I've been intending to write this post since our trek down to Florida. We went for the conference - a sort of immersion in good teaching and Biblical truth. After three years overseas, we don't take that kind of thing for granted.
Somewhere around the second or third session, I started to think about my life. My very, very imperfect life. I was listening to men I would consider to be sort of "spiritual giants." They are very obviously marked and gifted by the Holy Spirit for leadership and teaching. The more the Word was proclaimed, the worse I felt. I started dredging things up from the past three years. Things I wish I'd done differently or not done at all. I'm just not as good as I wish I were. It wasn't really conviction in need of repentance, it was just a general drooping of my shoulders. A look in the mirror that was actually reflecting what I didn't care to see.
I kept thinking about those men and women around me, spiritual giants in every corner. Their lives must be so much better than mine. If only I could do things a bit better. Less sin, more goodness.
Then we started to sing hymns. Old hymns that have been helping the saints for generations.
We sang about grace. About blood that washes all those sins away. About righteousness in Christ alone. We sang like free men and women because we are. And we are because of Christ. Only because of Christ.
Many years ago I came a very desperate girl to Jesus. I had plenty of sin visible enough to recognize my life had been changed. Forgive the churchy ring, but the truth is: Jesus changed me.
He changed me in big ways and small ways. Part of the change brought disciplines to my life like prayer and study and verses in my heart and head. My life naturally looks different now. It's easy for me to forget sometimes that I need a Savior as much today as I did then. A disciplined life isn't enough to change my heart. This heart is made new. Yet I am living in a process of sanctification - growing into that grace.
I didn't realize I thought I was good. But often I do. I want to come with a cleaned up life to Jesus, not much in need of that grace anymore. It's not how I started.
I began as a sinner saved by grace alone.
I am that still.
Galatians 3:1-3, 13a O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?….Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.