Redeemed: another layer of the onion

I have to tell you, that God never ceases to amaze me. I have been experiencing quite a revival over the past four years and He is still showing me areas where I have not let go.

I am currently in a Bible study with a small group of women that I was initially not going to attend. Through a series of events, promptings and such…I said yes to “Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival”. This week I went down a rabbit hole and found hidden treasure so valuable. I lacked faith and found that I was not embracing one of God’s many promises. This one was a doozie! Wait. Did I just say that out loud? Yes. I did.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

I have shared with you in past posts that I was living in backslidden state for years. I found myself there as a result of a lack of Christian growth, an anemic personal relationship with God and a series of compromises. After many years, the Lord called me to repentance and four years ago He began a revival in me…a process of confession, reaping, repentance and seeking the Lord’s face. This current study is one that helps a person to identify areas that may hinder revival with the Lord; strongholds, un-confessed sin, and pride. As I have been walking through this study, it has been awesome to reflect on where I was just a few years ago and evaluate areas where I still need to seek the Lord to change me. During my study time on Wednesday I got off track. (Well, it depends on how you look at that. I got off track in the book, but was following God’s lead.) There are certain portions of scripture that have hung me up from time to time over the past four years. These passages incite fear and doubt into my heart.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance.

Hebrews 6:4-6

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:62

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!

Matthew 7:21-23

A few years back, a pastor asked for my testimony. I shared with him that I became a Christian at age 11, but didn’t grow and started the slow fade in college. He didn’t let me finish- stopped me there and said something like,”That is just awful, I am so sorry for you.” But, what I heard was, “Sorry about your luck.” That stuck with me and caused me to doubt. Yikes. That coupled with the scriptures above have kept me captive even more than I was consciously aware of.

I know that God has forgiven me of all of my confessed sin during that dark time, but will he ever forgive me of my backsliding?

It’s something I really wrestle with from time to time…until today.

God brought to my attention that I needed to deal with this fear and doubt now. For the last 24 hours that is where I have been dwelling. I have read through 2 Samuel, Kings, Hosea, Psalm. There are enough instances in the scriptures where God is seen forgiving repentant backsliders. The nation of Israel wandered and repented time and time again and then there’s David…King David! It may have taken him some time to see, confess and repent from his sin…he still had to reap the consequences of his sin…and yet while his flesh and will was weak- it was his heart that followed God. While he had regret, he was forgiven. Why do I think I am so different that any of these people? Am I not special enough? That is what Satan would have me believe.

So last night I was chatting with my hubby. I asked him if it’s possible that I have not forgiven myself…could that be the problem? He shared with me a sermon he had heard. He didn’t know who the speaker was or on what radio station, but what he said was the truth (ugly as it was) that I needed to hear.

Forgiving yourself if a crock. You don’t have to forgive yourself…you have to believe that you ARE FORGIVEN. 

When he said that the lights went on. All of the sins I had confessed over the past several years had all melted away except the “adultery” I had committed in my relationship with the Lord. That one I doubted that God would forgive. Therefore, I was not taking God at His word when he said…

… he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

I didn’t believe. I had been harboring such guilt over walking away from God for so long that I had not given Him that piece of me. I still had Jesus hanging on that cross for that sin and ignored the victory that followed. Jesus CONQUERED death and sin…yes, that one, too…therefore, my sin- my backsliding is no more!

Victory in Jesus!

let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:22-23

Today I have a song in my heart! I am REDEEMED by Big Daddy Weave.

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son
Stop fighting a fight it’s already been won”

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I’m redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”
I remember, oh God, You’re not done with me yet

 

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2 thoughts on “Redeemed: another layer of the onion

  1. What a beautiful, strong testimony and statement of faith, Joanne! May you become stronger day-by-day with this revelation and confession. I’m so sorry to hear how long you have had to struggle with self-doubt. JESUS DID INDEED PAY THE PRICE FOR US–ONCE AND FOR ALL. Welcome to your new sense of realization and serenity.

    Love you Joanne!

    Virginia Coffman

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