Lent Day 38

“What can I say, I’m just sinful.”  We are lead to believe that sinfulness is the overarching quality of all of humanity.  Sinfulness defines us, makes us act the way we act and do the things we don’t want to do.  It is true, in one sense.  We have all betrayed Jesus.  Just as Judas did at the last supper, each of us has dipped our hand in the bowl and said, “Surely it is not I.”  As Paul puts very plainly in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

The greatest truth often takes a back seat to our state of sinfulness.  However, because of that first Holy Week, we are offered a very different reality.   Before we get lulled into believing that sin defines us, let’s take a look at verse 25 of Rms 3 for the rest of the story.  “(Jesus Christ) whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.”  What Paul is communicating to the Jews and Gentiles in Rome is that Christ is the substitute for the mercy seat. Sinners didn’t have to look to the mercy seat on the Day of Atonement anymore.  On the Day of Atonement, the blood was sprinkled on this mercy seat to cover the tables of Law within the ark. God did not look at the broken Law; He saw the blood. Christ became OUR mercy seat!  His blood does not just cover sin; it takes away sin.

The truth: we are no longer defined by sin, but by forgiveness and wholeness.  We have been restored completely by the Cross.  Our hearts have been made good again and we are free to live the life for which God originally designed us.   The temptation is to live out of our sin.  That’s not the invitation though, not even close.  Jesus desires nothing short of union with us.  May it be no longer we who live but He who lives in us.
Lie:  We are defined by our sin

Truth:  Our hearts are good, clean and forgiven

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.  Romans 6:6

1 reply on “Lent Day 38”

Great word Shawn, and completely the truth. I think for me the problem comes up when I forget who I am in Christ. Many times my own experience falls short of what Paul says, and what I know in my head. I listen too much to the false self, the world, and the evil one who are all working against the true self in Christ. The truth is, as you state, that Jesus has conquered all sin and death, and we are not longer to be slaves to the false self, the world, nor does the evil one have any power over me. For me it always has to come back to the real stuff, the existential stuff of being with Jesus, through the Holy Spirit. It has to leave the area of thought and intellect and get down to the heart, where true life with the Spirit is. How do I/we eradicate, evacuate the false self and become more and more fully God’s? This is the question I ask myself all the time. For me I have found a few things extremely helpful: 1). Having consistent times that are set aside to “be” with the Lord. Being consistent no matter how I “feel”. During this time I do centering prayer. I listen to the Lord in the scripture. It is very important to not just read the scripture but to let the Holy Spirit speak to me through the scripture, to listen. Prayer is a dialogue not a monologue. During the time it is important to me to let the Spirit lead. Everyday is not exactly the same except that I have the time set aside to “be with Jesus”. I also try to come away with what the Holy Spirit is saying to me right now, and to apply that during the day. 2). To practice His presence all the time. This is a conscious act of the will to turn to His presence within. To talk to Him about everything, and anything. I try not to filter anything out. It is also letting the Holy Spirit talk to me, to comfort me, to console me, to love me, whatever I am in need of during the day. I do not think we can do this too often, or call for help too often. Is this is what Jesus meant when he said to pray without ceasing? Or is this what Jesus meant by telling us to die to ourselves and to live in Him? I am always feeling like I am starting over, but that is the important thing to “start over” over and over all the time. The more I do this the more and more it is becoming second nature. Part of this practicing the presence of God is to then do what I am hearing the Holy Spirit telling me to do. To live each moment as it were the only moment, totally living in the present. 3). Spending another time or two during the day to do centering prayer. “Do” centering prayer is not quite the right decription, to take time to be silent, and just be with Jesus. That is simply centering prayer. There is so much business in my life, I need this time to recenter. 4). Having a place to share in a small group with others. Becoming community with them and other believers. 5). Worshiping on Sundays. And cultivating a worshipful attitude and spirit all the time. 6). Looking for ways to give and to serve, just as Jesus has shown us. Any time we give or serve we are never in wrong. As long as we are not attached to the giving and serving.

Well have I written enough. I am a fellow struggler and we can all help each other in the journey to knowing Christ by sharing whatever we have found that is helpful in our walk with Jesus. I think remaining in a constant state of humility and need is the best way to go, totally dependent on the Holy Spirit. Those who have been forgiven much love much, (in the New Testament somewhere), but also in our experience. The more we can get in touch with our neediness and how deeply we are forgiven, then our love will increase and we will be closer to Christ.

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