Feeling like sharing my life tonight.
#loop #cinemagraph (Taken with Cinemagram)
Some outstanding music lately. Vampire Weekend for when I’m feeling happy, The National for when I wanna die, Fitz and the Tantrums for when I wanna dance, and Bibio for when I’m out of breath and ready to stop dancing. #instagrandom #nowplaying (at M&M’s House)
Monday can be a really challenging day for many people. First day of the new work week. First day after the weekend. First day back to “reality” after a Sunday filled with hopeful Christian fellowship and teaching. If we’re struggling with fear and guilt in our lives, the emotionally-inspiring sermon or pleasant conversation with a fellow believer can fade away very quickly by Monday morning, leaving us to confront what’s really in our hearts.
What fears and guilt are you carrying around with you right now?
We live in fear of displeasing God and not following His will; we hang on to the guilt and shame of past sins; we let an external, moral standard guide us rather than a relationship with God; and these are not only unhealthy for our Christian walk, they are an unbiblical way of thinking.
The message of the gospel of grace is a powerful antidote to this fear and guilt. Colossians 2:10 says we are “complete in Christ.” Romans 8:1-2 says that “there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,” and that we have been “made free from the law of sin and death,” which, in other words, means we are made free from the fear of sin and its harmful effects on us, and made free from the guilt that comes after we sin. Being complete in Christ, and without condemnation, means we are free to approach God as a Father rather than a judge, and receive His forgiveness rather than His punishment. (Romans 8:15) To these incredible truths, Paul concludes Romans chapter 8 by writing “If God is for us, who can be against us?” in verse 31, and noting that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” in verse 39.
—-> Clinging to grace helps remove our fears, because we know Christ has delivered us from death.
—-> Clinging to grace helps remove our guilt, because we know Christ’s work on the cross in our lives is complete, and God is always faithful to forgive.
—-> Clinging to grace helps remove our self-righteousness and pride, because we know that we, in and of ourselves, are not capable of maintaining the law or saving ourselves. (Romans 8:3, 4)
—-> Clinging to grace helps remove our discouragement, because we know God is working for good in the lives of those He has called and saved. (Romans 8:28-30)
—-> Clinging to grace helps remove our barriers from God and helps us truly appreciate Him, because it reminds us of how desperately we need Him, and how little He needs us.
Be encouraged this week to cling to this grace, and trust that He who did not spare His own Son for us will also freely give us all things, including the power to overcome the fear and guilt that we so easily give in to in our lives. (Romans 8:32)
True repentance seems to separate the real Christians from the faux Christians. It’s easy to say you believe in God and want to go to heaven, it’s another thing entirely to turn away in brokenhearted disgust from a sinful lifestyle. Despite the fact that our sin is just as bad as any criminal on TV we might shake our heads at, our desensitized society has created a warped fear of God that we unfortunately succumb to.
Joel provides a great look at what repentance should look like in the believer’s life.
“Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. - Joel 2:12, 13
True repentance is a realization of how bad our sin really is, a realignment of the desires of our heart, and a reunion with God because of His grace and mercy. We don’t repent because we are sorry we got caught, we don’t repent because we’re afraid of the awful things God will do to us if we don’t turn from our sin, and we don’t repent because it will make us holier. We repent because of the great offense it has caused our perfect God, and because we know He has been merciful to us despite our sin.
I’ve found so much selfishness, pride, and ungratefulness in my life, and I’ve found a lack of repentance to be a common thread among all three of those sins. I’ve never repented of my sin with the kind of fervor that Joel speaks of (fasting, weeping, and mourning), and maybe that’s a big part of my problem. I’ve been praying daily that not only will God show me the areas of sin in my life, but that He’ll help me to turn from it and hate it, because I know I can’t do it on my own.
(this is part of my chapel message for school tomorrow provided we don’t get the blizzard they’re forecasting…)
David gets a lot of praise, being called a man after God’s own heart. But he was really depressed a lot. Granted, I’d be depressed a lot too if people were constantly trying to kill me.
“How long, O Lord ? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.”
Psalm 13 would be really sad if it ended this way. But David resolves it with this:
“But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.”
These are the steps for David fighting his depression:
(1) Trust in God’s mercy. God had shown it before, He would show it again. And David knew he needed to trust in that.
(2) Rejoice in God’s salvation. David knew that God would save him, both presently from attackers and pursuers, as well as in the future from eternal judgment. And this was certainly worth rejoicing over.
(3) Praise God for his bountiful dealings. God doesn’t give us what we deserve. If we can’t be grateful and praise Him for that, we’ll never be satisfied.
This didn’t cure David of his depression, but it did resolve his present bout with it. And it displays a great example for us now.
My unhappiness almost always arises from focusing on circumstances rather than eternal promises. David was unhappy in his circumstances, but could rejoice in his eternal salvation in spite of it. What will it take for us to remove the paper tube from our vision and see the big picture?
Pray for this joy that only the Spirit can deliver to us.