When I hear a believer say, “I’m just a sinner,” I feel like responding, “That’s what you used to be.” A lot of folks cling to a view of themselves as a patched-up, slightly-better-than-before version of their old self. The Word of God contradicts that opinion: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). In fact, according to Scripture, we’re dramatically different once we are complete in the Lord.
The question is, Will Christians trust in what they feel, or will they believe what God says about them? His Word calls us saints (Rom. 1:7), disciples (John 13:34-35), and fellow heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). If your opinion is that you are “just a sinner,” then you cannot fully experience and enjoy your identity as a follower of God.
Believing what the Lord says about our new self is a choice. Satan certainly schemes to convince believers that Scripture doesn’t apply to them. He knows that people held captive by spiritual poverty back away from opportunities to share the gospel and serve God’s kingdom. It’s much easier to spiritually bankrupt someone who already thinks of himself as “just a sinner” than it is to conquer a disciple who knows he is a child of the loving heavenly Father.
Our true identity is defined not by our past actions but by the Savior’s. Jesus purchased our lives with His blood and brought us into relationship with the Father, who adopted us as His beloved children. We have every reason to hold our heads high, stand firm, and courageously proclaim the gospel.
“Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.” (Psalm 143:8)
This is a beautiful and meaningful prayer with which to start the day, and one that God must delight to answer. It is very simple, with two requests and two declarations, yet it can reach the very heart of God.
Because we trust implicitly in His Word, we hear Him speak through it as we read it at the beginning of the day. And as we hear Him speak, we rejoice again in His lovingkindness, especially in saving our souls and guiding our ways.
Then we are emboldened once again to lift up our very souls to Him (not just our voices!) and ask Him for clear guidance in the way in which we should walk today.
The psalmist also prays, and so should we: “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness” (Psalm 143:10). God will “cause [us] to know the way wherein [we] should walk” by the Holy Spirit if we sincerely desire to know and to follow His will and to be led in the paths of righteousness. He will never lead us, of course, in any path contrary to His revealed Word. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).
But when He is given all priority in our lives, when we love and study and obey His Word, and when we sincerely call on Him for daily guidance in His will, He will surely answer. “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:6). “This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15). HMM
I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search. —Psalm 77:6
Both the Bible and the testimony of a thousand saints show that there is experience beyond song. There are delights which the heart may enjoy in the awesome presence of God which cannot find expression in language; they belong to the unutterable element in Christian experience. Not many enjoy them because not many know that they can. The whole concept of ineffable worship has been lost to this generation of Christians. Our level of life is so low that no one expects to know the deep things of the soul until the Lord returns. So we are content to wait, and while we wait we are wont to cheer our hearts sometimes by breaking into song….
The Bible is a musical book and, next to the Scriptures themselves, the best book to own is a good hymnbook. But still there is something beyond song….
Where the Holy Spirit is permitted to exercise His full sway in a redeemed heart the progression is likely to be as follows: First, voluble praise, in prose speech or prayer or witness; then, when the crescendo rises beyond the ability of studied speech to express, comes song; when song breaks down under the weight of glory, then comes silence where the soul, held in deep fascination, feels itself blessed with an unutterable beatitude.
Lord, as I “commune with mine own heart” (Psalm 77:6), let me in that silence find that something which is beyond song. I worship You now in the stillness. Amen.
We will not have this man to reign over us. (Luke 19:14)
People have asked me if our present generation would gladly accept Jesus if He came at this time, instead of 2,000 years ago. I have to believe that history does repeat itself!
In our own day, many who want to follow the Christian traditions still balk and reject a thorough-going spiritual housecleaning within their own lives.
When Jesus came, many realized that it would mean probable financial loss for them to step out and follow Christ. Also, many of those men and women who considered the claims of Christ in His day knew that following Him would call for abrupt and drastic changes in their patterns of living. The proud and selfish aspects of their lives would have been disturbed.
Beyond that, there was an almost complete disdain for the inward spiritual life which Jesus taught as a necessity for mankind; that it is the pure in heart who will see God!
I am afraid that humanity’s choice would still be the same today. People are still more in love with money and pride and pleasure than they are with God and His salvation!
The more you know about Christ, the less will you be satisfied with superficial views of Him; and the more deeply you study His life and the fullness of His Grace which shines in all His offices, the more truly will you see the King in his beauty. Long more and more to see Jesus. Meditation and contemplation are often like windows of agate, and gates of carbuncle, through which we behold the Redeemer. Meditation puts the telescope to the eye, and enables us to see Jesus better than we could have seen him if we had lived in the days of his flesh. Would that we were more taken up with the person, the work, the beauty of our incarnate Lord.