31 March 2016
If there's one thing, just one, that I could gift--literally impart--into the souls of everyone around me, it would be the reality and nature of our acceptability before God. Jesus' victory, His atoning sacrifice, was worked not just so we could be saved at the last day, but so that Jesus could cover our inadequacies and shortcomings and foul-ups with His atoning blood, and BE with us, right here, right now. He won the right to be where we are, before we have risen out of the fallen state.
He set the requirements for His presence and empowerment as this:
A broken heart and a contrite spirit.
That's a humble heart and a spirit truly willing to learn and follow Him.
It is willingness and teachability that He REQUIRES in order to send His spirit. That is all. It is the blood of Jesus that makes us acceptable before Him; it's the covering of the blood of Christ that makes us clean. It's not our actions, not our striving, not our attaining, not sacrifices of our own design that makes us acceptable before God. It is humility and teachability that flow naturally from our LOVE for Him, His Father, and His Spirit.
Please . . . please. Please don't let any old training under the law keep you from receiving anything and everything ***right now*** that Jesus has prepared for those who love Him. Don't think for a minute that you have to *DO* anything to be wrapped in His love, or somehow progress to a certain point before He will lavish you with His Spirit. All you have to do is receive His love. Receiving is hard for us works-trained believers to do . . . but that's where you start: receiving the comfort and love of God. You don't start with works, you don't start with "getting clean", you don't start with striving to be better. You start with resting in the goodness of Jesus Christ, and receiving a revelation of His love for you.
As I've pursued Jesus, as I've entered into relationship with Him, His persistent, insistent message has been only this:
"I LOVE YOU. SO MUCH!!!"
And as that reality, that LOVE has soaked deeper and deeper into my soul, THAT is what changes everything. That is what heals. That is what drives me to change my behaviors and wrestle against old thinking and old patterns, what motivates diligence and change. That is what brings the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit. That is what brings signs and wonders: the presence of God, in me. For God IS love. That is the sum total of His personality. You cannot have love without God, and you cannot have God without love. They are one and the same.
You also cannot have the presence of God within you without His power. We often do alright at discerning the presence of God . . . but we've got to become practiced at receiving the presence of God, and then of existing in a continuous awareness of the presence of God in us, and allowing God to dwell in us and be present in and through us, through the Holy Spirit.
Oh, I could go on for hours and hours on this very topic . . . It's the key to everything: receiving the love of God is receiving GOD, Himself. And it's through that reception that we then can see His promises manifest in our lives, that we can receive sanctification (set apart as holy and dedicated unto the Lord) ourselves and for our families (as Paul wrote: family members are sanctified by the believer).
Every one of us has before us the overpowering witness from heaven that we are loved and accepted in the person and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His victory stands as an invitation for as long as time shall last for anyone and everyone to come unto Him. God so loved the *world*. It's not "God so loved the righteous/worthy/holy.". It's the world--lost and fallen and broken and dark--that God loved so much that He willingly sacrificed His Only Begotten Son. And it's that same love for the world that motivated Jesus Christ to come and do what He did for every one of us, "while we were yet sinners".
It's time to step into that open invitation, to walk in the acceptance of Jesus Christ, and see what beauty, what comfort and strength and healing, await us.