Live Like You are LovedMonday, November 17, 2014
Regular readers of the humble ramblings (you both know who you are) know that I often confess how my brain was not wired to factory specs. There is no other explanation for the dizzying turns my mind makes. For example, this weekend I heard a song from my '70's disc jockey days. The song was Tin Man from America and the normal brain would have heard the song, registered a like it or don't like it vote and moved on. Not my brain. I fixated on a piece of the lyric and spent time linking it to a spiritual epiphany in my life.
You may recognize the lyric that started this Monday Musing.
But Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man
That he didn't, didn't already have
The lyricist double negatived his way to an important truth. The Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz went on a long journey to try and find a real heart. But all the Wizard did was affirm what he already possessed. Sadly that confused search is what so many of us imitate as followers of Jesus. We go on a journey thinking if we can only find the right training or Bible study or church or friends or pastor that we will become more righteous and effective for God.
But if we could have followed the yellow stone road to meet Paul he would have told us we were wasting our time trying to find the perfect things to change our walk with Jesus. Paul would have (and did) simply affirm who we already are.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2nd Corinthians, 5:17, NLT)
Because of Christ you have a new identity. You are righteous because of Him and not because of trying to do more right “stuff”. You are a saint and there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. It is a liberating and joyous message. But there is a problem. Satan hates that message of hope and change. And so he goes about trying to “steal’ our identity in Christ. I am afraid we make it all too easy because we find it difficult to really trust that we are changed.
You are righteous because of Christ. Period. When you trust that and believe that all of the guilt and shame and sin that used to define you is no longer true. That old life is gone. New life has begun. All of those accusations that Satan (and others who are quite happy to help) hurl your way are no longer true about you.
My life was changed forty-five years ago (ouch) when I decided to trust Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It has just been in the past few years that I have begun to fully understand who I am in Christ and that I live my life daily desperately dependent on grace. I have often quoted from my friends at Truefaced. This statement rocked my world.
If you are a Christian God is not interested in changing you. That has already happened. You were changed when you trusted Christ. You were imputed with His righteousness. Your very spiritual DNA was rewritten and you became a new person. So the change happened right away. God is now interested in maturing you into what is already true about you.
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. (Romans 3:22-23, NLT)
Remind yourself daily who you are. That you are a new person. Righteous because of Christ. A new life has begun. Live it joyfully and without condemnation. I am deeply loved by God today. I pray I will live like it.