In the last year, the meaning of the Gospel has exploded in my heart like a super surprise birthday party. I mean that. I knew the Gospel but I didn’t KNOW the Gospel. Have you ever put coins in a drink machine and the coins go in and come right back out? Well that is kind of how the Gospel was for me…it would go in but it would just come right back out. (I could regurgitate it to others very well). But then, when the Gospel registered in my heart…THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE overwhelmed my heart and God changed me.
I have lived my entire life seeking satisfaction for my soul. This lack of satisfaction is actually a gift from God but most of the time we tend to not even acknowledge Him. We set out on a quest to satisfy ourselves. We will run to other gods seeking to fulfill the emptiness that we feel. One of my gods was making myself a better person in the eyes of God and in the eyes of others. I had a huge “to do” list with a lot of “If I” statements to complete….
- If I could just be good enough.
- If I could read my Bible enough.
- If I could pray enough.
- If I was in charge of enough.
- If I led a lot of people to Christ.
- If I helped enough people.
If I, If I, If I….all in the hopes of earning favor with God and with man. I will come back to this one in another blog regarding fear of man.
The other way I would seek satisfaction was finding my identity in the approval of others. My everyday goal was to be sure that others were pleased with me. I needed constant validation from others or I would be an insecure mess.
Another way I have sought satisfaction in the past is through the things of this world. Like a new outfit or a new car or a new home is really going to make me a new person!? How twisted we can become in our thinking.
What is wrong with us? For the longest time, I would blame others for the reason my life was the way it was. When I ran out of people to blame, I would just divert to blaming Adam. After all, he was completely lame in his role as the man of the house and let his wife do what she did. But there is this Scripture that kind of takes away the whole victim mentality that we try to grab onto when things aren’t going well. Look it up with me….Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
There is no passing the buck here. We are active participants in the rebellion against God.
So back to my question…What is wrong with us? Maybe Mark 7:14-23 can shine a light on the subject.
Mark 7:14-23 (ESV) 14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Read verses 21-23 again… For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.
It has been over a year since I made the decision to commit adultery. I consider it a blessing to have had that sin exposed. It gave me the opportunity to repent and turn back to God instead of being condemned forever on Judgment Day. It has been a year of God tearing down and rebuilding on The True Foundation. It has been a year of extensive counseling and addressing the things that come from within my heart. I have seen miracles in my heart, my husband, my children, our marriage…all things that I don’t deserve but God delights in lavishing His children with His Grace and Mercy…He did not forsake me.
I can almost hear someone screaming “but what about your consequences??” Oh believe me, there are consequences for what I’ve done. Some consequences I will deal with for the rest of my life. I accept that and I will walk out my repentance forever. This should be a daily lifestyle for us all anyway. But, in spite of my consequences, I can still choose to walk by faith in the grace and mercy that He delights to lavish upon me when I walk in repentance. I will not deny Him that anymore. I’ve done it for far too long.
Romans 5:6-11 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Christ died for me while I was still a sinner…his enemy. That is how He loves me. Who would do that? We are not capable. I still have people that can’t even look at me or talk to me since my sin. But Christ died for me…knowing fully what I was going to do.
I have read a lot of articles and blogs of people who have committed adultery. I can always tell the ones who really get what Jesus did for us and the ones who don’t. If you have repented for your sin of adultery (or any sin) and if you believe that He forgives you and you receive the gift of His grace and mercy…you do not continue to call yourself an adulterer. He washed you clean. I am clean. He pulled me out of the muck and mire. He cleansed me. I am not an adulterer. I committed adultery but I am no longer an adulterer. To continue to call myself that would mean that what Christ did for me was not enough. I choose to believe what He says in His Word. In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ (Ephesians 1:7-8)
Our pastor asked Jeff and me a couple months ago what was our vision in walking out our New Life together. We couldn’t answer his question at the time but we prayed about it. Yes, we have a heart to see marriages be all that God intended for them to be and not have to go through what mine went through but my marriage wasn’t the issue, adultery wasn’t the issue. I had a heart issue that had deep roots in idolatry and fear of man. What is that supposed to look like? Then God revealed it to us. The Gospel. People don’t understand the Gospel. We know what God wants from us…Here is my response to our pastor…
Dear Tim and Lori:
Jeff and I are finally able to put into words what we believe God wants from us as a couple…
We are convinced that, until we truly understand the Gospel, we will remain living as broken people instead of living life the way God intended for us to live. We can’t even love others until we fully understand the Gospel. Once we understand the Gospel, the true foundation is then laid to address all other issues in life. Everything we do, everything we think, everything we speak should be out of the overflow of our personal relationship with Jesus. If you address all the other issues first before understanding the Gospel and how it applies to our life (what it really means for us), we will return to our broken, defeated state again and again. We will continually be “Like a dog that returns to his vomit.” Christ did not die (and rise again) for us to live that way.
Once a true understanding of the Gospel has reached our hearts by the grace of God, we can then address all other issues in our life (idolatry, our relationships and marriages, anger, bitterness, lust, sexual immorality, greed, etc.)
What would happen in our lives if we actually believed God and His Word?
This is what we have found to be true in our own lives. This is what we believe God wants us to share with others as we continue to learn and grow.
We have lots of work to do, BELIEVE ME, but I praise God for the work He has done. I can’t help but smile real big when I think about what He has done in our lives. I hurt a lot of people with my sin and I pray BIG that the ones who are still hurting will soon forgive and walk in the freedom of the Gospel.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you…Psalm 63:3