A very deep and insightful analysis. Biblical counsel for the rejected soul.

His Grace Is Enough

Rejecting Rejection
“…to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph.1:6)

The emotional soil our roots are planted in has a bearing on our entire lives. God designed that we should receive love, care and protection in the family. As a child is born into a family it is totally defenseless, and dependable on the family that surrounds it. It is during the formative years of its life that it will receive its identity message. A child brought up in a loving atmosphere and home will face future relationships with security and confidence. Our family loved us and valued us; therefore we must be people of worth.

Psychologists confirm this. They tell us there are three parental attitudes that are absolutely necessary for a sense of security and to develop a wholesome personality. These are acceptance, affection and approval…

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What does it mean to be “in Christ”

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In my last post I wrote about how, for those who are “in Christ” there is no longer condemnation. So what does it mean to be “in Christ”? The term “in Christ” was coined by the Apostle Paul. Its used in the New Testament 216 times. Now if someone tells me something 216 times it its safe to assume that its very important and its something that ought not to be forgotten. Though Paul coined that phrase, the concept behind it was not new. Jesus used a similar analogy in John 15:5. It’s the analogy of the vine and the branches. The branches are wholly dependent on the trunk or vine for survival. In a very real sense the branches need to be a part of, or “abide in” the Vine to survive. That’s a powerful picture of what it means to be “in Christ”.

Being in Christ is a continuous, constant state of relationship. While that starts with salvation, it does not end there. What Paul and Jesus imply is a state of relationship, a loving mutual relationship, not a cold “legal state of being”.

So what does it mean for us who are in Christ?

Identity in Christ:

The branches take their identity from the vine. Once part of the vine, the branches share of the vine, it is part of the vine, its identity is derived from its relationship with the vine. Its no longer thought of separately.

Who we are is no longer defined by anything other than Christ. We might have been defined by our preferences, race, language, background, either positively or negatively. But right now our identity is entirely rooted and secure in Christ. He defines us and gives us meaning. We are complete in Him. No matter what happens we are still part of the Divine Vine.

Nourished in Christ:

The branches are nourished by the Vine. They bear fruit. It will dry and wither out without the sustaining power of the Vine.

The same is true for us who are in Christ. We can do nothing without Him. He nourished and sustains us and enables us to bear fruit. It’s essential for us to be in communion with Him. For apart from Christ we are dead, with no hope for survival. Let us yearn to be like Paul, who counted himself dead apart from Christ (Galatians 2:20).

Condemnation vs. Conviction

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I have already written very briefly about this, but I think that this is such an important topic that it deserves further importance.

It all began when one of my friends told me that he was struggling a bit with his spiritual life. He was struggling with sin in his life and he was going through a rough time. He felt that he could not pray because he felt unholy and distant from God. I immediately pointed him to the Gospel. It’s not like our “Holiness” earns our right with God. We never had any right to His presence in the first place. Like Jerry Bridges says, we no more need God’s grace in our worst days than we need it in our best days.  So it’s by the person and work of Jesus Christ that we can come to the father. When we are struggling with sin, we need God more, he’s the healer. We do not tell the doctor “Sorry I am ill. I will come and see you when I am well”. Jesus says that he did not come for the righteous, but for the sinners (Luke 5:32).

So what was he feeling?
Condemnation.
How is it different from conviction?

Condemnation:

The bible is clear that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Condemnation is from the devil, he’s the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). Condemnation leads you to falsely believe that the wrath of God still rests on you. If you’re in Christ Jesus, its gone. It’s no more. Jesus paid for it on the cross. Condemnation leads to despair. It keeps us from going to the One who can save us, thus leading to a never-ending cycle of sin and condemnation.

Conviction:

The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin (John 16:8). He reminds us of God’s moral law when we walk contrary to it. He’s our spiritual Guide (John 16:13). Conviction leads to Godly sorrow and repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). It does not lead us away from God, but rather pushes us towards Him. Conviction reminds us of our lack of holiness while leading us to the source of our holiness, Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30).

