How to Say Good-Bye to the “What-Ifs” of Life

What if that happens?
What if she really doesn’t like me?
What if they had an accident and are dead on the side of the road and no one knows it?
What if no one talks to me?
What if no one believes me?
What if I ruin my children?
What if I …what if that…..?

We are all so familiar with the whole what if scenarios. We create them in our mind and call it nice things like concern and planning. We pride ourselves on being full of forethought and caring concern for others.

We plan for every little contingency; we stress and worry. We stress and worry when we think we have no “what-ifs” to stress and worry about. We like them. We are fond of them. They drive us up the wall, but without them we think and fear we are nothing. We have no place and no purpose.

Dear reader, this is not where our purpose and place is found. It is not found in our frantic grasps for control. Our purpose is found solely in Jesus Christ.

“…there is but one God,the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.”

1 Corinthians 8:6 nasb (emphasis mine)

Our purpose is His and to be His. He defines us and our place in this world. We live out our purpose when we surrender fully to His life in us and live from that place of complete surrender and obedience to Him. I’m sorry there is not other way, unless you like wallowing in worry and self-pity.

The other night I was struggling with something I knew for a fact that Jesus had told me. I knew He led and directed my steps, but still my thoughts went to the what if route. The thoughts took me by surprise, I thought my confidence and my obedience to Jesus would negate them and their ability to strike fear in the pit of my stomach. I was wrong.

I have walked with Jesus through a lot of yucky stuff, I have learned to trust His voice and His heart, so when I heard His whispered voice in my ear, I listened. 

What ifs come from fear, not trust.

What ifs speak of our fears, mostly our fear of a loss of control. One thing Jesus has really been opening my eyes to lately is how much we think we are in control. I am sure most of our sins could be eradicated if we only realized the idolatry of our control. Our push and grab for control tells Jesus, “I don’t need You for this. I’ve got it. I’ll just worry, fret, stew and control everything and every part of it so You can just go help the people in Sudan. They need You.”

Oh how wrong we are! Oh how that flies in the face of grace. If we could control our way to heaven there would have been no need for Jesus to ever come to earth. If we could worry and fret our way out of situations, we wouldn’t need Him. But we so desperately do! We need Him more than we need air.

He is our Breath and our Life. He gives and sustains life. Not worry, not fret, not control. Jesus.

Oh dear reader, I know you’re tired. You’re weary and worn. And you’re trying so hard to not be. Give up your unending drive for control, give up all your what ifs and fears, and cling to Jesus. Only in Him is there the peace and joy you so desperately need.


He Is…I Am Bible Study Week 4

Can you believe we’re finishing up our first month of Bible study already? I pray Jesus is opening your eyes to see Him, to hear Him, and to experience Him in brand-new ways.

I’ve been struck over over the past couple of weeks with His very sameness. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. He does not change. He cannot change. The way He was before the beginning of time is exactly how He will be after the end of time. There is no shifting of shadows in Him. There is no, “well, I don’t know if He’ll still do it….”.

Precious reader, if He did it before He is sure to do it again! It might not be the in the exact same way, but He will do it because He doesn’t change. If He met you yesterday, He’ll meet you today. Since He was faithful to you last week, He’ll be faithful to you this week as well.

Here is the thing that really strikes me about the very unchangeableness of our Jesus.

He’s not monotonous.

Monotony bores me to tears. If you want to see me run, put me in a place I will have to do the same thing, in the same way, every day. I’ll die. I will invent new ways of doing it. I will be so bored I’ll cause trouble for everyone. I’ll talk when I should be quiet, I’ll poke my neighbor, I’ll prattle on and on, long after you’ve shushed me a billion times.

When I leave my house I often try to take a new way to wherever I’m going. Since I’ve lived here for over 17 years, I’m quickly running out of ways to go, but still the thrill entices me.

My man is the opposite. Change is horrifying to him. He lives today as he lived yesterday. He takes the same way to work every single day. And what’s more, he sees no need, has no desire to change it at all. I’m going to admit it drives me absolutely up the wall.

