In your deepest darkest spaces, would you be brave enough to say, “hey God, I did this and would you change me so I don’t do it again?” Would you be bold enough to declare God’s goodness to you in spite of yourself? David was, over and over in the Psalms. He is our example of vulnerability with abandon.
I have been learning a lot about intimacy lately. I think King David is an amazing example of intimacy with God. He poured out his whole self before the Lord. His whole life was dedicated to God. This is why he is called the man after God’s own heart.
Two weeks ago I saw a documentary called Heart of a Man. It was amazing. I learned a lot. I came out of it wanting to hold nothing back anymore. The consequences of withholding are too great. The consequences of shame hurt so many people. Intimacy is a requirement for a free life. When we fail to be fully known, shame moves in and takes takes it’s toll.
I love Psalm 51 because this is David RUNNING to God. Confessing and receiving forgiveness. He knew God’s goodness, he didn’t want to hide, he wanted redemption. He was desperate to be changed. Don’t be afraid of this place, this is where God can truly do His handiwork.
Have you ever thought you needed a heart transplant? Like you can’t believe you just thought or said that… Someone else would say it but never you? Our hearts carry who we really are deep down inside. Our hearts store up our negative thoughts and our positive thoughts. We aren’t conscious of this until we see, from God’s perspective, the true condition of what is in us. Without a new heart, we can’t hear God and we can’t see ourselves clearly.
So if we are born again, why would we need a new heart? Wouldn’t that be a given? Yes and no. God can’t have access to us without a new heart. We can’t truly change without seeing ourselves from His point of view. A new heart, a spiritual heart, is necessary for a new life.
What happens when we have a new heart? We can receive the Word of God for our lives. We can be taught self – discipline by the Holy Spirit. It gives us Godly compassion for others. A sensitive heart creates change in us to produce change outside of us. Vulnerability comes more naturally.
Ezekiel 11:19 is God’s promise to give us a new heart and the Holy Spirit. This is long before Jesus arrives on scene but it is an important promise. It is the promise of a restored relationship with God and a promise of the restored original design of humanity. We are supposed to be sensitive! God’s true heart is supposed to live in us.
Do you love this kid or what? I had to use this photo. He is living with abandon. Trusting he is going to land safely.
You don’t see The Message version of this scripture very often but I love how it says “in the One who makes me who I am.” I hope I have done a good job of showing you who makes us who we are, why and how. That is the goal of I’m Made New.
I think I have said this before, maybe more than once, we have a life to enjoy. We have humanity to serve. It is important to know who we are and trust that it cannot be changed, no matter our circumstances. We need to believe that we have a God who accepts us, makes us secure, and believes we are significant.
Our identity in Christ is our confidence to carry out the enjoyment and purpose of life on earth. What God says about us is truth, it is what we rely on when the world around us tells us otherwise.
Do you struggle with the same negative issues in your life? Does it seem like change for good is elusive? Even after great blessing, there can be a time where it seems like things stay the same. But God promises, we will be perfected.
Christianity has a different perspective on life change. We have been forever changed and are constantly being changed. As we pursue relationship with Jesus, we are shown a new way to live. It happens over time and with the prodding of the Holy Spirit. Completion of the changing power of God is promised to us. When are we perfected? When we meet the Lord face to face.
It is God who works in us to will and to work toward change, not us. We can’t do anything on our own. It is the opposite of the way we are taught to live in the world. Self reliance is our enemy. Dependence on God is our joy, the promise of change for good.
God is perfecting you. You are growing and changing as you live out your days. When it seems like it is all the same, remember God is perfecting you, you need only to be open for it to happen. Remember the things that have changed in your life. Ask God to continue His work in you. Thank Him that He is doing it. Regardless if you feel or see it. Change is coming, keep moving forward.
Have you ever been afraid to step out in faith? Are you concerned you will fail? I know those feelings all to well. Romans 8:28 is our assurance that even if things don’t go as planned, He will work it out for our good.
We can have confidence in our God with regard to this promise. Why? Because God is deeply concerned about us, about our well being. Our God is a good Dad, He really does care about our lives!
We are called to live our life by faith. Our faith pleases God. He wants us to be assured that when He gives us something to do, we do it with the confidence that if it didn’t go well, He will love us the same and use it for His glory.
Romans 8:28 falls under the security portion of who we are in Christ. Knowing God works all things together for our good gives us the confidence to step out in faith to fulfill our purpose and His plan for our lives.
Be faithful and bold knowing God is on your side.
Have you ever struggled with self acceptance? Or being accepted by your peer group? I confess that I have struggled with this, even as an adult. I gave it the power to define who I am.
