Thursday, April 16, 2015

God redeems everything.

'Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."

Who I have been and who I am now. I have always wrestled with how my mistakes fit into the person I am today. They are not who I am today but I cannot deny that they have molded my character and decisions. In my lowest moments I find myself identifying with the most unforgivable parts of myself. Deciding that because I have done bad, I am bad. In these moments, I beg God to fill me with the truth that reminds me I am redeemed because I am his. I find comfort in the Word that tells me there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.

How beautiful is that? You cannot undo what has already been done but you are free from it. You cannot rewrite the past, nor should you want to. Grace does not erase the past, it erases the shame. You can no longer be condemned and you can no longer condemn yourself. Recently, I lost sight of this beautiful fact and allowed myself to identify with the past and condemn what has already been forgiven. In a simple exchange with a friend I found a powerful reminder.

"I suck at relationships." I stated clearly and concisely with as much fact as the grass is green. 2+2=4 and Emily sucks at relationships. Those are the facts of life. I went on, "I suck at relationships. I am just bad at commitment and the work that goes into relationships. It has always been this way." My friend did not for one minute allow me to send out the invitations to that pity party. Instead she dropped truth in the form of a text message:

"God redeems everything. Even your past. Nothing remains untouched."

A simple declaration of God's redeeming power. Those words struck me right in my little heart. It spoke to me in more ways than the sender knows. She thought she was speaking into the current thoughts I was wrestling with regarding dating. It was more than that. 

I allowed myself to soak in that message as truth about all areas of my life. God redeems everything. All of it. Nothing remains untouched. Honestly, I imagined God coming through with a broom sweeping up broken glass, calmly shaking hands with people I cut off in traffic, apologizing to that girl in 10th grade I called ugly and cleaning up every metaphorical mess I ever made. I was also slapped in the face with every single time I limited God's redeeming power by assuming it was not enough to cover my sin. Somehow God has a way of coming in and clearing up the mess we've been tirelessly trying clean up to ourselves. As I have been searching through my little soul lately to decide who I am and who I want to be and unrelenting thoughts of past events beg for me to stake my identity in them, God comes in to remind me that none of that matters. 

While I feel berated with all of the baggage;  I have ADHD. My parents are divorced. I am not a spectacular student. I had eating disorder. I've hurt people I love. I can be selfish. I speak before I think. I have compromised my integrity. The list could go on forever. I have past and present struggles in which I could and sometimes do place my identity. Occasionally, I fall into the trap of mistaking what I have done with who I am. But none of those things are me because God redeems everything. 

The kick ass thing about God and grace and Jesus is nothing holds any power in my life anymore besides the fact that I am His.That's the thing about identity, when yours is in him nothing else really matters. When we're talking about eternity, who you were on the 17th of April in 2015 is irrelevant. Events of your past only define your today if you allow them to. Only what you accept as your truth becomes your truth. The past only becomes part of your identity when you allow it to seep into your heart and take up home in your thoughts.

His freedom is your freedom. His Grace is your Grace. His redemption is yours. His truth is your truth. Regardless. Choosing to accept his freedom, Grace, redemption and truth allows you to walk in his light without shame or guilt. I have the ability to decide where my identity is and I pick Him. I pick the redeeming, renewing gift that was won on the cross. I pick to be forgiven and shame free. I pick to be new, everyday. Not because I deserve it but because he freely gives it to me. The most fantastic thing about Grace is that it's free and it's yours too.

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