“For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God”
2 Corinthians 5:12
Today I am sitting in a coffee shop doing what all white girls do. Sipping on a flat white, reading my Bible and journaling. As I walked here I prayed that I would talk to someone about the Hope that Jesus is. I’m watching Him transform the lives of students I work with, and while that seems like enough, there are so many other people in this city who do not know Him. Did I pray that prayer with much faith? No. Because not many people I talk to ever want to hear about a Saviour. It’s ludicrous to most. But me of little faith, got an answer to that simple prayer.
As I’m sitting and reading, the man down the table asked what I was studying. I told Him I was reading the Bible and He asked what the happiest part of the book was. When I told Him that it was the death of Jesus his eyebrows furrowed and he looked so confused. “How is that the best part?” He asked. Then I was able to tell Him about the redemption that came from a perfect man bearing our sins on the cross. His response to the thought of a perfect man was laughter. He moved our conversation on to tell me how He believes God lives in him and is a part of his being. He quickly changed the subject and told me about the book he was writing.
While this man didn’t believe much of what I said, it’s still so comforting to know that it wasn’t up to the words I told him. It’s not up to the words of any person who tells the good news of Christ, but it’s all up to Jesus and the saving power He uses to transform people’s hearts.
I have to be reminded of this daily. Throughout Lent I have been asking the Lord to show me my sin. Risky stuff, I know. My first prayers were timid and not prayed with much faith. After being convicted of my disobedience to actually want to know my sin, my prayers became bolder. I was ready to hear what my sin was so that I could be transformed by this same power. My desire in praying this prayer is so I can be the best picture of Jesus I can be to those around me. I won’t sit and tell you all my sins, but the one that keeps coming back (every. day.) is my desire for the approval of people. In my human flesh I try to do it all on my own, to say yes, and for all of that be done with the motive of the approval of other people. I denied it. I told God that He was crazy and that I always want Him to get the glory. Conviction kept growing and growing and my desire for the approval of Jesus grew more and more. He is enough and His approval is all I need. Praise be to God, that I already have it!
In this sin I have realized how far it makes me run from God. It is placing my hope in myself and others and not the Hope that He is. I am doing a She Reads Truth study of Isaiah through Lent and Kaitlin Wernet wrote a beautiful and timely truth to go along with what we read in Isaiah 31. She wrote:
“The promises we make to ourselves and others—to be more, to do better, to show up—can only ever be based on future hope. But God’s promises—to love us, to fight for our good, to never leave—are hinged on His current character and constant devotion. We can only hope to be consistent; He is constant.”
Praise the Lord that He is constant. He is the One who never changes even when I fail Him daily. It comforts me to know that nothing I do is up to me, but it’s all up to Him. When I rest in that truth I am able to walk in so much more freedom. I do not go through life trying to attain something from this world, but in confidence that all I am is in Christ. I’m daily being challenged by the Lord to walk in this freedom and confidence. This freedom has changed so much of how I interact with people. I don’t focus on the words I will say or the things I will do, but instead rest in the power of Jesus to transform lives. And He has the power to do it.
Take heart today, dear friends. Because nothing you do is up to you, it’s all up to the One who has the power to save. If you find yourself looking for constant approval of others, stop stressing. You have the approval of the One who set the stars in motion, and isn’t that enough?
Hebrews 12:28-29 says, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is consuming fire.” What a truth that sets captives free and binds up the brokenhearted. I’ve seen this same power at work in the children of God and I pray my only response is to worship the Lord with reverence and awe. He is worthy of our worship.