Hebrews 12:1-2 says,
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. (NLT)
Jesus is always working in us as we keep our eyes fixed on Him!
Don’t make the big deal about what you do (how you behave). Just a warning though: This may make some people (self-righteous people) mad.
Make the big deal about what Jesus has done for you through His finished work on the cross.
This way of doing life will remove the heavy weight you may be carrying of trying to fix yourself. It will also bring you great peace and cause your biehavior to improve. Yes, you read that correctly. This way of approaching life will cause you to grow in Christ.
Right believing leads to right living!
You will be changed by the Holy Spirit as you keep your eyes on Jesus! See 2 Corinthians 3:18.
Here’s an example from my own life that just happened today:
I was sick today and had to miss the last day of volunteering at JUMP Camp. I started getting a sore throat yesterday about mid-day and it turned into a cold and flu type thing. I’m sitting here in my bed in the same pajamas I woke up in, just to give you an idea.
I do not believe God puts sickness on us or that He allows it, but I do believe there are times when we experience negative circumstances in our life as a result of the natural consequences that come along with our poor choices. This is what happened to me today.
I explained in my last blog post about the importance of getting enough sleep and admitted that this has been a difficult discipline for me.
During the past two weeks while volunteering at JUMP camp I was hoping to get on a better sleeping schedule, but I didn’t follow through as I should have.
I may have gotten a full 8 hours of sleep 2 out of the 7 nights. This left me with 5 other nights where I got less than 8 hours and on two or more of those occassions I got between 4 and 5 hours of sleep. NOT cool.
Thank God the lack of sleep didn’t affect my interactions with the kids or adults at camp because it could have caused me to be crabby. I shouldn’t have taken that chance.
I’m very thankful I wasn’t crabby, but felt peaceful the whole two weeks (whew). I did experience some tired spells at different times throughout the day though.
Then yesterday about midday it hit me, I started getting a sore throat. I get sick so very little that this was a surprise to me until I remembered how very little sleep I had been getting.
In fact, as I was typing this it came back to me that the last time I got sick was during a time when I wasn’t getting the right amount of sleep either. And I have no excuses.
I could have gotten in bed earlier if I really wanted to. So I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I need help in this area.
Something very important I want to point out though, is that I have had zero guilt and condemnation over this. I’ve been sad that I disobeyed God by not getting in bed when I should have, that I had to miss my last day of JUMP camp and also had to miss another very special event tonight that our family was invited to… but not one ounce of guilt or condemnation.
I have a closer relationship with God now than I’ve ever had before so, of course, it makes me sad when I disregard His leading, but my genuine act of repentance didn’t take all day and it never does for me anymore. I already know I’m loved, righteous and forgiven in Christ and I think about that A LOT. In fact, I meditate on these Biblical truths everday!
The Bible says it’s God’s goodness that leads us to repentance, which is why I’m quicker to repent now than ever before. It’s the natural result of having my mind on God’s goodness so often. I hope you’re experiencing this same freedom!
As a believer in Jesus your position of being loved, righteous and forgiven never changes according to what you do or fail to do. It was never established based on you to begin with. Your position in Christ is established on what Jesus Christ did on the cross for you and your acceptance of that.
Even though I know I opened the door for this sickness by allowing my immune system to get worn down through my disobedience (lack of sleep), I’m fully expecting to get over this very quickly. It’s not like I have to be sick for a certain amount of days to pay my dues and then I’m clear. This is not a punishment from God.
In the new covenant of God’s grace we don’t get punished for our sin, thanks to Jesus. He already took all the punishment for all of our sin in His body on the cross. His willingness to go to the cross changed everything!
I also want to be sure I clarify that every time we are sick or have a negative circumstance, this does not always mean we’re living out natural consequences from some choice we’ve made. Many times these things just happen as a result of us living in a fallen world. The devil will continue to attack us until that glorious day when God throws him into the fiery lake of burning sulphur.
Revelation 20:10 (NLT)
Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Seriously, I’m just sayin’ – this is going to be one of the happiest days of my life!
