1 John 5:5
5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
It breaks my heart how many Christians believe themselves to be unworthy or no good even after gaining the intellectual knowledge that they’ve been made right with God by The Lambs blood poured out on the Cross.
I know, because for nearly 4 years now I’ve been one of those Christians.
I have been involved in recovery ministry, spent hundreds of hours in prayer both alone on my knees and in fellowship with others. I have been poured out in service, participate as a small group leader in church and recovery, have a phone filled with Christian brothers from church and recovery circles that lean on each other daily for support and encouragement; and the list goes on.
It truly is a life transformed, especially compared to the old life of drugs, alcohol, pornography, depression, over-eating and suicidal thoughts, all of which stem from childhood abuses and a directionless and purposeless adult life.
This morning’s verse however, like so many, serve as a reminder that the price has already been paid. For me to still think “I’m unworthy” or live in fear that “I might fall back in my old ways” or have the thoughts “who am I to speak boldly the truth of God, if you only knew where I came from”.
The terribly sad truth is that we can have all the head knowledge of God’s incredible love and redemption for us but still be plagued by the voices of darkness that claim we are no good, that we haven’t arrived yet, that until I meet all the expectations set before me by God He couldn’t possibly love me.
The world’s systems are built upon earning everything. The harder you strive the better chance of success. For many who grew up in broken home, the desire to meet our mother or fathers expectations became ingrained so deeply we know no other way of looking at authority figures. And if like mine, what you did was never good enough, the internal dialogue of self-loathing is the very definition of a self-imposed prison that doesn’t exist.
That same striving nature is true with all other religions, the better the person, the greater the sacrifice, the better the chance of salvation.
1 John 5:13
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.
There is nothing in this world that can rewrite the tapes of evil that have been feed into the heart of an abused child, but those tapes can and are being rewritten.
The foundational truth in all of this is that if you believe in the Son of God, believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, you are already on the path of righteousness whether you realize it or not.
Yes we fall short, yes the old tapes continue to play, yes we may have already shed a million tears and yes there will likely be a thousand more; but it is that process of healing and our willingness to share that journey with others that becomes our testimony of healing.
It is our shared journey of redemption that is the very thing that points to the glory of God in our lives.
We do not need to wait until we are perfect to then say “now I can speak, now I can share my testimony, now I can get involved in church, now I can look my family, coworkers, friends and strangers in the eye with boldness and proclaim God’s victory in my life”.
That time is now, that time has come.
1 John 5:4
For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.
It is not only OK to have the assurance of salvation simply because we have faith in Jesus even though we have not yet become fully the person we believe we can or should be, it is our calling.
My guess, this is probably the state we will remain in the rest of our lives, fully human yet fully saved by faith.
Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, died for your sins and that you are forgiven by His death and resurrection, you have arrived already. Nothing more that we do in this life will add to salvation, for the price was His to pay, not ours.
We are set free and can rest by faith.
Yes there is much work to be done, but we now work and strive as free soldiers for Christ already on the road of salvation, not in pursuit of it.
Father God, you know my heart, you know all of our hearts. We hurt Lord, we struggle to see our worth in the eyes of those around us when all we need is to look at how You see us. Forgive us Lord when in our weakness we let the old voices tell us we’re no good, we listen to that whisper of Satan that says “see, your no different, your no better”. Lord we rebuke that old man inside, he is dead, he is gone, he is buried at the foot of Your cross and we are raised from the dead, completely reborn, rewritten, remade whole and complete in You. We receive the truth that we will always be a work in progress, but Father God help our hearts to also receive that it is You who is doing the work of redemption in us, it is You alone who is re-wiring our thoughts, desires and actions. Help us rest in the fact that our faith is what brings us to You and we can rest in Your arms, it is OK to rest. Help all Your children know this day that it is You who will finish the work You have started as we strive simply to remain faithful to Your calling. Thank you Jesus for Your life poured out for it is no longer us who must save ourselves, but our burden is simply to live out in assurance of the salvation already received. Help us to endure in peace, quiet the voices that tell us otherwise. In your precious name Lord Jesus I pray…