For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.
– 1 Corinthians 15:9-11
“There is only one relationship that really matters, and that is your personal relationship to your personal Redeemer and Lord. If you maintain that at all costs, letting everything else go, God will fulfill His purpose through your life. One individual life may be of priceless value to God’s purposes, and yours may be that life.”
– Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Julie, of cookiecrumbstoliveby, talked of sounding like Popeye the other day, but maybe Popeye borrowed the line from the Apostle Paul.
In the Chambers devotion leading up to the quote above, Chambers is talking about Godly humility. He contrasts worldly humility to it. Godly humility is a confidence that God has forgiven us. God sees us without sin. We sin, but God only sees our new creation. Godly humility gives us confidence. We can become bold in His power.
Why is it humility? We did nothing to get there. We were born with a sin-nature. We do not deserve the gift, and the washing away of our sins was done by the blood of Jesus. So, here we are, being groomed to be just like Jesus (sometimes more efficiently than at other times), and we have done nothing on our own to claim it. It is Christ within us. As Paul says, ‘by grace’.
I always need that Grace, but sometimes I feel the need more than at other times. Sometimes when I sit down to write a post, there is nothing in my brain to write about. I ask the Holy Spirit to speak. He does, but He doesn’t tell me what to write. He tells me how He had been guiding me earlier in the day, when I was headstrong going in the wrong direction.
I am what I am.
But God can take that broken vessel, that cracked pot, and make something new. So, I scramble back to my feet and continue along the path. My first thought is guilt. My next thought is a quote from Jim Gallery, “When you strike out in anger, you might not hit the other person, but you always hit yourself.”
That quote could apply to a variety of ‘victimless’ sins, including wrong thought, that thought of doing something wrong. You harm no other person, but when you turn to the Holy Spirit afterward, who has been nudging you in the right direction the entire time, your mind (aided by the Devil) is telling you, “Oh, now you want to listen. Why not a half hour ago?” So, what do you do? You feel guilty some more. Instead of walking along the path of your journey of faith, your guilty feeling, when you had harmed no one but yourself, puts you in a pensive mood, like Adam and Eve who hid from God. You sit along the path rather than moving forward.
When I do that, I get writer’s block. I doubt if I am the only one. We cannot all be like Chambers seems to be in his writing. Chambers seems to be this example that is so far ahead of us on the trail of sanctification that we might not ever catch up.
But it is wrong to listen to the Devil twice on the same issue. You made a mistake. Your mind went down a wrong path at a moment of weakness, but do not let the Devil get a second victory by your feeling of guilt. Confess, repent, and turn your eyes toward Jesus. And while you are looking upon Him, ask Him for a Bible verse to quote the next time you are tempted. After all, doing the same thing again may lead to a defeated life.
Have you not heard from the Lord today? He’s not the one who is being mute. Turn to Him now. If you are bombarded with guilt because of all the distractions of the day, say this. “Satan, get lost. I may have not been listening until now, but now that I am listening, I am going to only listen to Him.” Remember, when you first accepted Jesus, you were forgiven and the Holy Spirit dwells within you. Now act boldly. Accept forgiveness. When you are behind at the starting gate, do as Paul says in the Scripture above, ‘work harder.’ But realize that it is not what you do. It is God working within you. Move forward, and don’t look back. Act, and think, like a Saint. All true believers are Saints.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.