We all have a past, some have more colorful pasts than others.
I, unfortunately, have a very colorful past. Recently, I’ve been rather painfully walking thru it, as God has been further working on me thru a trial.
Today, the Lord brought to mind, thanks in part to my good friend, John Piper, Col 2:13-14
13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
I drew this picture today, and it really made this verse come alive. I made a timeline on the left. And on it, I marked an X each time to represent roughly the periods of major sin that I’ve experienced, either by me to done to me. I then drew a big red line at the end of that time period and a cross to represent coming to faith in Jesus Christ. At that moment, the person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross CANCELED everything to the left of it…so I colorfully…and therapeutically crossed it out so that I could no longer see any X’s. I then wrote a big CANCELED across it and boxed it in in nice red Sharpie to represent the blood of Jesus spilled to cancel my sin, I also think red symbolizes STOP, in other words – no need to proceed here anymore.
We then have a choice of which side of the line to live on.
We can live in the red, or we can live in the light of the cross.
Above each respective area, if you can see on the pic…I wrote Eph 4:22 – “Put off your old self which belongs to your former way of life” and Eph 4:24 – “put on your new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” – The Bible is clear which side of the line we are to live on.
Christ declares us righteous and HOLY from our sin – we are justified. We don’t live in the red, we live in the light of that truth.
It is hard though, I can’t tell a lie. God is really challenging me here – “Do you really believe that I create NEW people, not just improved people? Do you really believe my grace is sufficient and my pardon complete? Do you really believe that your sin, not in part, but the whole was nailed to the cross and you bear it no more?”
It is an active decision of the mind to obey God here, it’s hard, but we just have to. The alternative is to live in the past and insult the cross of Christ and damage relationships with those around us. Man up kids and move on by faith, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I guess I’m not alone in thinking it’s hard – hundreds of years ago, the Puritans said the same thing “It is hard to practice what I believe.” The Valley of Vision prayer “Grace In Trials” is so amazing I loved praying thru that this morning.
I will include it below for your meditation…and another reminder for me, that in the valley…there is vision. (I took the liberty of updating the Old English for ya…)
Father of Mercies, Hear me for Jesus’ sake. I am sinful even in my closest walk with you; it is of your mercy I died not long ago; Your grace has given me in the cross by which you have reconciled yourself to me and me to you, drawing me by your great love, reckoning me as innocent in Christ though guilty in myself.
Giver of all graces, I look to you for strength to maintain them in me, for it is hard to practice what I believe. Strengthen me against temptations. My heart is an unexhausted fountain of sin, a river of corruption since childhood days, flowing on in every pattern of behavior; You have disarmed me of the means in which I trusted, and I have no strength but in you.
You alone can hold back my evil ways, but without your grace to sustain me I fall. Satan’s darts quickly inflame me, and the shield that should quench them easily drops from my hand: Empower me against his wiles and assaults. Keep me sensible of my weakness, and of my dependence upon your strength. Let every trial teach me more of your peace, more of your love.
Thy Holy Spirit is given to increase your graces, and I cannot preserve or improve them unless he works continually in me. May he confirm my trust in your promised help, and let me walk humbly in dependence upon you, for Jesus’ sake.