Click here for part I.
Last time, we talked about the importance of taking off our masks…of being more vulnerable. Yeah. Sounds really easy doesn’t it? Well, in case it doesn’t come naturally to you, I can tell you it isn’t easy! For example, if, you have been hurt by people in the past, and not many of us haven’t been, learning to be vulnerable is about as easy as jumping out of an airplane. It is scary…even if you have a parachute. Until it opens, you feel like you will die! It is only when the chute opens, that you think you might survive…maybe.Learning to be vulnerable is about as easy as jumping out of an airplane. It is scary...even if you have a parachute. Click To Tweet
In order to live this kind of life as a Christian, it is impossible to do it in our own strength! We need Jesus to do it. Just as we need His goodness and perfect life that He lived on earth for 33 years, to meet our need for righteousness, we need Jesus to provide the ability to provide the ability to live a vulnerable life.
We also need His sacrifice to pay for the sin we have committed in thought, word and deed…both purposely and by omission, because I wasn’t paying attention or didn’t know better at the time. (Not our largest area of sin, but part of it.) Jesus died for both.
He lived a perfect life for me as a human. He never sinned in thought, word or deed for 33 years. Then, He died as a sacrifice for me and those who would become His children. As the GOD/man, He could pay for an infinite number of sins.Jesus lived a perfect life for me as a human. He never sinned in thought, word or deed for 33 years. Click To Tweet
Now, when I come to Him with my need, realizing I can’t do righteousness on my own, I give my failed record to Him and He gives me His perfect righteous record of a life lived perfectly. When I stand before GOD and He asks me, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” I won’t be listing a laundry list of my accomplishments. I will say, “Because I am dressed in the righteousness of Christ! It is only because of His perfect, righteous record that I can stand here!”
That is why everyone in heaven (in Revelation) spends so much time worshipping the Lamb of GOD! No one would be there apart from what He did for them. This sounds basic to us, but we often forget its ramifications to everyday life.
Do you tend to forget that the dress you wear is Christ’s righteousness, not yours. Your failures don’t define you, Christ and who He is, does.
The problem comes that after we become part of the family, gets our clothes on (Christ’s righteousness) or are in Christ, there can be a tendency to forget how needy we are! If we see the Gospel as being for us not only for salvation but for growth in grace, that won’t be a problem.
Think of the Gospel as the beginning of a great adventure that starts when the door opens and you become part of that family. It isn’t compartmentalized that growth is somehow in a different place. Growth happens at the meal table as you eat healthy food, outside as you play and learn to get along with your siblings, inside as you learn to behave kindly and talk kindly to parents and siblings…you get the idea. Growth doesn’t happen separately in a different category and in a different place. It’s all part of growing up in the family. It’s not all fun. But it is all necessary for growth.
What about the genuine believer who has no mask?
Come to think of it, that gives us some clues about what a follower of Christ is going to look like…and how that person will relate to fellow sinners around her.
- She is aware that she is a sinner…truly aware!
- She is not a finger pointer when it comes to sin. She knows sinners are not “them” vs. us. Sinners are us! She is all too aware of her own sin.
- She understands that her sin may look different than the next person, but it is no less serious.
- She realizes that it isn’t her job to point out sin in others. It is her job to point them to Jesus and to show them the love of Christ.
I have mentioned this book before…and will mention it again. I’m in the middle of reading Rosaria Butterfield’s book The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. I’m enjoying it on many different levels. I plan to share more on this book later. This woman came to Christ because of the love of Christ shown to her by a Christian family. They loved her, showed her hospitality and generally shared their lives with her for a couple of years.
I don’t pretend to be an expert on this topic for sure. I do know that treating people with respect because they are made in the image of GOD is what we are called to do! As Christians, we aren’t always careful to do that, I’m sad to say.
Let us move out into our world and love one another as Christ loved us. Yes, it is impossible, but He has already done it for us in Christ. We aren’t doing it to earn His love, but rather because we are His children. We are part of the family! We belong to Him. It defines who we are as part of His family.Let us move out into our world and love one another as Christ loved us. Yes, it is impossible, but He has already done it for us in Christ. Click To Tweet
It is now safe to take off our masks. We are safe and secure. Jesus promises that not one of His children will be lost. Why? Because He is holding onto us! Is there a safer place to be?
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them,
and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish,
and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
If you struggle to remember this truth, memorize this passage. It will be helpful to have it in your heart for the dark days…when you have them.