Tonight we went to dinner and on the way home, Landon and I had some heavy discussions about a few things going on. We were also discussing when in the world we are going to have a baby, since I am now three days overdue. I remembered that I had a goal in my mind of what I wanted to finish in my bible study journey before I had the baby. I wanted to finish my Galatians/Ephesians study and I am really close to being finished. I have had plenty of time this week to finish it, but for some reason I have been a slacker. I have no excuse, but I told Landon when we got home that I wanted to go and work on it. My normal routine is to do bible study in the morning, but I felt I simply had to do it tonight because I have neglected it for the last few days.
Landon was kind to play with the boys and put them to bed so I could work on it. He told me not to finish it until in the morning so he could get a good night's sleep, just in case that is the hold up on the baby. haha.
Anyway, tonight as I was doing my bible study in Ephesians Chapter 4, I felt heavy conviction about so many areas, about a spirit of ungratefulness and a poor attitude. When I study His Word, I am reminded quickly how far I have to go. I feel completely unworthy and wretched tonight. However, after some study, prayer, confession, and some awesome praise and worship music to sing it out, I feel free and lifted of my burdens tonight.
In Ephesians 4, Paul gives the believers instructions on how we are to live. Here are a few:
-walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and
gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the
unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (there...the first three verses got me.)
-use spiritual gifts which are given by Christ for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to
the building up of the body of Christ
-no longer to be children, tossed here and there as waves and carried about by every doctrine, trickery
of men, craftiness, but rather speak the truth in love
-lay aside falsehood, speaking only truth to one another
-be angry and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger
-do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth but only words to edify according to the
need of the moment, so that grace will be given to those that hear
-do not grieve the Holy Spirit, buy whom we were sealed for the day of redemption
-let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all
-be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has also forgiven
How many can read this list and feel they have it all together?? Certainly not me! I wanted to share what my final section of my study said. Instead of paraphrasing, I am just going to type the whole thing. Tonight, I feel very thankful for my salvation and what Christ did for me, because I did nothing worth deserving what He alone did on the cross.
The entire body of Christ is made up of people who have been forgiven of all their sins. If you're a part of His body, you have been forgiven not because you deserve it or because you have earned the right to be forgiven, but simply because of the unconditional, lavish, undeserved, unearned grace of God that He bestowed on you freely in Christ Jesus, His Beloved Son.
We deserve condemnation, but there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. That's where you are if you belong to Him.
If you, who have sinned against a holy, blameless God, have been forgiven so very much, how can you withhold forgiveness from others because of the debt you feel they owe you and because of the debt you feel they owe you and because of their sin against you? To withhold forgiveness is to act contrary to all that you understand about the gospel of your salvation, which is the forgiveness of your sins, your debts, from a holy God. To refuse to forgive is to deny or forget what salvation is all about. It is to play God and to say, "God would forgive you, but I won't. Your sin is too great."
Listen carefully, if you refuse to forgive, you are like the person in the story Jesus told in Matthew 18. Until you forgive, you are going to be held in a prison of your own making. You are going to be given over to the "torturers," so to speak. In other words, you are going to feel tormented until you walk in obedience and forgive others. If you are a child of God, you can forgive because you have His Spirit and His power. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.
Tonight, I encourage you if you are feeling "heavy" with conviction over sin, just confess it and let Him wash over you the forgiveness He is so willing to pour out lavishly.