The great love with which He loved us.

Friday, July 11, 2014

I have some very special people in my life who suffer greatly with guilt and shame--In fact, this guilt and shame has completely separated them from their church family, because they don't feel worthy of stepping into a church, knowing how "terrible" they are. I have a lot of compassion for these people, because they're clearly not understanding grace--not just grace, but God's grace. If you're not understanding Grace, then chances are you don't have the correct understanding of who God is, why Christ died for us and who we are in Him. 

I know this, because I've been this person before. I wasn't planning on sharing this on my blog, because I don't like to bring up my semi-rebellious past ( okay, maybe wasn't just semi), but it seemed necessary for the topic of discussion.  Not many people know this, but I went through a phase where I smoked. It wasn't a very long phase, thankfully, but it was still something that I struggled with. I didn't want people to know about it, because I felt like it would change the way everyone viewed me. I was so ashamed of it. I would sit outside, read my bible and smoke a cigarette and think to myself  " Seriously, Allyssa...what are you doing!" I wasn't really going to church at the time, but I was in biblical counseling with a precious woman who God used tremendously in my life.  It was around that time in my life where God really began to teach me who I am in Him and how much I needed to be a part of the church body. My view of who God was completely changed. He wasn't a scary man who I needed to constantly be perfect for; he was full of grace, compassionate and loved me despite my wrongdoings. I began to realize that it wasn't my smoking that was the problem, it was my sinful nature that I was fighting against. I needed to work on my heart first, and then the rest would fall into place. And you know what? God totally started to transform my life and started working on me from the inside out.

 " And 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 once 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...." 

"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 in Christ

by grace you have been saved...."

Ephesians 2: 1-5

He is RICH in mercy because he loves us, not because of anything we've done or because for one reason or another we deserve it, but because he has chosen to love us. What a loving and compassionate God! Doesn't that give you a desire to walk in obedience?

Everything begins to change when you realize what Christ did for you, and who you are now because of it. Christ died so that you don't have to live in that shame. He suffered, so that we don't have to--yet there are still people out there who believe they have to do the hokie pokie before God will accept them--that's not how it works--God accepts you just as you are. God has a purpose for your life, and you know what? Sometimes that purpose is going through hard stuff so that we'll recognize how desperate we are for him.

" For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption
that is Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood,
to be received by faith..."

Romans 3:23-25

I think scripture says it all.  Even when I was going through my smoking phase, God still saw me as righteous and never once did he stop loving me. The truth is, we're all terrible people apart from Christ--no one is good, not even one! This isn't to say that we should just keep on sinning because God forgives us anyway, instead, this gives us all the more reason to worship Him. Why? Because we don't deserve this grace--I know I don't. But because of the great love with which he loved us, he has given us the greatest gift of all, and for that we should never cease to praise Him. 

Just a thought :)

Happy Friday, friends! 


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