Monday, September 28, 2009
You are so very good to me! I am amazed at how you meet my every need, even those I have not asked for yet! I was lying in bed this morning, waiting for my alarm to go off to tell me it's time to get up, when I felt so much guilt come pouring over my thoughts. I am such a sinner, I thought, I did not do this and I should have done that and instead I did this knowing full well I should have done that! Oh Lord, I cried, when will I be better? When will I do what You ask instead of what I feel like doing? Suddenly, I felt down and condemned, I started recalling other times of similar failures, other weaknesses, how could He even use me or my life? I must be in great delusion, or else I am just so wicked I do not care.
Now all this went through my thoughts with barely any recognition of them. What I mean is I knew I thought them, but these kinds of thoughts are more like background noise, however that's what makes them so dangerous! I barely acknowledged them intellectually, however, negative emotions began filling my soul, and feelings of self-disgust were evoking discouraging emotions, with barely any intellectual acknowledgment; all this before my feet had even hit the ground! How vicious my enemy is, lying in wait to fill my thoughts while they're still murky with sleep, catching me unaware and off guard, allowing myself to be led down his path and fall head first into his trap!
Feeling depressed, I got my coffee, trudged into my study, and briefly thought of skipping my devotional time and going straight to work. But because I already felt so guilty, I decided to read the Word (as a penance, I suppose for being such a sinner!). Immediately the Lord takes me to this:
And through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience.
I'm feeling the "wow moment" now, stunned by His intimate provision, but He doesn't stop there He leads me on...
"But my righteous ones will live by faith. And I will take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back". But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who are too strong for me…but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because He delighted in me.
Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith, and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. You see that people are justified by what they do and not with faith alone.
(James is countering the "I don't have to do anything other than 'talk like I'm a believer because I am saved by grace' philosophy which goes on. Also wanted to point this out because this verse gets confused in a legalistic way and it's not about "works", notice that Abraham was not fulfilling the law by putting his son Isaac on the altar to sacrifice him, i.e. "Thou shall not commit murder", Abraham was acting in faith + deeds, the action and the faith together is what James is talking about i.e. I didn't want to spend time with the Lord, but I know that the Word is where my source of life is (faith) and so I opened my Word and read (deed).
Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by observing the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
Abraham believed the Lord, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Clearly, no one is justified before God by the law, because "the righteous will live by faith." the law is not based on faith, on the contrary, it says, "Whoever does these things will live by them."
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law, but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law (serving God, believing His Word), but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Praise be to the Lord for You are good, oh so very good.