It is comforting however, to know that Jesus never changes. It comforts because we can know that as He loves us today, He will love us tomorrow. He will never love us more, never love us less than He does right this moment. He will never know us more, never know us less than He does right this second. He will never stop loving us, or knowing us because He doesn’t change. As He is right now, He will always be.

He will reveal different facets of Himself and we plunge deeper into Him, His heart and His life. But He, His heart, His life, His character, His character remain the same forever. From forever past to forever present to forever future, He remains the same.

Man changes. But our God remains steadfastly faithful.

He will continue to grow us, to change us, to teach us, but He will always remain our Faithful God. Through the shifting sands of time He is steadfast.

Remember that! Never forget.

Here is the link to the next month of Bible study.

He Is…I Am Bible Study Week 2

A number of months ago there was a fire in the building next to their favorite Mexican restaurant. The restaurant was not completely destroyed in the fire but it did receive considerable smoke damage and so it was forced to close until repairs could be made.

I think this restaurant was one of those small, family-owned Mexican restaurants, that I picture in the seedier parts of town, but knowing them it wasn’t. Well, it probably was a small, family restaurant but not in the seedy parts of town.

All these months later the restaurant is still closed, repairs are being made slowly as time and funds allow. In the cleverest of stunts to be sure they were not forgotten they did a pop up restaurant. Limited menu, limited seating, limited time. We were there, standing in line with the rest of the crazies just wanting a taste of this iconic establishment.

They brought a couple bowls of chips and salsa, then just before our meal arrived the brought a bigger bowl of chips and what at first glance was a larger bowl of salsa. I thought it interesting, wondering why they brought the large bowl out last.

I wondered until I tried it. Then I realized this was not just a larger bowl of salsa, no, not at all. This was a bowl of sin-filled, and sinful, cheese sauce. The likes of which I’d never had before and likely won’t ever have again.

In the words of Lorelai Gilmore, “I want to take a bath in that sauce!”

My first taste was innocent, I was unaware of the cheesy goodness in that bowl. My next tastes were not so innocent. I took those knowing very, very well what it was and exactly what it would do to me. And I ate it as if I hadn’t eaten in months. I gorged myself on those chips and that sinful cheese dip.

And so it is with all of us. Believer or not, we sin. Sometimes it’s an innocent “oops”, we simply didn’t know, didn’t think. It’s still a sin, it still sent Jesus to the cross but there was no malicious forethought. Then we continue, because it tastes and feels so good. We know the consequences will not be good and we will regret it in five minutes so we keep eating it, keep trying to keep the consequences away. Until later that night, or the next morning when our over-indulgence has caught up with us.

Believing in Jesus gives us choices we didn’t have before. Before we are In Jesus and before His Life-Giving-Spirit indwells us, we have no choice to sin. It’s our identity. We are a sinner. But then Jesus comes in, places us in Him, indwells us, and suddenly we have a new identity, a new nature. New choices open up to us in an eyes-wide-open-in-wonder-type of way. Jesus now calls us saints.

If we are called saints,set apart ones, holy ones, how can we persist and insist on an identity that says we are a sinner? That the old identity, controlled by the enemy–who longs to keep us enslaved to do his bidding and not walk free as the creation Jesus says we are.

To say we are both “saint” and “sinner” is to be a schizophrenic Christian at best. A sinner will not produce good fruit, a pond will not give salt water.

A saint/sinner identity means you live a life of both blessing and cursing all at the same time. This is not possible! You either walk in your new identity of saint of your old identity of sinner, not both.

You are–if you are indwelt with the Breath of Jesus–a saint who sins, not a sinner who saints.

How can a Holy God live in something contrary to His character without changing the vessel He lives in? James 3:10-12 is speaking specifically about the tongue but I think it applies here since the tongues only speaks what is in the heart and mind.

