Yesterday was a really good day. I didn’t blatantly disobey God, I battled my temptations and won, I read the Bible and I prayed. This morning I woke up joyful and peaceful because of yesterday’s successes.
Today was not a good day. I didn’t feel like praying when I woke up this morning, I at least once blatantly disobeyed God and sinned, I have only prayed in “repentant” mode and I’ve barely read the Bible today. Unfortunately, the majority of my days look like today rather than yesterday; which leads me into a depressed mindset all too frequently. I often ask myself, “Where is the joy that Jesus said I would have?”
The Holy Spirit reminded me today, as He has had to repeatedly before, that I am too centered in on myself. Naturally, I tend to think and act as though God’s attitude toward me is dependent on my behavior. I gauge my actions and allow them to dictate my joy and peace rather than looking to the Cross of Jesus Christ to be my source of joy and peace.
I fail to remember that God sees me not as I am, but as Christ is. All because 2,000 years ago He chose to see Jesus not as He was, but as I am; evil, rebellious, selfish and vile. Not only did God decide to see me instead of Jesus on the Cross, but He also treated Jesus as He should have treated me. The Father poured out the cup of wrath He had stored up for me [even for the sins that I have committed and will commit this week] while Jesus drank every drop of it.
God has already dealt with the sin that had previously formed a chasm between Him and us. When we trusted in Christ, we were clothed in His divine perfection because He was clothed in our carnal condemnation on the Cross. The problem is that we struggle so hard to wake up every day and realize that gifted cloak of righteousness is still covering us just as efficiently as it did the day we first believed. When our spiritual eyes start getting directed away from the Cross, they often turn inward and gaze upon ourselves, which is a very dangerous place for them to look. Though we can all say that we are growing in holiness, we would be denying reality to say that we are still not dealing with the evil nature of our old selves every minute of every day. If we focus on the downfalls and evils that are still present in us without remembering the peace God has established through the Cross, madness and desperation are inevitable. And the more we focus on ourselves and try bettering our behaviors, the worse we become. But, ironically, the more we trust in Christ’s finished work and believe that God joyfully sees us at all times through the lens of the Cross, the behaviors we hate start improving.
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— “- Philippians 3:8-9
We can’t work and earn our way into God’s favor. It can only be received as a gift through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God is pleased with me, and with you, because we have trusted in the work of His Son.
That’s good news!
Matt Moore †