I want to apologize if I’ve ever come across on the blog as super-spiritual or like I’ve got it all together. Because I’m not and I don’t.
I usually don’t write on the blog until I’ve processed things, until I’ve come out on the other side. So maybe I don’t do a good enough job of communicating the hard and weary road in the middle. I’m sorry if that has made it seem like I’m something I’m not.
Cause I’m messed up. I struggle with sin. I fail.
I need Jesus. I need the salvation that only comes through His life, death, burial, and resurrection. I need the Gospel.
And, as was all too clear today, I need to be reminded of the Gospel daily. I need it in front of me. I need to preach it to myself moment by moment.
But (and I’m about to get real honest here folks) what I usually preach to myself is far different. My thought life at times goes like this . . .
I think about something negative that others are probably thinking about me (but there is no one else in the conversation so it is really just the negative I think about myself). Then I’m beat down, ashamed, and defensive. So I naturally defend myself against this attack (defending myself to myself . . . I told you I’m messed up!). I remind myself of why I’m not so bad and bring to the front anything positive until I feel better about myself. Sick.
The main problem is that nothing in this scenario proclaims the Gospel.
Self-condemnation is not the Gospel.
Self-righteousness is not the Gospel.
I am hopeless apart from the grace of God in Christ . . . that is the Gospel! Jesus died on my behalf so that the condemnation of sin is no longer mine. He died so that my righteousness, that could never be enough, is not what secures my future or makes me a child of God.
Are you wondering where all of this confession is coming from? I’ll tell you where . . . World War III with my girl today!
Ava is sick (I hate you croup!) so I’ve spent $35 and the last 24 hours trying to get some medicine to help her not sound like a barking seal. The doctor for some reason thought that it would be possible to get a 4 year old to swallow 7 mL of a one dose medicine instead of giving us the three dose stuff that Grayson has taken just fine. Add to that the fact that the pharmacist failed to tell us that said medicine tasted like death so we didn’t even think of trying to have flavoring added. This resulted in a massive battle with our tip-lipped 27 pounder and EVERY. SINGLE. DROP. of that precious medicine being spit on the floor.
Now can you understand why I have been reminded today to preach the Gospel to myself? I need grace! I lost my mind during the drama, yelled at my sweet girl, and was as frustrated as I’ve been in a long time.
I spent this afternoon so grieved and ashamed at how quickly my flesh can rise up. Then I worshiped because I was fully aware of my need for forgiveness and so grateful that I’m already forgiven. The Gospel.
After prayers and tears, I sat down to read Hosea. I’ll begin teaching Hosea this week, but I just wanted to read . . . not for study or information, but with hope that God would whisper sweet words to my hurting heart.
I only made it to verse two. J
“When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea . . .”
Before God was going to use Hosea to proclaim His words to others, Hosea needed to understand the message himself. He needed to know the heart of God. He needed firsthand experience with love and grace.
And it’s still the same. As a follower of Christ, I’ve been given a mission to make disciples. But how could I ever expect someone to be overwhelmed by God’s grace if I’m not? How can I passionately share the great love of Jesus if I’m not gripped by it? How can I honestly speak to someone about their great need unless I’m keenly aware of my own?
I need to never believe I’m so different from those with whom I’m sharing the Gospel. No different in fact . . . needy, hopeless, a wreck . . . but for the grace of God. That heart knowledge brings compassion in proclamation . . . and you know our world could use a little more of that!
So although it has been draining day, I’m thankful for the reminder of my great need of grace. I’m humbled at the great price Jesus paid on my behalf. I’m grateful for the salvation that I could never deserve or earn. I have a fresh joy as I consider all that is mine in Christ. And I have a renewed desire to proclaim the good news that has transformed me.
Because the Gospel, when you’re brought face to face with it, begs to be shared.
So if you’re a mess like me and have no hope or peace other than what you can muster on your own, leave me a comment . . . I have something I’d love to share with you!
And if you’re a mess like me (cause we all are!), but do have hope in Jesus, then I pray that my rough day will serve as a reminder of the great grace, the moment by moment grace, that is yours in Christ!