One of the most thought provoking sentences I’ve read this year leapt out of a page of the devotional book my mother-in-love bought me last Christmas:
‘Honest souls know what’s inside of them. They alone can showcase a Saviour’
(Chris Tiegreen )
Someone has wisely said that we need to be honest with ourselves before we can be honest with God.
Honestly, what really lies inside us?
Truthfully, what lies deep inside us is much darker than sugar and spice or even slugs and snails suggested in rhymes.
Augusten Burroughs wrote ‘I myself am made entirely of flaws stitched together with good intentions’
When I look within myself I can clearly see an obvious bias toward selfish ways, bad attitudes & cold indifference. ‘Old fashioned’ sin that is as common as ever.
For the Bible says, ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23 NIV)
We humans all bear damaged souls & broken beauty. We fall short of what we are created to be .
Built into each of us is tremendous capacity for both good & evil.There’s a mix of fears, failures & faults. The hope of all we long to be versus the truth of who we are (as Casting Crowns aptly put it)
We as humans fall painfully short of our own expectations, let alone God’s.
Paul wrote ‘I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.'(Romans 7:15 NIV)
‘Sometimes the most impossible person to live with is yourself,’ wrote Ann Voskamp, ‘Our hands are so stained with sin, that even our best works can leave traces of dirty prints’
She echoes words written by a prophet thousands of years ago: ‘All our righteous acts are like filthy rags’ (Isaiah 64:6 NIV)
But the great news is this, that between then & now, at the very crux of history, Jesus came to earth to deal with our dirty rags of sin within:
‘For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.’(Titus 2:11 NIV)
‘But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.’ (Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV)
And,’Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1 NIV)
If we trust in Jesus, His glorious grace shines within us , dispelling the grip of sin:
‘For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.’
(2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV)
‘In the presence of light you see darkness.
In the presence of power you see weakness.
In the presence of beauty you see ugliness.
In the presence of God you see your need for grace’
And asking for God’s grace within us can totally transform us!
‘We know what we are but not what we may be’ (William Shakespeare)
‘He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,’ (2 Timothy 1:9 NIV)
For the amazing truth is that God knows exactly what lies inside us-
& yet He still loves us!
He sees our sin & has sent a Saviour
He sees our problems & our potential
He knows our mistakes & our mission
And because of His grace, our sins are:
His grace inside us:
redeems our life
releases us from fear
& illuminates our path
When we focus on
the grace & mercy of God the Father poured within our lives,
the sacrificial love of God the Son,
& the light & power of God the Spirit,
‘What lies behind us & what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us’ (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
‘We’re far worse than we ever imagined, & far more loved than we could ever dream’ (Tim Keller)
‘In your greatest moment you are never more than a sinner who has been embraced by the mercy & love of God & forgiven at the expense of the death of His Son.
In your most broken times you are never less than a daughter of the King, a chosen child of the Father & an inheritor of every blessing in Christ’
(Valerie Murphy -Focusfest 2011)
If you’re like me, you might want to read those quotes again slowly, to inhale the audacious truth, then exhale grateful thanks to our Good, Good Father God.