We all struggle with the sin of anxiety these days, perhaps more than usual. While our anxious feelings are definitely understandable, however, the Lord calls us to remember His commitment to care for His children. If you’ve repented of your sin and trusted in Christ’s atoning death on the cross as your only source of salvation, you can depend on your Heavenly Father to faithfully take care of you.
The Old Testament required that the priests sacrifice innocent lambs to atone for the sins of the people. Currently, I’m reading Matthew’s Gospel, and yesterday I read about Christ’s final Passover meal with His disciples — a meal foreshadowing His sacrifice on the cross that next day. For all those centuries, Jewish priests had unknowingly pictured the Messiah as the Lamb Who would be slain as the ultimate sacrifice of atonement.
Jesus became the meek Lamb of God as He voluntarily allowed the jealous leaders of the Jews to wrongfully condemn Him. As the meek Lamb of God, He permitted the Roman soldiers to verbally and physically abuse Him. And, as the meek Lamb of God, He sacrificed His life, shedding His precious blood to cleanse all who believe in Him.
Curiously, this Lamb calls Himself our Shepherd, guiding us with the rod and staff of Scripture as we learn His ways of meekness. Under the sanctifying influence of His Holy Spirit, we slowly but surely learn to be meek. We become His lambs.
John and I, remembering that we met online 22 years ago, celebrated Valentine’s Day by watching You’ve Got Mail. Some time ago, I blogged about how I love the writing in this movie, and Friday night I again found myself wishing that The Outspoken TULIP afforded me the opportunity to write the sort of things that the characters in the story wrote to each other.
I couldn’t resist wondering how I might sneak in an occasional post that centered merely on writing for the sake of writing. Who knows? Some of my readers might enjoy it!
As I searched YouTube for a hymn yesterday, I decided on a contemporary one that I learned through our church. I chose it because of its clear picture of God’s grace in bringing sinners to salvation. But as I reviewed various versions of videos, I was mesmerized by the beautiful writing in this hymn. After watching You’ve Got Mail the night before, perhaps I felt particularly aware of how the hymn writer organized the words. At any rate, I couldn’t help marveling at the power in the phrases.
The hymn writer did something that the characters in the movie could never have done — he used beautiful writing to honor and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. If I want to write beautifully, may I write beautiful words that draw attention to His grace.
Several friends of mine are suffering through major trials right now.
Some focus on the circumstances, praying exclusively for relief from their hardships. Yes, they look to the Lord, and that’s definitely a good starting place. One friend hasn’t been open to spiritual conversation in years, but her current situation compels her to ask for prayer. She knows that she needs God to intervene.
Another friend is going through trials much more serious than those of the first friend I’ve mentioned. And her trials have been relentless. Yet even as she tells me through tears about all the severe affliction she’s enduring, she hastens to proclaim God’s goodness. She even praises Him for opportunities He gives her in her circumstances to tell others about her Savior.
Pain surrounds a lot of believers right now. Perhaps this new year has also been unkind to you. If so, follow the example of my second friend. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, trusting His sovereignty. He will give you a beautiful perspective.
Nobody really enjoys uncertainty. At least, I don’t. Like most women, I crave security, and struggle with the sin of anxiety when circumstances become questionable. Regretfully, I all too often respond to trials by metaphorically flailing my arms as I sink into the quicksand of despair and pragmatism.
We sink into all kinds of sands in the face of uncertainty and opposition, don’t we? Sometimes we trust in politicians, believing that certain political agendas will safeguard our country from ruin. Other times we trust in popular Christian teachers, ignoring their subtle deviations from Biblical doctrine. Still other times we, like me, fall into despair and then try to fix our situations through our own efforts.
But the Lord mercifully always brings us back to Himself, reminding us that He alone is our solid rock. And as we return to Him, we find His sufficient grace protecting us from the stormy trials and the rising waters of uncertainty. Best of all, we have assurance that His righteousness enables us, despite all the times we put our foot on foundations of sand, to stand before His throne without fault.
Jesus has delivered us from sin and death! So why aren’t we proclaiming the Gospel from the rooftops?
For decades, Western culture has told us that religion is a private matter, not to be discussed in polite conversation. It warns us that people might get offended if we evangelize them. And in recent years, various entities have taken measures to silence Christians altogether.
The intimidation has a much greater effect on us than it should, I’m sorry to say. I regret that, though I’m bold when I write, I struggle with face-to-face evangelism. And I suspect a lot of you share my struggle. We shrink from telling people the good news because culture demands that we do so!
But think about the power of the Gospel in your life. Think about how Jesus rescued you from an eternity in hell and liberated you from slavery to sin. Don’t you want everyone to know that same joy and freedom? Don’t you want everyone to glorify Him by singing His praises?
Our Christian life is victorious. Certainly we should celebrate our victory over sin and death, as well as the temporal blessings and answered prayers God gives us. Truly, we live lives that overflow with a quality of joy that non-Christians can’t begin to imagine!
But the real victory is our salvation. In and of ourselves, we’re miserable wretches, totally incapable of any godliness. Yet Jesus took our sin on Himself, giving us His righteousness in exchange! He made us His own possession, though we did nothing to merit His favor. What a stunning victory!