Friends, I haven't really had much to write about for what seems like a really long time. This whole year has been filled with significant transition, blessing and challenge as I've moved back to Connecticut and stepped into serving alongside friends in leading His people in worship.
I'm currently sitting in Nashville, TN - I'm attending the Sovereign Grace Pastor's conference. I'm one of the only single women in the room - and likely the only single woman attendee. I've gotten a few "good for you" comments re: my coming here alone. But I'll leave the comical aesthetics and share a few of my reflections of just two of the messages.
I'm actually having a hard time digesting it all. How could I have been so far removed from this for so long? But that's what these times are for, I think. Opportunity for refreshment and reminder of who He is - and how He loves. His power. It can be really easy to forget this. Where ever you are.
The extent to which we recognize God's mercy in our own lives...it's the foundation of our ministry. Christ in us. Christ over us. Christ through us. That's our ministry. And man. I've forgotten. Seriously. It's so easy to forget. It doesn't happen instantaneously. It didn't for me at least. Ministry so easily becomes this pragmatic, practical application of truth. But did you know that we speak the language of the gospel all the while forgetting the insane impact it has had on our own lives?
Sit with this for a moment. I am. How often do I forget the extent of His mercy...and the tsunami of grace that takes out all of my transgressions so that I no longer am held responsible for them. Holy cow.
Seriously. Reflect on that before moving on.
Now we head into this morning. Philippians 2:12-13. The call to obedience. The preacher, a guy named Rick, read an excerpt of a recent book called Jesus + Nothing = Everything. In the book, the author defines sanctification (paraphrased) - as a constant effort to back to the cross, where we received salvation, reflecting on and thinking on that moment. It sounds almost right, yes? But it's missing this RADICAL thing - that perhaps should not be so radical. Throughout scripture, there is a call to holiness - a call to be like Christ. A call to obedience. "Sanctification is not simply an effort to remember our justification." It's our journey of walking in obedience.
Ok. So what?
We are called as believers into obedience (as imperfect as it may be) so that people might see the Lord through us, so that we can walk in the freedom and grace that comes through that justification point. But here's the kicker. We do not do this alone. In fact, the very reality that we WANT to be right with the Lord (the willing mentioned in Phil.2:13) comes from God's work in us!! GAH! So the very fact that I DESIRE to be like Jesus is testimony to the Holy Spirit at work in me. WHAT HOPE.
I don't know about you, but for me, as I walk through things...especially like the stuff I've walked through this past year, I can lose hope that God is present in my own life. I have lost hope at times. But what a sweet relief to know that my posture...my hope to be pleasing to God...is in fact Him at work in me. Obedience - the act in the miracle of salvation, the killing off of sin...is testimony of the Holy Spirit at work in me. I can walk in confidence of God's power in me.
I need to just sit on that for a while. What mercy. What mercy. That there is hope for a wretch like me...not just to be saved, but to live in freedom...and all because of the living God at work in His people, in me.
And thus the callouses of experience and busy-ness begin to fall away, piece by piece.