“If you ever do ANYTHING because of ANY sin you’ve ever committed, Christ has become worthless in your life.”
This last Sunday morning, my whole world was rocked in a time span of about fifty minutes. As if our corporate worship time wasn’t compelling and intimate enough, it was as though Jesus Himself was standing up there behind the podium, declaring truths to the lies of the Christian life. Statement after statement, my little fingers could barely keep up taking notes and after awhile I gave in and began solely listening to every golden drop of honey that Scott was verbalizing. (listen here)
The title of his teaching? “Christ Crucified”
This teaching began quite the thinking process in my little heart. There has been so much FROM it that I keep going back to and not only is that the mark of a good teaching, but also it’s a clear indicator of truth straight from the heart of God Himself.
“Self-pity will destroy you.
You have to get your eyes off of yourself and whatever you’ve done, and put your eyes and mind on Christ.”
“Sometimes we say we’re sorry to Jesus then we sin next week and we’re worried about it!”
and the BIG clincher that completely bowled me over and knocked me flat on my back:
“When you face your sin, what is the first thought you have: What you SHOULD have done, or that Jesus Christ died for that sin?”
Seriously. I had to examine myself…and what I found was exactly what the church in Galatians was struggling with. What did Paul write to them to show them their fault? Something encouraging? Something sweet? No!
“Oh foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” [Galatians 3:1 ESV] This wasn’t a problem that new believers were having either, oh no…Paul was writing to people who were already in the faith for some time.
If you listen to the full teaching online that Scott Goodwill did on Sunday, you will get more of a glimpse into just how earth-shatteringly important it is to understand and grasp this. I’ve been a Christian since I was 8 years old and as someone who has been in Christian circles her whole life, experienced most of what can be expected, I can tell you that this is something that is vital to walking with God. I know for myself, personally, it has been a very huge struggle in the past year to realize that I don’t know anything, that I am just a baby Christian starting off. All too often I say things to myself like “wow I really should be past this by now” or “how am I STILL struggling with this sin issue??” and the thing is, I’m not looking at God’s time-table, I’m creating my own. How and what God wants to develop in me is set by Him and Him alone, there is NO possible way for me to measure my progress than day by day knowing Christ and Him crucified.
Now, I know there are some people reading this, (and many people I know who may not ever read this) who work to achieve, who struggle with the sin of works….and believe me, I can completely honestly say that I have been there. My whole academic career in school was like that and my life reflected it. If I was not achieving something, making myself better than someone else to prove that I could, if I wasn’t scoring perfect scores (never mind what was realistic)… I wasn’t happy. And then.. I went to college. While I was in the 2nd semester of my first year I ended up failing my trigonometry class from something that was completely out of my control. At that time in my life, this one thing caused me to completely spiral out of control, sink into a season of depression that reached new depths beyond anything I’d known before… I refused to go back to school and I began working full-time between two retail jobs to keep my mind and my body busy so that I could not dwell on my failure. Eventually God worked that out of me and while I still love to excel and do *my* best, I no longer need to be THE best…and that is huge. Lately this whole experience has been on my mind since this teaching happened and various other events in my life have unfolded.
So…to my main question, what of grace?
How can we live everyday in a fallen world, with a sinful flesh attached to us that constantly tries to pull us down, all while the Enemy is seeking to steal, kill and destroy us [John 10:10 ESV]?
I think the answer lies in a statement Scott made in his teaching, one that the other elders have stated and declared multiple times in the past…one that I am only really just beginning to grasp and take hold of in my life:
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (NLT)
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (ESV)
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (NIV 1984)
‘Come boldly to the throne of grace in times of need”
I don’t know about you…but that’s a constant daily need for me in my life…
and that is okay with me. I would much rather enter boldly before the One who knows me
so intimately that He can count the very hairs on my head, than try to do it in my own strength.