I’m a woman who walks in victory. I’m born-again, saved and definitely a new creation. I march onwards every day, taking Kingdom territory in God’s strength. I put on my armour, resist the devil and I hope in what is unseen. I do my best to keep my mind on what is good, noble and just. I think on heavenly things and keep my mind stayed on Him. I learn what it is to be content in all circumstances and I’m not surprised when trials come upon me. I don’t live in the pain of my past anymore and have received massive transformation of my heart. I’m gentler, softer and more loving than I ever knew was possible. I’m conscientious, caring, kind and count others more significant.
And, I really believe in the fact that I have been given right standing with God through Christ. I mean I believe it! I will not be convinced any other way. His blood has covered me. His grace over my life is indeed an ocean and I am overwhelmingly, thankfully, drowning in it.
I am all of those things and I am also…
Incredibly broken, full of weakness and beset with failures. I fall short every day. I muck up as soon as I get out of bed and I often let people down. I sometimes inadvertedly watch the wrong thing and stumble. I often say the wrong thing at the wrong time, in the wrong way. I stupidly sometimes allow my flesh to get the better of me, I still have areas of sins that I’m struggling with and I can be totally selfish instead of loving. I sometimes judge instead of being merciful, I can condemn instead of being gracious, I get irritated instead of being patient and I can definitely think I have the answer instead of simply loving by listening till the end.
And, no matter how much God has transformed my heart I can still suddenly have a ‘hard moment’. No matter how much I believe in who I am in Christ, I can still forget. No matter how much I trust God, I can still have moments of fear and doubt. Oh yes, there are days indeed, when the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!
This is the reality of who I am.
As a receiver of grace, a beautiful bride, a precious daughter and a committed disciple of Christ, I am not one or the other…I am BOTH!!
I am all of the things mentioned in the former paragraph because of my utter awareness of all that is mentioned in the latter! I have come to know, that ignorance is not bliss, as the world would have us believe…but that it is bondage!
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin”.
Three times Paul mentions the ‘sin that dwells within’. Paul did not shy away from that fact and neither should we. He did not hide it or deny it and I think you will agree, it definitely did not diminish his faith!
In fact, Paul boasted in it!…
“For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out”. v.18
“… Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong”. 2 Cor 12:9&10
To look at what dwells within us, is not a sin. To acknowledge the full complexity of our brokenness, weakness and failures is not a sin and it is not a lack of faith either. It is a gift from God! The world is in denial of these facts and the cover up is devastatingly leading them to hell.
Ignorance is not bliss…it is BONDAGE!!
To see clearly is the blessed gift of truth and it is only the truth which sets us free. It is a merciful gift to be able to lay our all before God and cry out… “Search me, and show me if there be any grievous way in me”. Of course, it is is true that we are new creations in Christ, that the old has passed away, that we’re dead to sin (the power and penalty of sin) but, along with that, like the mighty apostle Paul, we are beset with weaknesses and there is a sin that dwells within that cannot be ignored.
But, as one young lady in our community group said… “We just feel we can’t talk about that”.
How often are we rejected, scorned, or crushed by others because we dare to be honest about what we are contending with whilst being a lover of God? How often are we made to feel like we have no faith because we shared the fear and doubt which is having its way with us today? How pathetic are we made to feel when we go to someone, asking for help because that wound from the past – you know, the one you thought was dealt with – is haunting you all over again…and your sister or brother just tells you ‘in love’ to get over it?!! How often, have we not had our pain or our struggles, our doubts or our fears listened to and acknowledged, but instead had them brushed over with a quick fix ‘spiritual’ answer?
How often has that happened to you and sadly, how often have you been that person to another? I know I have experienced and been both.
We have grown afraid to be victory and weakness; faith and failure, mistakenly believing that we can’t be both. We are afraid to be real in the face of criticism or lack of sympathy. Christianity is often played out too harshly. We fail to see, when reading Gods word, the depth of brokenness of the characters which He used to bring the Good News in the first place. They were not perfect people. They did not live struggle free perfect lives. They dealt with sin and weakness all the time. Peter denied Christ. Paul said he ‘does what he does not want to do’ and was given a thorn in the flesh to prevent him from becoming conceited (which must have been lurking round the corner!) And as for doubting Thomas…well…it took Jesus to shove His wounds in the brothers face for him to believe. They were not a group of perfect people, they were a group of forgiven people.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin”. Hebrews 4:15
Jesus came and took on the form of a servant, He was tempted in every way, so that when He stood in the gap for us, He would understand all that we were going through. He isn’t a lofty God, abstract and detached from reality. He doesn’t look at us and go “Oh my gosh, you’re dealing with that!!” Let His way, be our way!…towards ourselves and towards each other.
Walking in victory is not the absence of our weakness, our frailty or the sin that dwells within…it is in fact those very things that escort us into total dependency on God. They are the blessed vehicles that draw us into deeper humility and the vessels used to display the Glory of God!!
Paul’s story doesn’t end at the acknowledgement of what lied within, and neither does ours. It always concludes with a “Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ!” Paul was not condemned by the sin that dwelt within or the weakness of his flesh…
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” Roms 8:1
But it starts with us first not shying away from all that we are or from all that your neighbour is. Contrary to what you may have believed, ignorance (the lack of knowledge) of what lies within, will only ever keep you from walking in full victory. You will never understand the fullness of what Christ has done for you, unless you know the fullness of what He has, and is, saving you from.
So hide no longer dear friend and don’t encourage another to either! Our Father knows everything. He knows exactly when we fluff up, He knows the motive of our heart and He knows the word we’re going to speak the very next time we open our mouths. He knows what you struggle with and what wound causes you your greatest distress. Though He is doing a work on your heart to bring them it line with His love, He loves and accepts you just as you are right now. You cannot separate who you are, God doesn’t and He doesn’t expects you to either.
He accepts you fully and His power is made perfect in your weakness, so let it be so. Stop trying to hide it and stop listening to those who are perhaps encouraging you to hide it, or, who are brushing over your pain…Perhaps you have a thing or two to bless them with, in your honesty?
Be real, be honest, be boastful…of what it is you truly contend with in your walk with God, so that He can be given ALL the glory.
Allow God to crawl down and be with you in the darkest places of your soul, character and actions and see just how quickly He will turn your greatest failure into His greatest success!
It takes real bravery to ask God to show you. It takes courage. It’s also uncomfortable, sometimes painful and mostly just darn ugly but…you get freedom no other way.
At the end of Psalm 139, being shown if any grievous way be in you, is unfortunately the prerequisite to being led on the way everlasting! Awareness of the sin that dwells within only ever frees you, it does not condemn you!
Our loving Father spent so much time in Psalm 139 laying a foundation of verses to tell us that He knows everything about us so that when it came to us taking a good look at ourselves, we could do it with confidence. His eyes saw our unformed substance. He doesn’t condemn us for who we are…so let’s not condemn ourselves or another.
It’s not a coincidence that in this earthly life, the ultimate gesture of feeling free in oneself, is to run naked, arms wailing in the air, squeals of delight pouring forth. A bit like this…
credit to the Guardian.com
So run…run naked!
Yes…run naked before your God, before yourself and before others. Hide no more, but embrace all that you are, so that you can accept all that He has done for you on the Cross. Run naked and embrace your ‘wobbly bits’/‘ugly bits’/‘broken bits’, knowing that those same things that others scorn you for, are the very things that will glorify Him when He empowers you to overcome what is humanly impossible.
“And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account”. 2 Cor 5:3
“And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed”. Gen 2:25