Every sin is a choice, whether made consciously (like my continued eating of the cheese), or unconsciously, we make the choice to sin and sometimes our sinful reactions come out because we don’t realize how dead our old self is. We have choices in reaction and response. We cannot serve both God and satan, the Savior and self. We must choose one. We cannot justify our sinful choice with “that is just how I am. It’s who I am.” We have choices in our behavior, often we are ignorant about it or just too lazy to make the hard decision to change.

If Jesus calls us saints, why do we say we ain’t?
If Jesus calls us friends, why do we continue to try to make amends?

If Paul referred to himself as a saint, why do we think we are different than he was? What makes us so special to get to keep the sinner moniker when he discarded it?

In 1 Timothy 1:15 Paul refers to himself as the foremost sinner, or the worst of the bunch. The word translated “sinner” means “despiser of God.” I hardly believe Paul meant that to refer to himself post Damascus road! Peter comes right out and calls us a Holy People.

Holy people can not also be sinful people.

When we call ourselves a sinner, we are basing our identity on what we do. We are not what we do! We are still human beings and not human doings.

Maybe the issue is our feelings. We don’t feel holy so we aren’t holy. We sin still so we aren’t holy. We try so hard to make ourselves holy, because we are commanded to be holy as He is holy. We are commanded to be, we are not commanded to make ourselves be Holy. We are not commanded to make ourselves work hard to be–to feel–but just to be. This means our holiness is not by our own efforts! Be! Holy!

Be holy in Him. Rest in Him holiness that was imputed to you. Take His declaration of your position as holy and be in it.

Be holy because the God in you is holy.

That Sweet-sweet Spot

Yesterday our pastor opened up the service for people to share how they have found sweetness of life in and with Jesus. As those around me shared their thoughts, I cast about in my mind for one. What would I say was the sweetness I have found because of Jesus?

I was in a near panic when nothing really came to mind that I deemed worth sharing. Everything sound like a trite, pat answer. It sounded like I knew all the Christian-ese to make me look superior to everyone else.

But not only that. I’ve been attacked on social media and in my own personal life on planet earth. I’ve been walking a bit wounded and angry. Mostly wounded but the wounds come out in anger. I did not want to open myself up to anymore hurt, anymore angry feelings. I didn’t want to give anyone a chance to tell me how wrong I am about everything.

So I kept quiet. But I also kept praying. Because I really wanted to know and I really wanted to hear it straight from the lips of Jesus. I needed to know like I need coffee in the morning and like I need sleep at night. I needed to know He really loved me and we had a sweetness of relationship.

Because some relationships–dear relationships—relationships I love and need like air—-are still in difficulty. They are still broken. There is a still a very painful, misunderstood silence to them. The sweetness has for a time seemed to go out of those relationships, there is just an almost bitter sweetness to them. Sweet because of what they were and bitter because of wondering if we’ll ever get back to that.

There is one particular relationship that is broken, not beyond repair but still broken. This relationship was, no IS, so very dear to me. In this relationship I found a sweet place of acceptance.

“Hey! We fight like we’re brother and sister – awesome!”
“Why is that awesome?”
“Because it means we feel comfortable enough with each other to be real and argue.”
“I’m sorry I fought with you.”
“And me you.” 

That is also one of my sweet places of life with Jesus, or rather the sweetness of having His life living in and through me. Finally my heart finds a home, it finds the acceptance and place of belonging it has always looked for and eternally needed. I am fully heard, completely seen, always accepted, and so lavishly loved.

It means I have a family. It means I belong to someone. It means I don’t have to look to myself to meet my own needs. It means I don’t have to be in control. It means I’m not at fault for every sin since Eve ate the fruit in the garden. It is that I no longer have to feel condemnation because I can’t and don’t do it all.

The sweetness is this abandoned, abused little girl gets to belong to someone forever. It is knowing fully that even if everyone left me I would still have Jesus and He is enough, even for that.

That luscious sweet spot that says my needs are met fully by someone else and I don’t have to work and manipulate to get them met on my own and in my own strength.

It means I have a whole new life. The old is so completely gone. It means everything is made new. Old attitudes? They’re made new. Old thought patterns and heart attitudes? They don’t affect me anymore. They are dead and I’m, I’m more alive than ever.

