At the C3 conference in February, Steve Furtick of Elevation Church said this, “God doesn’t see dead situations the way you do. He sees the opportunity to ressurect.” I know in living this life of accountability sometimes we get caught up in how terrible we are, but aren’t then caused to look at the cross with an overwhelming thanks for the grace of God. We say, “Jesus, I let you down again!” and then forget why He came. We throw out the free gift of grace as if Jesus’ entire investment in us was supposed to be earned through the course of our lives and He didn’t know when He made us and drew us to Himself that we would let him down. As if He gives us a high five every time we don’t have a sip of our friend’s birthday margarita and chains Himself to His throne and needs a Kleenex every time we watch an episode of True Blood. Jesus is probably up there interceding for us like this, “God, can Joe finally accept the present I gave him when we met because this whole act where he is scared to tell his friends and Pastor about his Olivia Munn obsession and then looks at her Playboy spread again and cries about it after is getting old. I wish he was more concerned with accepting My grace than the approval of his peers so he could be accountable to someone and be able to move on.”
*I’m not saying by accepting grace it’s okay to sin. I’m saying receive God’s grace and move on from your sin. You are a new creation in Christ Jesus. A son or daughter of the living God. Walk in that freedom!
When Michael Franzese came to speak at House Of Praise this weekend (you can find the whole message here ), he made the statement, “If God didn’t use sinners he’d have nobody to use!” AND IT’S TRUE! Yes, we have to repent and move on and listen to God when he tells us to go one way or another but we MUST ALSO rejoice in how good God is to redeem us and STILL call us righteous just for following Him.
And when it comes to judgment: I can be just as religious as the more liturgical denominations I have judged. God is showing me His standards for me, but how disgusting of me to try and put that on someone else. Me looking at an old person and saying they don’t love Jesus as much as I do because they don’t pray with “fire” and they love their hymnals and go to a completely mapped out 45 minute sermon is totally religious. Contemporary church culture can be just as religious as old school church. Who am I to tell you you can’t drink or listen to that music or watch that movie or smoke a cigarette. None of that stuff is in the Bible, and it’s not a barometer for how much you love Jesus.
I have to stop judging people. We have to stop judging each other, otherwise how are we supposed to be transparent with each other? We’re supposed to help our bros and sistas through life, which usually just means listening to them, not constantly condemning. Usually by the time someone is confessing what they’re battling with THEY ALREADY KNOW ITS WRONG THAT IS WHY THEY ARE SHARING IT. !!! . So, my challenge for myself in the coming weeks is not to judge everything that comes out of people’s mouths or actions, and just listen. Just be a friend. A loving friend. And to be way more transparent myself. I can’t walk around pretending like I don’t sin like all the time. I suck. But Jesus still loves me, enough that He DIED for me.
Let me tell you what this love is like: You marry some person. You sext escorts from Las Vegas all the time…but deep down you love your spouse the most, and you beat yourself up over your sextual indisgressions. Then in some crazy bank robbery going on around you while you’re checking your phone your spouse takes a bullet for you. They’ve known you haven’t been faithful to them, but they would DIE for you. They love your unfaithful, unworthy, self that much. Multiply that by the love a parent has for the child they have given everything-and that child still hates them; the teacher who pours their life into a student-and that student doesn’t show up for their final exam; the nation shown more grace and mercy than any country that every existed-and still choose to glorify it’s inhabitants over God. I AM DISGUSTING. I AM UNWORTHY. My God looks at me and says, “Child, you are beautiful and you are what I want. I want you.” I say, “God, I am not good enough to show others who You are. Jesus, how can I ever show others the power of Your name, of Your resurrection and of Your love?” He says, “Any level of “perfection” YOU strive for would be instantly overshadowed by My perfect love, be humble. You are what I want. I want you.” I say, “God, I’m afraid. I’m a hypocrite and I can’t hear You.” God says, “Perfect love casts out all fear. I will never leave you or forsake You. Through my Spirit I will draw people to myself. You are who I want to use. I choose you. Choose me.”
Receive His love. He is the lover standing at Your door. Let Him in. Seat Him in Your house. Let Him reside there and let Him do whatever he wants in that place. Don’t be afraid of what people think that place should look like. Let Him decide.