Sunday, September 7, 2008

Today's "Grace Gem"

I subscribe to a daily devotional called "Grace Gems". They are snippets of Puritan sermons and essays. I found today's particularly encouraging.

I know it is easy to get "down" on ourselves. We can be too introspective, and dwell on our sins and failings to the point that even our dwelling can be sin. There is a quote by Robert Murray McCheyne that helps to put these things in perspective. It goes something like this:

"For every look you take at yourself (your sin), take ten thousand looks at Jesus."

Today's "Grace Quote" complements that advice, in reassuring us of Christ's love for us, that depends not on our goodness, but on His grace. Here it is:

When He discovers repulsive things in us
(J. R. Miller, "The Every Day of Life" 1892)

"Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end!" John 13:1

Jesus takes us as we are, and does not get weary of us--whatever faults and sins He discovers in us. There is infinite comfort in this for us. We are conscious of our faults, blemishes and infirmities; and the unworthiness and the unloveliness which is in our souls.

Many of us have pages in our biography, which we would not dare to spread out before the eyes of anyone!There are in our inner heart--feelings, desires, longings, cravings, jealousies, motives--which we would not feel secure in laying bare to our dearest, truest, and most patient and gentle friend. Yet Christ knows them all.

Nothing is hidden from His eyes. To Him there is perfect revealing of the innermost springs of our being. Yet we need not be afraid that His friendship for us will change, or grow less, or withdraw itself--when He discovers repulsive things in us. Yet He loves us--loves unto the uttermost! Christ loves us not according to our worthiness--but according to the richness of His own gracious heart!

"May you have the power to understand, as all God's people should--how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it!" Ephesians 3:18-19


Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Grace covers all. Grace & Love are the ultimate motivators and encouagers.

~Amy :)

Bino M. said...

Amen! Great encouraging words!

William said...

The world, under Satan's dominion, operates under a Satanic principle of rejection/acceptance. Persons who do not conform to what the world expects from them are rejected in an attempt to coerce compliance, and those who play by the rules - rules the world approves - are accepted and lavished with rewards.

Christ's Kingdom operates in a completely different manner. Christ climbed on the cross for us while we were yet unacceptable, while we were living in defiance of His "rules", and paid the price that we might be accepted by the Father unconditionally.

As Robert S. McGee explains in his work (endorsed by Billy Graham) "The Search for Significance: We can build our self-worth on our ability to please others, or on the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ" this acceptance process in Christ's Kingdom is a four step process:

1.) Propitiation
Sin if paid for

2.) Justification
We are justified by Christ's blood in God's sight

3.) Reconciliation
Once justified, we are eligible for reconciliation with Him from whom we were alienated

4.) Rengeneration
We become a "new creation"; dying to the old self, putting on a new self

All this is God's work; we cannot merit it or earn it - we stand absolved. Feeling of worthlessness before God because of our failures, past and present, are flaming arrows from the devil, not from God.

In your case, I also wonder if echoes of your Catholic background with it's emphasis on works and its pointing to an allegedly immaculate and perfect Mary are factors (same as Satan).

Maureen said...

William I am sure that my Catholic background does have some bearing on my tendency to want to perform for God and others. Being in that system, and being loyal to its teachings, meant a continual self cross-examination to make sure that all sin was confessed and dealt with according to the rules of the Church.

Years later as a Christian came sitting under much Reformed teaching, with an emphasis on man's total depravity. I guess some of us are just more susceptible to focus on our own failings, even, as I said in my post, to the point of that being sin in itself. Thank God that He doesn't hold that against us either!

"If you LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared." Psalm 130:2-4

William said...

I certainly hope you will never view my posts as patronizing. I don't offer solutions or advice because I think I know better, or what is good for you, I simply pass on what God has shown me on a given subject, even if I haven't mastered the issue myself.

I do not write the above in response to anything you wrote here or elsewhere, I just wanted to be on record as regards where I am coming from - I don't think I have all the answers; I do think He does.

Maureen said...

Bill I would never consider you to be patronizing. I always appreciate what you have to say. It's just that you always seem to be three steps ahead of me in these things! ;o)

Please keep stopping by. You have much that is worthwhile to say, and that will encourage all of us.