Yesterday I talked a bit about my crisis of faith, and feeling as if I had let down God. I wish that I was one of those people who just walked a path of faith that was straight and narrow with bright lights, and I never wavered. Apparently that’s not how I was made. Maybe you can relate. Maybe your relationship with God ebbs and flows. Sometimes you are overwhelmed with his love, and the certainty that you are loved by him. Sometimes all you can feel is darkness, and the weight of oppression pushing you down.
I promised yesterday that I would talk about the new insight God shared with me about my own feelings of guilt, and unworthiness. Would it surprise you if I told you it came from the introduction to the book of Job in my bible? If you are not familiar with the book of Job it goes something like this: God and Satan are having a discussion, and God invites Satan to “consider my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” Job 1:8 Satan suggests that Job is only faithful because God has blessed him so greatly. God then allows Satan to take everything from Job, first his family and wealth, and then eventually his health. Throughout much of the book Job believes God is punishing him unjustly for a sin(s) he has not committed and he angrily demands that God allow him to defend himself, but NEVER does he curse God as Satan suggests he will. At the end of the book Job faithfulness is rewarded, he is restored to health and everything he lost is given back to him, twice as much.
That was a long way of getting to my point. At the beginning of this book the following explanation is given “The relationship between God and man is not exclusive and closed. A third party intrudes, the great adversary. This adversary or tempter seeks to alienate man from God; as accuser (one of the names by which he is called, śatan means “accuser”) he seeks to alienate God from man. His all-consuming purpose is to drive an irremovable wedge between God and man, to effect an alienation that cannot be reconciled. Can you see why this explanation was EXACTLY the wisdom I needed to hear? When I “accuse” myself before God, when I tell myself I am not good enough or I’m not doing enough, I am doing the work of God’s adversary. I am allowing an “accusation” that I level at myself to drive a wedge between me and my Heavenly Father – to alienate me from God.
Now, pair that with Romans Chapter 7 which I also happened to be reading that day. In this chapter, Paul – the guy who wrote 14 of the 27 “chapters” or “books” of the New Testament – that same Paul who encountered the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus; Paul wrote this: “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.” Romans 7:18-19
THAT IS ME!!! I can’t tell you how many times I have felt that exact way, and if God’s hand-picked messenger Paul can feel this way, then I have hope. It was this that helped me to understand more fully, more clearly, more deeply the meaning of the gift that Jesus offers each and everyone of us. The gift that I needed to open my hand to accept…Freedom from condemnation. And in fact Paul states this very fact in the first verse of Chapter 8. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”
So there it is. I allow the great adversary, Satan, the devil, whatever you want to call him, into my life when I accuse myself before God. It is not God who is pulling away from me, but rather the very opposite, I am separating myself from Him. One of my favorite bible verses is 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
When we accuse ourselves we are acting in fear; fear of not being good enough, of not being loved. Whatever it is; that fear, that accusation you are directing at yourself – recognize that it is a wedge being used to separate you from God’s perfect love. A love that has no condemnation.
On Monday let’s talk about how this truth brought me back to blogging, and where I go from here. Today, I pray that God blesses you so that you may walk through your day free from fear, basking in the certainty and warmth of his perfect love.