But until this day arrives, we have to fight the good fight of faith and remember that we have authority over the devil.
Fight the good fight of the faith [in the conflict with evil]; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and [for which] you made the good confession [of faith] in the presence of many witnesses. –1 Timothy 6:12 (AMP)
Ok, I just got a fresh revelation on the importance of us knowing we are completely forgiven in conjunction with us walking in our authority in Christ from reading these next two verses.
14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, He disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by His victory over them on the cross. (NLT)
Jesus paid our debt and secured our complete forgiveness. ‘In this way’ He disarmed and shamed the devil and his demons by His victory over them on the cross. Then He gave this authority to us, His followers!
Through the cross, the authority Adam and Eve handed over to satan has now been handed back to us believers – all because of Jesus.
See, I told you the cross changed everything!
Luke 10:19 (AMP)
19 Listen carefully: I have given you authority [that you now possess] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and [the ability to exercise authority] over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will [in any way] harm you.
My good friend Cally had to fight the good fight of faith and remember her authority in Christ recently as she got some routine blood tests and her numbers were really high, indicating possible cancer.
Her doctor wanted to do exploratory surgery. I watched her rest in Jesus’ finished work and all that He has provided for her. From that place of rest I also watched her follow through on a specific protocol that the Holy Spirit led her to go on.
She received grace to implement this protocol AND she just received the great news last week that every one of her numbers are completely normal.
Her doctor cannot explain it, but Cally can. No surgery needed. And Cally has already been able to speak into the lives of several doctors as a result of her miracle!
Cally didn’t carry the burden of her healing because she understands that when Jesus said, it is finished, He meant it is finished! She stayed in peace, relied on the power of prayer and God’s Word and followed the leading of the Holy Spirit.
This is not the first time Cally has received a miracle either. Another one of her miraculous stories is in my book and in this blog post titled Victorious Living.
God is still in the miracle working business folks. In fact, I’m convinced if we wrote down all the good things God did for us we would be astounded by the way He miraculously watches over us!
Just this week on the first day of camp my right eye was bothering me really bad. I almost never have eye problems. Sometimes, don’t you just want to say, “you’re so obvious devil.”
I even had to borrow eye wash and saline solution from the first aid station at camp several times during the day to get rid of the pain, but it started hurting again after getting home.
I simply prayed over my eye and commanded the pain to go and my eye to be made whole in the name of Jesus and I received the healing that Jesus provided for me through His finished work. It never hurt after that. Healed!
Now, do we perfectly understand everything that happens in this life. No we don’t. Sometimes we have to set aside what we don’t understand and stick with what we do understand and one thing we know is what Jesus Himself said here in John 10:10:
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. – John 10:10 (NKJV)
Another thing we know is that the devil is bad, but God is good.
Referring back to the title of this post, I refuse to carry the burden of trying to change myself in this area of being more disciplined to get the right amount of sleep. I lived that way for far too long and finally decided to trade trying in my own strength for trusting Jesus; therefore, right in the middle of experiencing the natural consequence of my poor choice (being sick), I turned my attention to Jesus and thanked Him once again for His love, His gift of righteousness and His forgiveness.
I know that focusing on God’s grace is the answer. I’ve had too many positive changes in my life over the past 4 years of my grace journey in areas that I struggled to change in my own strength for years and years to not believe my answer is the grace of God. I could never be convinced otherwise.
I’m not sitting here feeling guilty or condemned for my wrong choice. I’m still believing wholeheartedly in the healing power of Jesus for my body and am ever so grateful that it is not based on my actions, but on Jesus’ finished work on the cross.
The more you understand your position in Christ, the more immovable you will be, no matter what storms come along.
My friend, always remember you can rest in Jesus’ finished work for every single thing you need!
Make the big deal about Jesus and His perfect life of obedience to His Father. Refuse to make the big deal about you and your failures.
Go to the the throne of grace. Receive help in your time of need.
When you do this, you will see, as I have, that it is 100% possible for you to enjoy a life of peace and rest!
If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!