Oh, Beth Moore. How I have always thought so highly of you. Beth was one of the women who was very influential in the years in which God first gave me a love for His Word. She is an incredible bible teacher, and the one time I met her I got so nervous that I raised the roof and said, “Amen” to a statement she made. Yes, it was as awkward as it sounds. The thing is, in those early years, my passion for the Lord was burning but my understanding of some pretty crucial truths was lacking. I think I assumed there was a level of spirituality; that there were the people who went to church on Sundays and then there were the Beth Moore’s of the world. While I certainly believe there is a huge difference in claiming Christ to be your Savior and choosing to make Him your Lord, I now know that God shows no favorites and while He rewards our faithfulness, my thinking of this whole level thing was skewed. Another reality that I was brought to was this: Everyone is human. Everyone is sinful. We all are saved only through grace and the more you get to know anyone, the more likely you are to see that sin in their life. That being said, this quote struck home with me today,
“You cannot amputate your history from your destiny, because that is redemption”.
There is such a tendency to cover up our imperfections; to hide the things that make us less than perfect. Between make-up, the art of selfies and all things social media, and sometimes the culture of the church if we are honest, it seems that so much around us encourages us to only display that which is good in us. Fact: the only thing that’s good in me is Jesus. Authenticity is uncomfortable and challenging to some people; it is life-giving to me because the more I get to know Jesus, the more I realize how much He has saved me from. There have been certain seasons of life where my sin might have been more on display than others, but every portion has been tainted by my flesh outside of the grace of Jesus Christ. Friends, our history might be dirty, guilt-scarred, and embarrassing, but we must never give in to the temptation of pretending it wasn’t there. Yes, as a Christian, you have handed your past over to Christ and you are a new creation. He sees us as pure and righteous and as Christ because He has chosen to do so; but while we are still on this side of heaven, let’s not spend our days trying to cover up the messes. Let’s see sin for what it is: death. Let’s not gloat in our brokenness; but let’s not shy away from allowing God to use it to bring others to Himself. Time and time again in the Bible, God used the grossness of people’s flesh to draw other people to His glory. Not everyone is called to write about their struggles, but we all have people around us who need to hear about the redemption God has brought us to. There is freedom in knowing we have an audience of One. We don’t have to cover up our past or present mistakes or misdoings because Christ covered those for us at the cross. And, you know what? We are all dysfunctional. We are all super messed up and without a Savior, we would be stuck that way. The message of the Gospel, this good news, is that we don’t have to walk around with signs on our foreheads stating our guilt. We can accept that guilt for what it is, hand it gratefully and humbly to Jesus, and continue seeking to let Him show us the way to true Life. Let’s not misunderstand this for a cop-out to not receive consequences for our sin; nor use it as an excuse to not allow the Lord to use the hard things in our life to display His glory. I am open with the sin in my life because through Christ, God gives me the freedom to do so. I pray to be more open with the fact that while the ugly in me is big, the God in me is bigger. Redemption.
So, what brokenness are you trying to hide that God wants to use to show Himself? What things in your life were you freed from that could be used to help others understand God’s love and grace all the more? What aspect of your family is painful and embarrassing, but was needed in order to allow you to understand who your true Father and family is? What is something that you continue to struggle and wrestle with but that you know God has already received victory over and you have come to know Him more through? My prayer for us this weekend is that we would not try to amputate our history from our present. That we would boast only in the Lord, but that we would be open to allowing Him to use all things and all seasons in order to show His goodness. Beauty from ashes. It is worth it. He is worth it.