The sweetness is I am free. I am free from; death, sin’s consequence, sin, sin’s power, the grave. But I am also free to live! To love. To have joy, peace, kindness.


Why You Are Not A Mess

A few weeks ago I was browsing my Twitter feed somewhat mindlessly reading when I saw another one of those tweets. You know, those tweets that sound spiritual but they just hit you wrong. They might be a true statement at first glance but there is just something not quite right about it.  You’ve seen the statement before, you might have believed it but now it’s sitting on your heart like bad pizza.

There’s something wrong with that tweet. You might not know what, but it’s just not right, not right at all. You try to read further but you just can’t get past it, you find yourself scrolling back up to it and nope, it’s still not right.

You might do this a time or fifty before you distract yourself by doing something else, like the church bulletin for example, or maybe scrubbing the toilet. As you’re scrubbing away this message keeps taunting your mind, you’re mulling it over and over. Your mind is mauling it like a dog mauls a bone.

Then when it hits you, you sit back wondering why on earth it took you so long to realize that the reason the statement seems wrong is because it IS  wrong?

“I am a {hot} mess, yet deeply loved by God.” 

It’s wrong because it is a lie.

It’s like one of those questions on a personality quiz, “are you this and/because of this?” Your answer might be yes and no, or no and yes. One part is very true, but the other part is not even remotely true.

The only part of the sentence that is true is “…deeply loved by God.” That part is truer than true.

As believers in Jesus we are so adept at Christianizing lying to ourselves. We say things about ourselves to ourselves and others that sound really, really good, but are, in fact, really, really bad.  We lie to ourselves because that is what we hear from others. They lie about who they are and who we are. We believe them and so we perpetuate the lie with our own mouths.

People! This should not be.

You might be wondering why I don’t like the statement, “I am a mess, yet deeply loved by God.” I mean, it sounds good, it sounds right. It sounds humble. It sounds holy. It sounds true.

But it isn’t. You see, “I am a mess” is an identity statement. You are telling everyone who you are, and who you are is a mess.

No. Who you are is not a mess.

Why do I say that and how can I say that? I don’t even know you. That is true. But I do know Jesus. I know His nature.

I know He is not a mess. Not even close to a mess. He is the furthest thing from a mess.  And to call yourself a mess is a lie and it denies the power of the cross and the power of the Blood of Jesus that was shed for you.

I know you are not a mess because I know Jesus is not a mess. If you are in Him, His Spirit, His nature, His Life dwells in you. In your flesh, in your sinful state before coming to His cross to receive His grace and His nature freely bestowed on you, you are very much a mess. You are without help and without hope.

But you are not. Because you are in Him.

Do you want to know what else you are?

  • You are chosen. (1 Peter 2:9, John 15:16, Colossians 3:12, 1 Thessalonians 1:4)
  • You are holy. (1 Peter 2:9, Colossians 3:12, Ephesians 1:4)
  • Loved and beloved (1 Thessalonians 1:4, Romans 5:8, Jude 1)

This list is by no means exhaustive. You are so much more than you think, so much not a mess. You’re chosen, you’re adopted, you’re declared Holy, blameless, you’re sealed in Him and with Him.

This is your identity! And your identity matters. Because you will walk out whatever you believe about yourself.  So choose now to believe the truth.

And the truth is; in Jesus there are no messes, only messengers with messages. Don’t give the wrong one, to yourself or to others.

Your Identity.

In a recent post I wrote the following words: “I am not my thoughts. I am not my sin. I am not my temptations. I am not my past reactions.” (You can find the whole post here.) I was chatting with a friend the other day and this post came up. I want to clear up what could possibly be some misunderstandings and misinterpretations of my words. I can only say those words because the life of Jesus lives in me. He is in control of my life. 

If you are not indwelt with the Life of Jesus, if He is not living in you doing all the doing through you, you are your thoughts (“as a man thinks in his heart so is he.” Proverbs 23:7), you are your sin. You are your temptations and you are your reactions. Those are all components of your identity. 

