Sometimes I get this picture in my mind about what a “Christian” should be like.
And then, I rapidly and utterly realize that I look in no way like that image.
Sometimes I snooze my alarm like seven times, and then I don’t have time to spend with Jesus in the morning.
Sometimes I cuss a little. Or a lot.
Sometimes I get mad and frustrated and yell at God. Or just give Him the silent treatment.
Sometimes I don’t love people and listen to them like I should.
I just want you to know that you’re covered in grace.
I just want you to know that none of us have it together.
I just want you to know that despite your tears and tantrums and skipped devotionals and feisty tongues and silence or maybe even screaming at God,
That you are loved. By God.
And I don’t want you to fall into the flawed thinking that you are messing up and failing at this whole Christian thing.
And I don’t just not want you fall into it, sister, I want you fight it.
That’s not the Gospel.
Rather, the Gospel, at its core, says that we are broken and rebellious sinners, never could do it right and never can, because of sin were are savages and half-hearted and blinded to how damned we were.
And then, Jesus, oh yes Jesus, died a bloody and brutal death on a cross, and rose back to life a few days later, victorious, yes the victor over sin and death and every evil thing.
So it ends like this:
He was raised into Heaven, and is now seated at the right hand of God, and He saves us and makes us like Him and brings us Home, and is preparing for us a Kingdom where we will live forever, founded on and knit together in and soaked and saturated and fired with love, with goodness and grace and His very own glory illuminating every detail.
We were sinners.
But then, we met the King of glory, the King of fire and of redemption and grace.
And all of a sudden, we are no longer sinners.
Yes, hear these words and fight the rebellion in that heart of yours.
Jesus conquered sin. He defeated it. It’s no longer ruling and enslaving you. He freed you.
You, my sister, you are a saint. You are holy. You are set apart and a daughter and loved, yes, loved!
And right about now, I look around.
I gaze upon my tainted heart and my ugly morning and the graffiti and abandoned warehouses and even at the stale and bitter parts of my soul.
And I feel like anything but a saint.
My heart yet still rebelliously draws towards the title of sinner rather than saint, oh how dare it! Does it not know the blood and victory and grace of Jesus?
Hear Paul say it. (Paul, the apostle, is the person I’m most excited to meet in Heaven. He is the inspiration of all bluntness and sassiness rooted in wisdom and love.)
“YOU YOU YOU were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Ephesians 2:1-3, triple “you” added by me for the sake of passion)
We don’t sugarcoat things here.
I want you to grasp this reality, friend: that’s who you once were, but it’s not who you are now.
Paul isn’t done:
“BUT God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 3:4-7)
This is you, my grace-saved, kindness-lavished, dearly loved by Jesus, sister.
Paul tells this beautiful story that just so delicately and powerfully has been about us.
We are not enemies of God, still wallowing and weighed down and blinded by our sin. We have been transferred from the domain of darkness to the Kingdom of the Beloved Son. We are now saints. We are now holy and loved in Christ and saved. We were stained crimson, but now we are the purest, most brilliant of whites.
And I know that on Monday at four in the evening with traffic on the freeway and too many emails, and with graffiti and abandoned warehouses in streets, and weeds choking out flowers in gardens, that it probably doesn’t feel like it.
I know that in the midst of tears and vivid anger and extreme exhaustion, feisty tongues and silent treatments, your heart is going to be inclined to say, “I’m just a sinner.”
Sister, no. Don’t make excuses to weaken the cross of Christ.
You are a saint. You are not held to a standard or needed to conform to any image, because you are already so loved and adored by Jesus.
The beautiful thing is that, you are already apart of the family. You are already called “Saint,” “Beloved,” and “Daughter.” You don’t need to earn it. You don’t need to fight for it.
Grace reigns. And slowly, upon letting Jesus love us, we will begin to look a little more like Him, like a saint, like our true self.
There’s a saintly, there’s a holy, redeemed, powerful and glorious truest version of yourself. The garden version of you. The Christ-like, Holy Spirit filled, God-imaged truest self.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. 2 Corinthians 3:18
Love is patient and love is kind.
Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself.
Day by day, your sweet Jesus is going to transform you into more of Himself, from glory to glory.
With much, much love. And a heart believing what Jesus calls me. –Melissa
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