a few days ago on saturday night i struggling with the weight of my sin, and i felt as if my heart was black. i had been avoiding him the whole week, maybe because i was busy, maybe because i was studying, but mostly because i was trying to avoid turning to him and i didnt want to face my problems.
saturday night i finally came to him... weeping, because i was broken. weeping, because i saw how black my heart was, i realized how sinful my true nature is, and i finally saw how i was grieving his heart by not turning to him. over and over again i see how strong my will is, how great my pride is, how selfish my nature is--that most of the time, i dont do what he wants me to do. overcome, i came to him, saying lord, jesus, help me because i do not know what to do anymore. lord, you said that you can turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. can you do this for me please, because i cannot live the life that you want or do the things you are asking me to do unless you are there with me, helping me, giving me strength, giving me your grace...change my heart oh lord...only you can...
while i was praying, i felt a flood of accusations hit my head. of the many, some were--you dont do what god wants you to do, you are a rebellious child, you will never be able to surrender fully to Him, it is better to remain in sin...--during this time when all these accusations were all cascading onto me, a flood of them hitting me sharply like rushing waters, god brought to my mind zechariah 3--
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan[a]standing at his right side to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! TheLord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”
Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”
5 Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.
6 The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: 7 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have chargeof my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.
- Zechariah 3:1-6
the lord is so good! it was that moment when i realized the reality of the enemy schemes, the reality of spiritual warfare--that these hateful thoughts are coming from the enemy; he is the one that condemns me because he is against me, while god is for me. he condemns me because he wants to keep me from running to god in order to pull farther away from god, while god wants me to boldly approach his throne of grace in my time need, in my weakness-- especially in the times when i feel so dirty or stained with sin. satan wants me to feel hopeless, helpless, ashamed and in despair while Jesus brings me life, forgiveness, righteousness, joy, peace, hope, and love. satan is always the first to accuse me, but while satan can accuse me of being black as ebony and point out all my faults though i know they are many, jesus has proclaimed me as his own and has declared that i am white as snow--jesus has cleansed me!! although satan has every right to accuse me for my sin, jesus turns and covers me by his grace so that i would be innocent, guiltless, and free from the contamination of sin!
sunday morning i went to church, and as i was worshiping in service, the presence of the lord dropped on me so strongly that i started to weep. i felt his healing waters of grace wash over me, flowing over my heart, over my entire body. despite all the turmoil that was raging within my heart one night ago, his presence brought to me a peace that was undescribable, and i realized--it was his grace--and i heard him tell me over and over again,
"joyce, you dont have to be perfect. you dont have to be perfect. let me cleanse you. let me heal you. let me change you. you dont have to be perfect."
suddenly the burdens began to lift off my shoulders. then god gave me an image of myself: i was in the bathroom, holding a bar of soap, and furiously rubbing that soap over my wounds and my dirt. i kept continuously scrubbing and scrubbing but nothing was happening; all the dirt still remained. the lord knew. i had been trying to clean my own wounds, scrubbing ferociously at any remnant of dirt that was still clinging onto me, pouring soap and taping on band aids to hide my problems that were buried deep inside my heart. i was carrying the burden all on my shoulders because i didnt want to turn to god and thus allow him to give me his light and easy yoke. but it was his grace that was able to see past my sin, heal my heart, and transform it so that it will be made more in his likeness.
the grace of the lord is that he gives us so much more than what we deserve, that he, the holy and majestic king, allows us to come to him with our sin and in our weakness, that he, the most worthy and almighty god, loves us despite all the vile crimes that we have committed against him. Jesus loves us like no other--with an unconditional love that is not conditional nor ephemeral nor temporal; thus, no matter what state we are in, no matter our circumstances, no matter what we did or will do... his love remains, and will never change.
If God is for us, who can be against us?32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? ... 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died —more than that, who was raised to life —is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
- Romans 8
Jesus, in the richness of his love and mercy, does not condemn those who believe of our sin because he has come into the world to save us from our sin! he died for us all, and he, instead of accusing us and pointing out all of our flaws and iniquities, intercedes for us passionately and prays for us fervently day and night on our behalf, pouring all his love out onto us, that we might overcome any trials and come into deeper intimacy with him!
This is the good news! this is the wonderful gospel!