It pains me to no end to say this, everything you believe about yourself, all the things you’ve been told are true if you are not indwelt with Jesus. Everyone of them is true about you, it is who you are and it is what you are. As long as you choose to stay there, rejecting Jesus and the power of His life, they will be true.

Dear reader, there is hope though! There is freedom. There is life, free and abundant in Jesus. There is forgiveness. You could have a whole new identity. Based not on what you’ve done, or thought, but because of what Jesus has done for you.  

The only way to ditch fear, say good-by to strongholds is in His power. It is in surrendering completely to Him, allowing His life to live in, through, and out of you.  The only way to change your identity, change who you are, is to submit to Jesus, lay down your weapons, accept His sacrificial death as payment for your sins, and walk in His steps. His life in you changes you from the inside out.

It is only because of His life, and His Spirit living in you that those things said about, your past, your thoughts, and your sins are no longer true. They become lies of the enemy, whispered in your mind to keep you chained. Jesus sets you free from all of that.

The Peace of Advent

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

The Prince of Peace brings peace because He is Peace, and where He reigns, peace reigns. The fruit of His life–of His presence–is Peace. Those who are in Him have peace, they might not always recognize it, might not always feel it, or appropriate it, but they can never be without it. 

Because they can never be without the Prince of Peace. 

Grace and peace are so often linked in Scripture. Those precious souls who are indwelt with the Life of Jesus are drowning in both. His grace rains on us and His Peace rules in us, both draw us to Him wild, wonderful ways. 

The life of one indwelt by Jesus is marked, not with times of peace, but the never-ending, always there, Presence of Peace.

The child of God is never without peace and never in darkness. There is no “fake it until you make it” with Jesus. We don’t walk as children of light until we are, or until we feel we are children of light. We are children of Light, now walk like it. It is your identity!

It’s who you are just as much as your name is. The lies of the enemy keep us from realizing that we are no longer darkness and in darkness. 

For He delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His Beloved Son.

Colossians 1:13

This isn’t a “slap a band-aid over that gaping wound of your soul so no one will see it” peace. This isn’t a “chant it until you believe it” peace.  This is a Believe It! No options. You either choose to simply believe it or you don’t. You can argue with it, but that is just arguing and not believing.  Arguing won’t change your life, believing will. Believing His never-ending, always on, always there, peace is for someone else but not for you is not believing it. 

Please, dear reader, hear my heart, you need to–no, you must–ditch the stronghold of “I am full of darkness!” or “I am darkness”. Admit and confess the lie of believing Jesus did not bring His Light and His peace to you. Then ask Him to speak His Truth, shine His Light on the stronghold and set your captive heart free. 

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me…to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners.

Isaiah 61:1

Now walk in the freedom and truth of who you are, A child of Light.

Thankful for the Hard

Be Thankful.jpg

November is the time of year we always pause to remember the things we are most thankful. Health, friends, and family. We remember the blessings, the good things. The things that make us feel happy, joyful, useful, needed, appreciated, noticed. The things that make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

You know the happy things.

But what about those things that don’t make us feel quite so happy? What about the things that make us gasp and reel in pain? What about those? What about the things that bring weeping tears and not tears of joy?

A couple of years ago I was going through some of those hard, reeling in agony times, when I read these words:

Whatever we refuse to thank God for, we refuse to believe Christ can redeem..
Ann Voskamp

All too often we choose to look at the hard with ungrateful hearts. We choose to believe if something is hard, it’s not from Jesus, so we fight against it. We can easily see this in our children. They don’t like rules or boundaries so they push and fight against them.


I was able to spend a few days in Florida recently. One of the highlights of my trip was seeing the ocean. I had seen it before but not like this. This time I went into its depths. I stood in it’s pounding waves, and let it’s foam sweep over me.

I noticed the ocean is vast. As I stood on the shore all I could see for miles ahead of me was water and waves. It is also powerful. It’s untamable. It goes where it wants to in unrelenting waves.

But it has a boundary and it does not cross it.  In undulating waves, the tide comes in and washes back out again.

