Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Chains Are Gone

For the past couple of weeks, a war has waged in my heart: a war between the Spirit and my flesh (which has found an ally in the whispered lies of the enemy). I have lived between the tension of grace and shame. There have been moments that I have gratefully sought shelter in the shadow of the Cross and moments that I have tried to climb up on that Cross and blasphemously become my own messiah.

As I sat the other night listening to traditional hymns and carols sung in worship (as was their original intention), the words of the songs washed over me. One song in particular was Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone). As I sang the words, the enemy (and my heart) condemned me saying, you can't sing those words honestly...you still have some pretty heavy chains.

But then...

Grace spoke. The Holy Spirit shut the mouth of the enemy and my heart. He said, yes, your chains ARE gone. Jesus, God wrapped in flesh, Emmanuel, came and lived the life you should have but couldn't and died the death you should have but won't. And that's not all. He rose and intercedes for you even now.

"for whenever our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything." (1 John 3:20)

AND HE KNOWS EVERYTHING.

He knows the filth I've thought. He knows the self-righteousness I've felt. And yet He does not condemn me!

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." (Romans 8:1 - 4)

My chains ARE gone!
I HAVE been set free!
My God MY Savior has ransomed me!
And like a flood, His MERCY reigns...
Unending love, amazing GRACE!

24 comments:

Mary said...

AMEN! :)

Thank you for writing and posting this post I definitely needed to read that in this season of my life.

God bless! And thank you again!

Tabaitha Kaye said...

Beautiful reminder!

Melissa said...

Thank you for sharing your heart with us Lauren. I love the sweetness of your spirit. Your willingness and to be vulnerable and humbled is always so inspiring and humbling at the same time. You are a sweet blessing in my life and the lives of so many. Thank you!

Naomi said...

That is an amazing verse... Thank you for sharing.

Julie Keefe said...

Mmhmm. Thank you so much, Lauren. Your words are my thoughts...my longings, pleadings, sorrows. Thanks for obeying God and rejecting housework. That is some
submission I can get behind. ;).

Joseph said...

Praise the Lord! Followed this from Matt Chandler's twitter link.

Rich truth I needed this morning.

Michael Miller said...

Having stood by confused as a loved one struggled with her identity in Christ and what it meant, I can feel just what you're talking about.

I've found Lynne Fox's book on the subject incredibly helpful (see her site at http://biblegrapes.com/).

And I find myself noticing identity-related song lyrics more (e.g., Tenth Avenue North's You Are More).

Those secondary sources are good, especially to the extent that they point us back, as you have, to the Word.

Thank you for being real & sharing with the world.

journal said...

Lauren, how beautiful!

Liz's Chatter said...

This is great. Thanks for the reminder; My Chains Are Gone!

Erin said...

Lauren, this is a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your heart, being vulnerable. Our chains are gone, He has set us free. PRAISE HIM!!!!!!

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Amanda said...

Preach!

Kyndra said...

You articulated what I often feel so much better than I ever could. The Lord has undoubtedly gifted you as a writer for His glory, and you ARE bringing Him glory with posts like this that are written with such humility and dependance on JESUS. You are such a great encouragement to me to love/trust Him more as I struggle to believe/claim the awesome truth of the gospel.

Marc and Charity said...

Amen! I needed to read that today. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

glad you wrote this instead of ironing.
MLI

Joseph Louthan said...

i had to double check 1 John 3:20. I could not believe what I was reading.

For all the Jeremiah 17:9 and yes, there is no doubt that my heart is wicked. But here is the gospel: God is greater than my own wicked heart.

There is no condemnation. Better yet, who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died, more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God who is indeed interceding for us.

Now I get to sit as the Holy Spirit clears my mind.

Reese said...

Thank you Jesus for Lauren and her transparency.... Bless her and hold her. Amen.

Mrs.Olson said...

AMEN !
That was perfect. Thank you so much for being to transparent.

TJ Wilson said...

PTL.
Good for my heart to hear that message this week.
Blessed Christmas to you all -

Lynne Fox said...

Have you read Bruce Narramore's book, No Condemnation? It is incredibly freeing. It makes the no condemnation of Romans 8:1 so tangible. I review it on my website, http://jzjopwww.biblegrapes.com. Hope it blesses you. And thanks, Mike MIller, for your post on this blog that alerted me to it's presence.

Team Green said...

Thank you.

Kelly said...

Pride is so powerful. Even as I was going through chemotherapy, I had times of wanting to try to be in control. SO freeing to realize and I am not in control and that I belong to Who is. Thank you for being real. God has used you to encourage me. He redeems our struggles for His glory and our refinement.

Suzy Sypert said...

I've been thinking about your post for a few days. Glad to know I'm not alone. There are strugglers and there are pretenders right.

Oksana Kipko said...

This is so beautiful. I had goose bumps just reading it. Thank you for opening up your heart. Gods amazing grace gets me every time. Thank God that there is now no condemnation for us who are in Christ Jesus. What a relief and joy!

chair up said...

I've just found your blog in a very round-about way via Jon Acuff, and I'm very happy :o)
This post gets me where I'm at right now. All I can do is have a vision of myself wrapped in the righteousness of Christ and walk in that reality moment by moment, breath by breath.
I'm looking forward to following your blog.
Angex