Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Looking Past the Exterior

On Saturday, Lisa, Lydia and I hopped in the car and drove a little over an hour to spend the day at her grandparents' house to celebrate her grandmother's 80th birthday. This celebration wasn't just about the number of years her Grandma Ruth has been alive, even though each year is reason enough to celebrate. This was a celebration of the eighty years of a life lived in service to God and family. We had a great time spending the day watching Lydia bring smiles to everyone in attendance and enjoyed the conversation with family that we love.

Thinking about my short history with her Grandmother, I reflect back on the day I was driving to meet them for the first time. When I first met Grandma Ruth 6 years ago, I was rocking the full ZZ Top beard and long hair look and was a bit hesitant to meet Lisa's grandparents. I wasn't worried about what they would think of me after they had some time to get to know me, because my parents spent a lot of time and effort to raise me in such a way as to be respectful of my elders and to always treat women with the honor that they deserve. I'm thankful for that.

No, my trepidation was due to my fear that they might not be able to get past the exterior presentation to get to know the person I was on the inside. Thankfully, Lisa's grandparents (on both sides) accepted me immediately with open arms and welcomed me into their lives. It was a refreshing moment to realize that I was accepted as I was and not rejected because of what they could see.

I see a ton of parallels between my insecurity in that moment and the insecurity I have sometimes when I approach God for forgiveness. I feel as if what I have done is all that God can see and He won't be able to look beyond that ugly mess and connect with me as a person longing for His acceptance and love. I think it is hard for Christians to truly believe that what He has stated in Psalm 103 is actually true and trustworthy:
He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. Psalm 103:10-13
If I believe that God has not only forgiven me of my sin, but He has removed it from being able to be remembered, then why do I sometimes live as if God is waiting for me to reach a certain quota of sins and then He is going to remind me of all the times before I have failed in the same way? Could it be that I don't trust Him to fulfill this promise and Satan uses this unbelief as a foothold to bring doubt, distrust, unfaithfulness and sin into my life?

I love the fact that the content of verse 11 was written before the promise in verse 12. We are reminded of the fact that God's lovingkindness towards His children is greater than the distance between the heavens and the earth. It is out of this unrelenting love for us that God is able to cast our sin away and never recall it.

So, knowing what I know of God, and knowing that He cannot lie about His own character for He is Truth, there is nothing more for me to do than approach Him with humility, respect, honor and praise for not only forgiving me but for removing the memory of that sin altogether. Living in the knowledge that I am forgiven and that Jesus' blood covered all my sins, I should be able to approach God without hesitation or reluctance. When I find myself pausing before praying to God or feeling guilty for past sins that I have sought forgiveness of, I need to turn back to the Cross of Jesus Christ and recapture the wonder and glory of the fact that when I feel like I need to ask forgiveness again for the same sin and feel the need to pray for reconciliation with God, Jesus conquered those insecurities by stating "It is finished."

Hallelujah!

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