Monday, April 26, 2010

The following is a blog post I wrote a couple of weeks ago for my friend Donna Stuart. She leads a ministry called Masterpiece. She is a dear friend. If you are a young woman, 18 - 25 years of age, I cannot commend her ministry enough to you! For more information, go here.

"Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities." Isaiah 53:11

"And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, 'Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but your, be done.' And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." Luke 22:41 - 43

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1 - 2

Have you ever felt the weight of your sin? Maybe you had secret thoughts in your heart, thoughts that never saw the light of day, thoughts that hadn't resulted in action (yet), that were suddenly found out? Have you felt the crushing heaviness? The shame? If you haven't, I pray you will. And if you have, take heart, it is God's sweet mercy.

As I read the verse in Isaiah, I couldn't help but picture Jesus in the garden praying, knowing and seeing (as Isaiah says) what was before Him. Yes, the act of crucifixion was excruciating, not to mention the beatings and betrayal he endured, but in addition to all of that, He took on our iniquities. He bore the weight, the heaviness, the shame of our sin. He became a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). Imagine feeling the gravity of your sin times every person you know. It is but a small fraction of what Jesus felt.

He knew what was before Him. He saw it. He saw my sin. He saw your sin. He felt the immense weight of it. And yet it says "for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross." And, that His soul would "see and be satisfied." How is that possible? It's possible because Jesus saw further than our sin. He saw what His enduring the cross would purchase: a people for Himself, called by His name, made for His glory, no longer seeking their own glory, captives set free, sinners made righteous.

Sin is real. It is heavy. It costs. On this side of heaven, it is going to happen. We will seek comfort and value in our idols instead of the one true God.

But...

There is Jesus. He is the Author: the cross and what it purchased is His idea, His story. He is the Perfecter: He will squeeze each idol out of our hearts, we are to but trust and obey Him.

What does it look like to trust and obey Him? First John 1:9 says "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Sister, do not let the heaviness of sin weigh you down to the point of defeat. If you are in Christ, there is no defeat. Confess your sins to Him. Find a sister in Christ whom you trust and confess to her. Dig into the Word. Flee temptation. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you strength if even in fleeing you are met with temptation. Lastly, but importantly, thank Him. Praise Him for seeing the agony before Him and enduring it with joy and satisfaction.

Father, I thank You for giving Your perfect Son. Jesus, thank You for laying Your life down fully knowing what that would entail. Holy Spirit, help me to abide in You. Cleanse my deceitful heart, so prone to wander. Thank You for the body of believers in which You have set me to work out my salvation with fear and trembling. May You be glorified.

5 comments:

Lauren Madison said...

Thank you for this Truth eloquently written. You don't know me, but I like so many others have been praying for you, your husband and your whole family- including your family of Believers at The Village. All praise, honor and glory to the Author and Perfecter of our Faith who is sustaining you and your family with His mercy and grace! You guys are a blessing and encouragement to so many. Keep writing :)

prayers and blessings,
your sister in Texas

Erin said...

I am so thankful for Jesus and what He does in the lives of His children. Thank you for sharing this. :)

We are praying for your family.

The McEvilly's said...

Lauren, thank you for sharing this post. It was such an encouragement. I go to Watermark in Dallas but love and pray for what God is doing at The Village. I found your blog through Kim Hughes' blog (love her!). Hope you dont mind this stranger reading about what God is doing in your life. Praying for you and your family daily. -Erin

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lauren! I'm not an 18-25 year old girl. I'm a 43 year old sinful man who needed to read this today. -Rob

Anonymous said...

Dear Matt & Lauren,

My husband and I live in Houston and have known of the two of you for many years now, as do many believers across Texas. We do not however, know the experience and trial of cancer.

After visiting New Spring Church in Anderson, SC last summer, my husband has been in touch with a few members from its congregation. He shared the following video with me today:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4Qb1qdXn4o

I hope in some way, it is encouragement in as much as Philippians 1:21 is encouragement.

Our prayers are with you, your family and church,
The McNairs