Our souls bend toward a negative downward pull;
that feeling when you get up in the morning that you’re not quite cutting it, you’re missing important pieces, you’re just not what you should be. If we don’t shake ourselves and wake ourselves, we will continue bending
and descending into that way of thinking and welcoming “a thousand other shards of the curse…” as Russell Moore put it.
When the enemy of our souls catches us in those moments of self-disdain, we often, like Adam & Eve, submit to his taunts and give in to his rule when we are supposed to be ruling him; listening to
truth, stepping away from the accuser and toward the Creator.
The accuser convinces us we don’t deserve the gift of life, or love or joy. We refuse God’s grace, thinking we need to feel worthy or earn it. We fall prey to the accuser’s schemes when he doesn’t have a leg to stand on (that’s why he’s a serpent).
There are at least 2 ditches we can fall into here with regard to this incredible grace:
2 ways our soul likes to bend. (Ideas from Tim Keller’s book Prayer)
Ditch 1 = “Forgiveness can’t be free.” ->I have to earn God’s grace and mercy through how bad I feel about my sin or how good I can make myself. He can’t love me because of my sin. I have to change myself. (Wallowing in self, Unbelief, No heart change)
Ditch 2 = “O it doesn’t matter if I sin, God will forgive me.” ->Flippancy toward the infinite payment for my sin, prayers are trivial and not life changing, repentance is really self-pity. I justify, minimize my sin or blame. (No change of false beliefs or inordinate desires).
Think of a father giving a disobedient child that has been forgiven, a beautiful coveted gift, but the child refuses because he feels so bad about what he’d done. He doesn’t accept or believe his father’s forgiveness. (ditch 1)
Or think of the disobedient child knowing his father won’t disown him, acts entitled and does nothing of what the father asks, is self-serving and feels justified. (ditch 2)
How distressful for the father.
For those of us who lean toward ditch 1 – like Peter when he said to Jesus, “No, you won’t wash my feet” (I can’t let You see or touch my dirt) and Jesus says back “Then you have no part with Me…” John 13:8. Then Peter begs him to wash the rest of him too.
For those of us who lean toward ditch 2 – like the Corinthians who were still living only for this world and didn’t see the point of living a different life. 1 Cor. 3:1
“Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4
He leads us there to the place of being able to face ourself and let go of the thing that’s holding us back so we can receive from Him and be free. That’s cause for joy!
“…we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain…but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships…” 2 Cor. 6:1,4
So, we receive His grace not because we tidied ourselves up nor so that we can just live however we want. It’s a gift so we can walk in newness of life. Free to love and give and go through difficulties with purpose.
What have we not yet received or opened that the Father so painstakingly paid a high price for, because we don’t feel we deserve it? (ditch 1) or because we really want something else, like our own way? (ditch 2)
What do you need to do to get out of the ditch?