The battle lines are drawn. There is no middle ground. Let us press on with our eyes fixed on Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Let us press on, fighting every besetting sin that clings so tightly (Hebrews 12:1). When Satan throws your sins at your face, when you feel like you can’t approach God, remember that Jesus paid the price for your sins, He has made you as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). Run to Him, you will find peace and forgiveness in Him.

Be wary of the screen (the digital one)

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Kevin DeYoung has an interesting article about the rise of internet addiction, especially for Christians. While the article is primarily about internet and computers, I think the arguments can be easily extended to mobiles phones and television as well. Our constant need for new information and entertainment decreases our attention spans and makes us crave instant information. 

In my own life I have observed how these things can easily eat up the time we spend with God. While I do not advocate the view that all media/internet is bad, I do think that we need a certain amount of discretion of what kind and how much of media we consume.

More on the Gospel Coalition.

Savior

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Savior, you are faithful and true,
Em C

Healer, you heal all our wounds,
D G

Father, you watch over us,
Em C

Comforter, you live in us.
D G

You carry us when we cant go on
Em C

You lift us when our strength fails us
G D

We Worship you
Em D Em

We bow our knees to you.
Em D Em

Surrender Saved My Soul

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I have tried and failed, again
Is this who I am?
What do I need to do?
How do I know what is true?

The mistakes I’ve made,
Come haunt me again,
What do I need to do?
How do I know what is true

Surrender, I surrender, I surrender all to you,
Everything that I have done, every mistake I have made,
I give it all up to you

You have made me whole, filled up the empty hole,
Surrender saved my soul.

Rapping Romans

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Whats happened to the life we livin?
We’re running behind darkness like all is forgiven?
Yes it has been, if the old man is a ‘has been’,
If the new man’s happening, why do we keep trespassin?
Not under the law, but under Grace,
grace is not just a word to save our face.
Through Christ our Lord all our sins are ‘has beens’,
But do we take this grace for granted?
Our knowledge of Grace is sub standard.

Its something a we know through the grace of God,
Feel it and know it inside our heart,
You can hear a pastor preach or a teacher teach,
Grace comes to us where a mans voice can’t reach,
Its God coming to save us, in the person and work of Christ Jesus.
Still we are all dying of thirst,
God fills us and gives us new birth.
Nothing can fill you in all the earth
If you lose your soul whats then whats it worth?

God has saved us, now we are living,
If we are saved why do we keep sinning?
The old man is alive and kicking,
Instead of feeding the heart what are we injecting?
Searching the scripture for our minds renewal
Or looking to follow the crowd for mans approval?
Are we in denial of the truth or in denial of the flesh?
Take up the cross and following Christ, we must progress,
We need a Holy intervention to stop sin’s occupation.

A Little Honesty, Please.

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We as Christians sometimes feel the pressure to be show ourselves as perfect and sinless to the world. Everyone has fallen in to that trap. I know I have. If we are honest with ourselves, we are not perfect, not even close. The apostle Paul called himself the worst of sinners. This portrayal of a perfect Christian life is a stumbling block to many Christians. Recently, I had a friend who was reluctant to talk about certain struggles in his life. I inferred that he was ashamed that he was going through this, and if he was a “good Christian” he wouldn’t have to go through this. I reminded him that no one is perfect. I was a mess when Christ found me, I wasn’t cleaned up overnight, and I’m sure that the He wouldn’t be finished with me till the day I die.

We all need brothers and sisters in Christ to help us and hold us up in times of struggle and doubt. God is not finished working with us. Anything that is a “work in progress” is bound to have a few bumps, but rest assured we are being made perfect after the image of Christ. We will reach Heaven. He who began a good work in us WILL bring it to completion.

In the meantime let us not mask our struggles and put on a brave face. God doesn’t require that. Let us support our brothers and sisters and walk with them without judgement. Lets be a bit more honest about ourselves, shall we? For our sake and other.

