next to the grime of another’s feet
and shows us the way.
Jesus never said, “Yo! Over here! See me! See my height, my stature, my awesomeness.”
He never said, “You better be perfect.”
He never said, “You will never feel bad.”
He simply says, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
So, as I start to put on that can-never-match-up cape, I hope I can stop to remember:
1. The Word of God drowns inadequacy with the promises of God.
2. Jesus tramples the idea that we should beat ourselves down for who we are today. He came to rescue us this way.
3. Less makeup = more chances to make up with our faith-floundering heart. Then, we can send it out to make up the world with the markings of Jesus’ love.
4. I would be a loser if it wasn’t for Jesus, but he stripped me of that status when he died on the cross, forever securing my title of “victorious in him.”
Bottom line: Jesus doesn’t care so much about feelings of superiority or even adequacy, as much as he does about his all-nourishing adequacy.
There is no one like him,
no one above him,
no one who can match him, or beat him or control him,
no other name reigns like his.
He is the everything of all we want to be…
he is the gate that opens to the humble road
that leads to the ultimate filling place of our deepest desires.
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Bloggers, are you attending She Speaks? Let’s meet for breakfast first thing Friday at the Embassy Suites (people not staying can still eat or have coffee there).
If you are going to She Speaks, there are 2 things to do:
1. Please RSVP here for the morning #RaRalinkup get together/breakfast.
2. Join the #RaRalinkup FB page to exchange more details and specifics.
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I think to myself: You are not doing that right.
You’re coming off as a know-it-all.
Kids don’t love a mom who acts annoyed.
You always drop the ball with your husband.
You are being too selfish.
You are a continual mess-up.
God won’t bless that.
Condemnation. Like rain, it sure can pour down. Yet, somehow I have grown to think it’s an ordinary part of life. It’s like a fly in the house. Sure, it’s annoying, but I can deal with it. Sometimes, it even becomes familiar. Provided it doesn’t bother too much, we can co-exist.
But I wonder, how much does it hurt me to co-exist with condemnation?
Because when I think of it, I see that self-condemnation left unchecked…
leads to self-loathing and self-loathing left unchecked…
leads to self-inadequacy and self-inadequacy left unchecked leads to…
a fear-filled turned-in spirit that doesn’t turn-out towards God or others in faith.
Condemnation may not injure our current actions, but it sure impacts our future ones. It may not hold us back from dreams, hope and a future in the present, but it’s lasting effects do bite.
And yes, friends, I do know that God says, “There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus,” but sometimes I just don’t consider that in the moment – the moment when the thoughts move in as fast as a freight train.
Mostly, in that moment, I am just trying to get by, to live the hand of cards dealt – even when they leave me flushed with thoughts of how much I lack, what I can’t do and where I can’t go.
Sure, I hate those cards, but at the same time I am used to them. That doesn’t make them right though.
Yet, as I stare intently at those cards, wanting something more, my eye starts to focus on the King, the King who wears the crown. The King who is high. The King who can change the game.
I remember his love, I see his royalty and I admire his crown. I see something. I grab hold of something…
I realize the King’s love has already condemned condemnation.
Thinking of it in this way, allows me to grab hold of this truth.
His love is what changed – and changes – the game. And it is what changes my thoughts.
Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Prov. 4:25
If I can keep my eyes fixed on what is love – Jesus – my thoughts will follow him. He will lead my mind in truth. The King will teach me the right way to go.
The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. Lu. 6:45
I know Jesus calls me towards obedience. I can’t help but think of this verse: take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ?” 2 Cor. 10:5
I want to be obedient.
Next time, that hand is dealt and that fly buzzes, I am going to ask myself 3 questions:
1. How does Jesus see you in this moment?
2. Is this thought rooted from a place of Christ’s love?
3. Could I imagine Jesus speaking these words to me?
Perhaps, then, I can discard the things that trump his love and grab hold of the ultimate King of hearts. Perhaps then bad hands won’t be a precursor to bad actions. My eyes will be set on the King.
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