He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.
For me this morning the most powerful aspect of this short but profoundly powerful verse is the tense, past tense; “has delivered”.
Probably one of the most difficult aspects of recovery that I’ve had to deal with in the last couple years has been the concept that the finished work of the cross is complete.
I’m not sure why I get so down on myself feeling I am stuck or unworthy becuase when I truly take a moment to look at my life it doesn’t resemble even a little bit what my life was like before Christ and recovery.
Where once there was isolation there is now a growing desire and effort to know others and allow myself to be known, in that God is able to begin peeling away the dead layers of selfishness built up around my hardened and self-protective heart.
Where once there was escape through sex, drugs and alcohol there is a growing hunger for God’s word, a sincere prayer life, times of service to the community, church and others through the talents God has given me.
Where once there was self destruction through poor hygene, consistently bad food, no exercise, no doctor or dentist visits there is now a healthier balance and a clean bill of health.
Where once there was enjoyment over dirty joke emails, watching R or worse movies, foul language, obsessing on prime time tv shows that glorify sexual immorality, family dysfunction and dark humor, pornography and other forms of sexual immorality, excess alcohol and other addictions…
…there is now time spent reading the classics from writers like C.S. Lewis, Jerry Bridges & John Piper or working on Christ-centered recovery homework for some of the small group studies I’m in for core men issues like 33 The Series and Pure Desire; or time spent on the phone or in person with accountability partners (who I now call friends) and mentors, or attending bible studies and worship services or Celebrate Recovery.
The reality is, once the realness of Christ comes upon a person, whether gradually through a lifetime of being close to His church and hearing God’s word or out of a Road to Damascus conversion which rescues someone from the brink of total destruction, it is God who delivers us.
It is He who gives us the new heart that desires these new things. And it is that desire and eventual and ultimately self-paced journey of redemption that is the proof that the finished work of the cross is complete in us.
That is not to say that our work is done once we cross over into a deep authentic relationship with God, but quite the contrary, our work has just begun.
It is not a work however to earn anything, but a fulfilling and purposeful life that becomes possible only because of God’s salvation which is His promise to us when we believe and follow.
I believe, as C.S. Lewis so wonderfully illustrated in The Screwtape Letters, Satan and his minions greatest purpose is to pursue the Christian and distract, confuse, condemn, corrupt and confiscate the soul of a believer. He wants to take our eyes off of God and place them on something internal or external that is less than Kingdom causes.
Satan loves the carnal Christian who has bought into the lie that the Sinners Prayer alone gets us into heaven and that how I live my life doesn’t matter.
The truth is that if we can’t see a compelling change in our ways as a result of the work of God in our lives, then we would be right to question if in fact Christ is really in our lives.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We don’t live as new creations because we think we are supposed to, or have to, but because we want to. God changes our heart which changes our desires and direction.
We must always be on guard for the spiritual forces that seek to return our new life in the light to dimness then darkness, to take away the sight God has given us and blind us once again, to harden the heart that has begun to beat freely again.
Whether we are on a mountain top or in the valley, the Christian should draw great joy, peace and eternal comfort in knowing that NOTHING can remove us from the love of God, not even our slips, falls, poor choices or when we are in the midst of paying a price for past hurts, hangups and habits.
His redemptive love is forever! He will not forsake or condemn the one who is working out his salvation with fear and trembling, getting up each day with a new heart and new resolve and new hope that today is the day I serve the Lord.
It is not how many times the Justified falls down, it is how many times the Being Sanctified gets up.
Father God, Your mercies are new each day, Your blessings bountiful, Your purposes fulfilling, Your desires righteous, Your grace endearing. Thank you Lord for the finished work of the Cross which took this blind and broken fool and filled my life with hope, purpose and desires that I never dreamed possible. Let the worries of the day, the bills, the difficult relationships, the outward circumstances that are beyond my control all fade into the background noise of this world and fill my ears, eyes, and heart with what You would have me see, feel and do today. My life is not my own, and although I fight you on that Lord I pray that you search my heart and now that my spirit is totally free in You even if there are more times than I’d like to admit where I still try and do things my way. Thank you for Your promise of deliverance from darkness and into the Kingdom of Jesus, let all who read this experience the deep sense of fullness that comes over me as I write this, that Your grace is sufficient this day. In Jesus name I pray…