Saturday, April 25, 2009

In Christ Alone, I Stand

Two weeks ago we celebrated Good Friday, the day that the Lord went to the Cross in order that we may be saved. The week leading to Good Friday, often referred to as Holy Week, I reflected on the sacrifice and what it meant in my life, but also in the lives of all believers. While it was a sad day, it was an amazing day, because we are free. Free from the bondage of sin, and free to live for Christ. By His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5) and because of what He did for us, we belong to Him (1 John 3:1). This is especially a lovely time because 11 years ago I was saved; at the Saturday night service before Easter Sunday in 1998. As I looked back at my life and where God has brought me since then, all I can do is fall on my knees and weep, because He saved me when I wasn’t worthy of being saved.

I know who I am in Christ, and I know what He has called me to do, follow Him. Whole heartedly, unashamedly, wholly belong to Him, it's what He calls us all to do (Matthew 16:24). I am not sorry for who I am in Christ, I am not sorry for who He has made me, and I am not sorry for the life He has given me. At times I am saddened, because it feels like some of the people closest to me are sorry for the person the Lord has made me. One of the most difficult things to face is the feelings that people who are close to me have no idea who I am or what is in my heart. It may be hard to see that when I talk about the things in His Word, it is because He has put those words there and because my heart wants to see His best in those lives, just as He wants to see His best.

Sometimes as believers we are fervent in the Lord and what we know of His word and we can get overzealous and come across overbearing. But if you spend time with a true follower of Christ then you will see where their heart comes from. Our hearts are not standing in a place of judgment; our intent is not to force our faith on everyone. We do not purpose in our hearts to hurt others, it is a fervent desire to not only see people come to Christ for Salvation, but then return the love that He gives us by living FOR Him ALL of the time. God does not seek halfway Christians; He wants ALL of us ALL of the time. He doesn't want us on Sundays, or before meals, or here and there, or when it is convenient to call ourselves Christians. He wants every minute of our life to be fully, wholly dedicated to Him. If people cannot live that way for Him, then they need to reconsider SAYING they belong to Him because if in our lives He is not Lord of ALL, then He is NOT LORD AT ALL. (Revelation 3:15-16)

There was a time I walked away from the church, and there were many people praying for me to return, and it was only a matter of time before I did. When I returned I gave my life to God, laid it on His alter and told Him that whatever He thought was best, I would be obedient. He took my life with a vengeance and has spent the last several years feeding me, molding me, shaping me, and turning me into the woman that stands here today. Sometimes it seems like those around us want us to be a Christian, but not TOO Christian. They want us to walk with God, but not TOO close, they want to see us witness to others, but not to them. I often wonder if the same words I speak to someone had been told to the same person by a Pastor or an elder with more years of faith if they would be taken any different. We all stand as equals before the Lord, and really in all of our lives, the purpose is to work for His Kingdom to bring as many people to Him as possible, and to encourage those who are believers to a stronger walk with Him.

I have finally landed in a place of comfort and peace in the Lord. I cannot change who I am and I wouldn’t want to. For anyone to ask me to be any different would be like asking me to be who I am not. His words, His life, His passion is so ingrained in me that I don't know any other way to live. I am still a sinner, unclean, and any righteousness I think I have is like filthy rags before Him (Isaiah 64:6), but I can never turn away from who He has made me and who He is continuing to mold me to be. I don't know any other way to live at this point. It would be like asking me to go back to being overweight, it's not who I am, it's not who I want to be, and it's not healthy for me.

I pray for those who often feel a little misunderstood that those who misunderstand can someday truly see who we are in Christ, who He has made us to be and where our hearts lie; with Him alone.

On Good Friday, my heart was heavy, yet uplifted. There were times that I quietly wept in my office because of His love. My heart was heavy because of the fact that God had to die on a cross for me because I am so bad; uplifted because I know He chose to do it because He loves us so much. On that day, it was beautiful to stand with my fellow co-laborers in Christ knowing that I am exactly where God has called me to be. I KNOW without a doubt, no second thoughts, no looking back, that I am 100% in His will for my life, and here I will stand until He moves me.

Living for Him (because I know no other way),