Why doesn’t the ocean ever cross the boundary? Because the Word of the Lord stands firm. He will not give in to the ocean, no matter how many times it pushes to the boundary. And we are all thankful.

Instead of angrily responding to our child(ren) who pushes the boundary, be thankful they want to know you are real and your lines might be in the sand, but it is a cement line that will not be moved.

And be thankful for your hard, your boundaries that you come up against, because your God put your boundaries in pleasant places.

Be thankful for your hard, because that is redeemable. And gratitude is always in style.


We are not free to live lives of ingratitude. Refusing to adopt an attitude and mindset of thankfulness is a quick way to slavery. Gratitude changes hearts and changed hearts change lives. Changed lives change worlds.

Oh Jesus, make us truly thankful for our hard, for our boundaries. Make us always remember You redeem hard and You change it to beauty when we, in gratitude give it to you.

A Soul at Rest (Psalm 46)

20180806_120324There is something so beautiful about a soul at rest, when all the frantic busyness stops, the angry activity ceases, the frenetic pace stills and the soul rests-safe and secure-not in its own accomplishments, but in the One who steps in and accomplishes it all.

There is something so peaceful about a soul that has finally found a place of true rest that has contentment and peace even amidst the crazy busy pace of life. The soul rests secure in the One who brings peace.

The contented soul is a soul at rest. Life is still crazy but they are not. Life can be stressful but they are not full of stress, because they know the One who is doing all their doing. It isn’t that they aren’t doing anything, nor are they the ones always saying “no” because they can and their plate is full already. It’s not because they know what they are called to do, what their spiritual gift is, or where their talents lie. But because they have surrendered all to Jesus and He is released to fully work through them.

It isn’t that they do what they do in His strength, it’s that He does it in His strength as they live fully yielded to the Spirit that lives within them.

trees in park
Photo by Pixabay on


Until one lives this way they will never understand true peace and rest. Contentment to them will always be nothing more than than “happy with what I have but always willing to have more”.

When this peace and contentment comes, the soul will wonder and marvel over it. Things that before caused a reaction of anger or pain no longer does. Instead there is just a sense of His abiding Life and love.

The soul no longer strives against God to be god. The soul rests in God’s never ending ability to be God.

When we are striving against God, we cannot know Him as our refuge and strength. We do not see Him or accept Him as our very present help in trouble because we are too busy trying to do it all in and for ourselves.


Fear is our constant companion. We cannot escape it. We might call it something different but it is always there–that nagging feeling that we don’t measure up; that this is all for naught and nothing we do is ever enough. That everyone else has what we want; so we exhaust ourselves in our endless pursuit of rest. We wear ourselves to a frayed edge doing it all because we are so very fearful of failing–of being found wanting.

We fear this is all there is, so we gobble it all up in a van attempt to see if we can get more out of life–more from Jesus. All the while we completely reject His peace and rest because we must keep busy serving Him.

We fall into bed each night exhausted, hoping tonight we will sleep but our frantic brain and soul keep us awake with our endless to-do lists running rampant in our minds. We continue to add more and more things. We rehearse every conversation over and over, reminding ourselves how right–how very, very right we were and how incredibly wrong and stupid they were. All the while we fear the opposite is far too close to the truth.

We think if God really is in the midst of her it’s a different her because all we feel, all we see is an endless condemnation and striving, endless work and no help.

Morning breaks and it is all we can do to get out of bed and do it all all over again. There is no rest, no peace. But we paste on the Good-Christian-Woman smile and tell everyone to just “Rest in Jesus”.

And we’re dying. Slowly or quickly, we’re dying all the same.

How do we stop striving and know He is God when we have so many spinning plates? How do we rest when life happens at breakneck speed and will not stop? We can’t possibly get up any earlier or stay up any later, and regular time with Jesus is anything but regular. It is the easiest and most often one thing that continually gets shoved off the list because who has time for that.

And it’s not like He’s listening to us anyway.

Oh, dear soul, He listens. He speaks. He still calls us to come away with Him, to take our weary, heavy-laden souls to Him and find rest.

