An old/new/fresh challenge.

I’m playing a live music event tomorrow and this morning, in preparation, I was going through a couple of my old song books and refreshing some lyrics that I’d written.

And as I was going through one of the books, I found an old journal entry that I must have written 4 or 5 years ago. And as often happens to me when I re-read old journal entries or songs, the words speak to me afresh in the moment. So I thought I’d just share them with you.

This is my old/new/fresh challenge.

I think sometimes things that were once vitally important get lost in the pride and chaos of our everyday lives. That’s why I began to keep a journal two years ago. It’s good to write things down; to remember; to reflect. The things that we remember are the things that we think of often and live for the most. A bit like when C.S. Lewis said that those Christians who are most effective in this world are those who are most preoccupied with the next. Where our treasure is, our heart is, and vice versa.

I never really got that. I thought I did, but until recently it was words on a page. Letters that made sense in my mind, but not in my heart.

And sometimes time’s a false healer. I forget that I have offended a Holy God because I don’t like to admit that my soul is like a wild untamed beast. I justify my actions because somewhere deep inside I think that I couldn’t help it. I believe that I tried my best and that my best should be good enough. I blame other people because they wronged me first. I compare my wrongdoings to those of others with a prideful, judgemental heart that thinks, ‘at least I’m not that bad.’

Throughout my life, time has sometimes numbed the impact of my sin. My hardened heart which had become forgetful over time. And forgetfulness without repentance meant that I lived in darkness and shame, instead of bringing things into the light to be forgiven and dealt with my the Eternal God forever and always.

I’d cheapened grace through my bad memory. And if I’m completely honest with myself, it was a deliberately bad memory.

Because when I take a real look at my sin, it’s not a pretty picture. And it’s easy to fool myself because often my actions are ‘pretty’ good. I might led worship one Sunday or speak in church, or lead the youth group. I might give to the homeless guy on the corner, or speak to the person that has no friends, or pray and really good prayer with my friends. And lots and lots of people might think that I’m running really hard for God.

But when I stand before this Creator, all powerful God, who loves me more than anyone or anything in this world, His Truth penetrates through that façade. And He sees my pride, my wrong motives, my envy, my false humility and the lust of the flesh. He sees my secret thoughts, my every wrong desire and my every distracted daydream. He sees it all. And He bids me bring it into His light, where it can be turned from and forgiven. Because only in His light am I free.

Because when I take a real look at my sin, it’s then I begin to glimpse the beauty and the wonder and the cost of grace. That in my pride, my wrong motives, my envy, my lose humility and the lust of the flesh, His light pierces, shatters and eradicates my darkness. My sin is not sin to Him. His forgiveness is both beautiful and complete. His blood rewrites my history and my future. His healing and hope is full and perfect. My sin is not a pretty picture but yet grace speaks me into one. In realising that I have never fooled God, I also realise that He always pursued me and always did everything to be close to me. In seeing the forgiven-much-darkness I can walk into the loving-much light. I can really run hard after God. So that my secret thoughts become His, my motives become genuine and my daydreams are rooted in the eternal rather than the temporary. In my weakness I see His strength.

And that… Is beautiful.

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