When your heart is not in it, the motivation is gone, what do you do? You push through. My relationship with God is not based upon what I feel, God’s presence is here because of Jesus Christ.
Here I am. In my bedroom littered with all of my belongings I have accumulated over these five years. A large red bin sits on the black suitcase I live out of, work out clothes folded on two towels, and my natural hair products are clustered together on my mother’s sewing table. My room is tiny but my dreams are big. Yesterday was a disaster. But today, this morning and last night I wanted quiet time and intimacy with the Father. I miss Him. I miss God. I miss His face, and His voice.
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit had me pause. He made me stop. Almost a half a year ago, while I was at Michigan State University, during my internship year, I received a devotional Tuesday night, at the end of JFC. Just for Christ is an on campus bible ministry I am apart of, and a Deacon from our church was handing out devotional books. I was gifted one in particular, titled a Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Although I began reading the book and it spoke to my heart–I stopped reading it. I knew my intentions or heart for reading was not right at the time, and I wanted to wait until my motivations were pure. I knew once I was by myself away from another person I loved. It’d be time. The Holy Spirit also knew as well. He knows my heart and when I needed something and when I didn’t. As I am home now
There is such a warmness, a heart beat I sense whenever I think about God and Who He Is. How can someone be so magnificent? So majestic. This God is not ordinary but extraordinary. My God is amazing. With a flick of His wrist He created the vast blue seas and oceans, a stroke of His arm, He sliced and divided the oceans from the skies. A single word spoken and light shattered the darkness, breaking and changing the course of time forever. That day, marked the day of creation. This very God, who the Bible says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” (Psalms 19:1-2) This God who is so powerful! He is the Most High God, the Creator of all Things. El Elyon, how can God be so personal, so intimate, and so loving? It boggles my mind.
This very God loves me. This very God pursues me, and wants to be in a relationship with me. My yesterday was terrible. My heart unreachable but this God adores me. I kept thinking this morning: I have to make it right! I have to make it right! I asked God for forgiveness of my sins last night, I wrote out my prayer and with the utmost sincerity I meant every word of my confession. I did not want the sin I committed to sabotage my relationship with my Holy Father. I repented. And yet my heart still felt stretched, my heart was being pulled like trash bag, the lining and skin of my heart growing thinner and thinner. I didn’t realize I was empting so much garbage, so many memories of pain and discouragement from friends; I didn’t realize I was throwing away feelings of regret into my soul; I smelled a stench but I did not know where it was coming from.
It was not until the Holy Spirit had me pause and read the first chapter, of Francis Chan’s Crazy Love that tears were brought to my eyes. God still wanted me. Yes my intentions were pure, my motivation to seek God was true, but my movements were slowed because I was doing it out of regret and guilt. I was striving to seek God this morning because I believed I owed Him something. And it is true I owe God everything. But God want’s a relationship not a guilt-ship. Through Francis Chan’s words, I heard God speak.
“18 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. 19 You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:18-19)
The Lord God has forgiven me. He has turned His face toward me and smiled on me. Why? Because Christ Jesus paid the penalty of my sins, His blood was shed and covered my sins, thereby I am justified in the presence of the Father. No amount of my guilt or regret was added to Christ’s crucifixion, me feeling bad does not make God forgive me anymore than what He already has. God forgives me because of what Christ has done. The penalty of my sins are paid. Period.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,[a]who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
The math has been added up. The sum has been totaled all of my debts have been paid, thanks to the Lord Jesus. I am in Christ Jesus. I accepted Jesus into my life, believing He was crucified, buried, and then arose from the dead on the third day. I am not condemned because I have placed my faith in Jesus to save me, and He has done what He has promised. “I do not walk according to the flesh,” I am not bound to my sin nature, to my flesh. I live not for myself, to produce fruits of the flesh. Through Christ Jesus I am brought under a new law, the law of the Spirit, where I have been made free. Free from fear. Free from doubt. Free from anxiety. These emotions are in accordance to the flesh but Jesus has crucified the flesh and has set me free.
So if I am feeling condemned, guilty, as if I have lost my relationship with God forever, because of one sin, Christ has already died for, then I know the Enemy, the Accuser is at work. Satan works day and night to make us feel as if we’re chained to the “law of sin and death.” He wants us to feel imprisoned, oppressed by our flesh, and guilty. Satan wants us to have legalistic faith, the kind where we must strive to do good works, instead of letting them flow out of our genuine love for God. He wants us to get so caught up in what we have to do, that we forget the perfect, complete work Christ has done on the cross.
O what a liar he is! The wonderful part is no matter how many lies Satan tells to God or us, those lies are powerless against the truth. The truth breaking through the dark clouds hanging over my soul.
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;” (Romans 4:7)
I am forgiven. I am redeemed. Now I shall walk by faith, believing God has forgiven me, and that my sins are in the past. Not counting on my emotions as an indication that God has forgiven me, I am using my faith and making a deposit. Refusing to look back because it takes the joy from today, Satan’s condemnation will only receive a closed door in my life. There is too much to celebrate. I am blessed beyond comparison. Because it is true, the Father forgives me, and I am free of condemnation to live for Christ Jesus.