He can but won’t make us do it. He stands and patiently calls and waits. But we choose to let our own sense of self-righteousness and importance dictate, instead of confessing our sin of pride and trying to be god to us and god to God.

When we go to Him, lay down our weapons, confess our sin, He is so faithful, just and forgiving. And in that we find freedom and rest. Peace. A refuge. Strength and help.

And six months later we look back on our life in absolute wonder and amazement at the work He has done and we were completely unaware of it all. The stress is gone. The worry lines around our eyes are but a faint memory. The anger, the fear, the insecurity have been replaces with peace and joy.


Psalm 46

Of Dead Men and New Life

I recently skirted around the topic of our deadness to sin a few weeks ago. If you missed it you can find that post here. In that post I stopped just shy of saying we are no longer sinners.

Fear is what kept me from saying it outright. Yes. I know what you’re thinking. You’re either agreeing with me or looking for some way to either remove my head as a heretic or to point out the obvious-to-you flaws in my thinking.  I’d like to go on record here and now saying that I welcome any and all dialogue on my posts, provided they are civil and only ideas are discussed and people are left unscathed by words.

I know it’s hard to differentiate between the two. I’ve struggled with that myself. One of my most faithful friends (Proverbs 27:6) has often told me how vital it is for us to be able to separate our identity, who we are in Jesus, from what other people say and think about us.

One thing that recently struck me like a ton of bricks right between the eyes is that very thing. What someone else thinks of me, whatever they think I am is really none of my concern. Their thoughts and opinions are not strong enough to change who we are.

Back to we are no longer sinners after we come to Jesus, it seems to go against all that we think and are taught from our earliest days in the church nursery. We all know we’re sinners, sinners saved by grace, and that one day we’ll have eternal life and gain entrance into heaven. A quick glance at Romans 6,7 and Galatians 5 seem to support this, but let’s take a closer look.

I’m going to move through these quickly and then we’ll come back and elaborate on them in subsequent posts.

Romans 6.
We’ve been taught to read this as “try really hard not to sin” and “don’t use grace as an excuse to sin”. The last part is true. The first part could not be further from the truth.  Why? Because we are dead to sin. Not just a little dead, but very dead, completely dead.

Dead things don’t live. Dead men don’t sin.

In verse 4 of Romans 6 we read:

Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life

And 2 Corinthians 5:17:

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away, behold, new things have come.

(emphasis mine.)

What is new and what old has gone, except our old nature?

The new would be the life and nature of Jesus. We were baptized into His death and raised in newness of life. Since our old nature was dead, our new nature is life.

To redeem means to buy back; to restore means to take back to the original. We were redeemed by Jesus and His blood restored us to what we were. And what were we originally? Perfect. Without a sin nature. (Read Genesis 1-3)

All one needs to sin is an enemy, the freedom to choose, and the ability to be deceived. Adam and Eve had both. And so do we.

If we believe we still have a sin nature, we think we still have no choice (and therefore no responsibility) in sinning. “It’s just the way I am. I’ve always been this way. I can’t change that.”

No, you can’t. Jesus did!

We also then do not believe Jesus redeemed all of us. There are parts of us He did not and could not redeem. In other words, His blood wasn’t enough. He needs our help.

So salvation–complete salvation–becomes based on what I do and not based on what Jesus did.

We still struggle with temptation and sin, but it is not our nature to sin. We struggle with sin because we still have an enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy us. Just as he tempted Eve in the garden, he tempts us and tries to deceive us.

You don’t need a sin nature to be tempted and deceived. Neither Adam and Eve or Jesus had a sin nature. All were tempted. One was deceived, one sinned and One was perfect.

I am a sinner is a statement of identity. It is also a lie. However, if we believe it, we will live it out.

And when we live it out, the enemy wins.

Tell yourself the truth. You are not a sinner. You sin. You’re tempted. It’s not your nature. It’s not who you are. Who you are is in Jesus and nothing can change that. In Him you are holy, blameless, made right, redeemed, His people.

You are a saint.