Walking in the Wilderness and God’s Purposes in Suffering

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We have all gone through a seasons of wilderness in our lives, seasons when everything seems to go wrong, when we cry out to God and all we can hear from Heaven is silence. As with everything even through periods of suffering, God brings about His purposes which are always for our good and His glory.

When I was going through a season of what seemed like a wilderness in my life, God used Deuteronomy 8 to show some of the reasons for this period in our lives.

  1. Humbles, tests and reveals our hearts :

    And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.
    (Deuteronomy 8:2 ESV)

    Suffering brings out the worst in everyone. It shows the pride in our hearts, it reveals in who or what we have placed our trust. It forces us to get on our knees and acknowledge our dependence on God. It reveals the intentions behind our desires. Tribulation is the flame that tests and strengthens faith.

  2. God’s grace is revealed in suffering:

    Verses 3 to 5 tell us that even though it seems like God is far away, He always takes care of His people. In the Israelites’ case God was supernaturally taking care of their needs and providing for them in the desert. They had no choice but to depend on Him for food everyday, and every morning was a reminder that God never forsakes those who trust in Him.

  3. Means of Discipline:

    Sometimes God uses the iron rod of suffering to chasten us. But they are never wounds of punishment, but rather to bring us to repentance. He always has compassion on His people and He never leaves us. Like a Father even his wounds are meant to chasten and bring healing

  4. To bring blessings in to perspective:

    Its very easy to get lost enjoying the gift that we sometimes lose sight of the giver. When God grants us good things the pride in our hearts make us think that its our own strength that has accomplished things. Periods of suffering sometimes precede blessings to prepare our hearts to receive them and give glory to God.

  5. Do us Good:
     …to do you good in the end.
    (Deuteronomy 8:16 ESV)

    Sometimes we can’t see God’s purposes in suffering. Sometimes its never revealed to us in this side of eternity. But we can rest in the fact that whatever happens its all works out for our good in the end (Romans 8:28).

Five Commands in Psalm 37

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Psalm 37 has a lot of similarities to the wisdom literature in the bible, like Proverbs. It contrasts the apparent prosperity of the wicked to the faithful persevering in the Lord. Underneath this theme, there are five commands that are given to people of God, to follow. They are principles of faith to live by when we feel like questioning the faithfulness of God.

  • Don’t be anxious :

The first command is to not “fret”. It means not be anxious of circumstances. Being a Christian means that we will face trials, life will be hard and sometimes it will seems that other people have it easy and being a Christian seems to have no obvious benefit. In this context, the Psalmist tells us not to be envious of evil men who seem to prosper without God.

  • Trust in the Lord:

As a follow up on the command to not be anxious the Psalmist expounds that the right response to anxiety is to trust the wisdom of God. Though we cannot always see the goodness and judgement of God, we can be rest assured that God works through our trials and tribulations for out joy and His glory. Though it seems that Godless people might be prospering in the end they will wither away and come to nothing.

  • Delight in the Lord:

Almost as a step by step process from anxiety to joy, the Psalmist asks us to delight in the Lord. The word “delight” means ‘to have or take great pleasure; to be greatly pleased or rejoiced’. As we trust God with our situations and circumstances we can rejoice in the and take joy in the fact that God is in control. We find our joy in Christ.

The Psalmist also says that as we delight in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. This means that as we learn to delight in Him, our desires and wants are changes more and more to reflect God’s will and righteousness. And as our heart desires the right things, our Heavenly Father grants them to us.

  • Commit your ways to the Lord:

Sometimes when circumstances turn bad its easy to act according to our flesh and do things that we wouldn’t otherwise do. Here the Psalmist urges us to commit our ways to the Lord in all circumstances and to trust in Him to act. He will bring forth the truth even when we are falsely accused and reviled because we refuse to bow down to a lie.

  • Be still and patient:

Even though we have all these precious promises from God, it doesn’t always seem to work on time. But God works according to His timing, which is always perfect. Therefore we are commanded to be still and patient before the Lord. We are therefore called to wait before God because in the end we will always be saved and delivered from all our troubles.