When I learned that I had a new identity, an identity in Christ, I could see that I had already been accepted. It was like Father God had taken his hand, lifted my chin, looked into my eyes and said “I choose you.” For the first time in my life, I felt special.
Others don’t always accept me, God does. Always. We know we are accepted because God chooses us, making us part of His family. When we believe in Christ we get a new life and a new family.
Have you seen the video floating around about the little girl finding out she has been adopted? It is really cool, total tear jerker! This is in the story of every believer. God chooses us to be a part of His family. It happens they day we believe in Christ. We are in His forever family.
The Message Bible says: “Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.”
Ephesians 1:4-6 MSG
God took pleasure in planning for you to be His kid. Amazing!
Have you ever wanted to be a kid again? One of the Pastors at our church calls the congregation God’s kids. And so we are…His kids. We are the children of God.
Are you curious about this statement from scripture? I was. When I went digging for meaning, I found some strong words. Child of God is our entitled position. We have the authority and privilege to call ourselves children of God. All because we put our trust in Jesus.
The Message Bible says that becoming a child of God makes us our true selves. A child of God is who we were created to be before Eve ate from the wrong tree. We were always meant to be God’s kids.
There is a stipulation to this: believe in Jesus. The Message Bible says “But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves.” Believing in Jesus entitles us to the position and authority to be children of God. Welcome to eternal childhood!
Have you ever felt repulsed by your old life? One of my favorite TV shows was Friends, a popular sitcom in the mid-1990s – 2000s. I was very engaged in the Ross and Rachel saga. Ah…the good ol’ days, or, maybe not. A couple of years after I met Jesus, I sat down to watch an episode. My anticipation turned to discomfort when the sexual innuendo spoke louder than the comedy. My eyes were open wide. The ways of the world stood out like gaping wounds. Watching Friends was like going back to an old life that didn’t fit anymore.
After I received Christ into my life, I saw my sin. I felt like God put it out in front of me like a feast that had turned sour. It made me feel great shame, therefore, I felt unworthy. Instead of experiencing promised freedom, I was in condemnation. I couldn’t see the free gift of grace that God had offered. Ephesians 2:8 (NLT) says, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” Living condemned was returning God’s free gift of grace.
The truth is that God doesn’t show us our sin to shame us. We see our sin because we come alive. There is supposed to be a difference between the old and the new. The good thing is that the old has passed away and the new has come. Believing we are unworthy is saying that our past is not worthy to be forgiven. In that place, we live in dead skin. God never calls us unworthy. He says something completely different, “This is how much I love you, I gave my Son, my one and only Son. So that you would not be destroyed, by believing in Him you can have a whole and lasting life.” (John 3:16 MSG, personalized) God’s interest in salvation is not that we are worthy, it is that He loves us.
Unworthiness hinders our promised restoration. We all come to Jesus broken, it is his promise that we will be restored. That starts with the act of dying and being reborn. It continues over our lifetime. Believing the totality of God’s forgiveness can be challenging. Many of us have never experienced total and complete forgiveness from anyone. Sometimes we need help processing the past to receive the future. In my situation, I had to go into counseling. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. In the meantime, let the Word of God permeate your heart. 2 Corinthinans 5:14-15 says, “Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own. It goes on saying, God gave us a “fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins.” (v19) Salvation is your fresh start. “The old life is gone; a new life burgeons.” (v.17)
Is it hard to believe that you are fully forgiven? It was for me. I thought the disaster of my life without God was too much to forgive. I felt unworthy of God’s free gift. But God saved me by his grace. I did nothing that said I was worthy. He said I was worthy, by the fact that He loves me.
Unworthiness is a hindrance to our restoration. Accepting God’s gift of grace, with joy puts us on the path of new life. Receive His love and forgivness with great joy. You are forgiven! You have a new life!
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. (John 3:16-18 MSG)
Wait…don’t roll your eyes. I know you’ve seen it before. It isn’t just a book, chapter and verse. It has great meaning! Would you give me a minute to explain this scripture?
It goes on to say… “And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. John 3:16-18 MSG
John 3:16 matters. God paid a high price. He sacrificed the only man that was truly good. He did it in exchange for us, who are less than perfect. But God forgives us, fully and completely. We get a new life because good was sacrificed for bad. Jesus died so that the bad is remembered no more.
John 3:16 reminds me of the lyrics of one of my favorite songs. “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow…Oh praise the one who paid my debt, and raised this life up from the dead.” It wasn’t that we were worthy, it was that God wanted relationship with His creation…US. This is what it means when you hear the phrase, it is not about what you have done but what He has done. We have a new life so that we can have the same relationship Jesus had with God.