It was tonight. Somehow, I thought last Thursday was Friday. I was a day ahead. After the week I've had, I am surprised I even know my name.
Funny how that, the moment I begin to find my peace in performance (mine or others) the Holy Spirit launches a frontal assault on the stronghold of law in my life. I'm telling you, that thing (stronghold of law) came down awhile back, and the God of all grace seems intent that "I not rebuild what has been torn down".
Wait. I've read something like that before. Paul's words to the Galatians.
There was even a point this week when the enemy blantantly leered past hurts and heartbreak - flaunting it in my face all over again until the backs of my eyes burned hot from tears that threatened to spill. The very tears that, a couple of years ago, I was convinced that if allowed to flow unchecked, they would never stop....ever. I told my Closest Friends, very frankly, that I didn't want to discuss things pertaining to Prodigals, or get in touch with my emotions, because if I ever did that, the weeping might never end. And you know what? They understood. Not one person tried to psycho-babble me into wearing my emotions on my sleeve. They simply surrounded me with songs of deliverance.
I should have remembered my source of joy, this week. Weeping endures for a night, but joy does come. However, joy can only come when we learn it independently of ours or others' performance, and independently of our circumstances. If we derive peace from performance or circumstances, the nights become twice as long as the days, and there is weeping upon weeping.
My peace comes from the Prince of it. Peace is only found in the Finished Work of Christ, as applied to my present situation.
Which brings me to something our good friend Pete said tonight. (The Pete who came to dinner tonight, not last night...)
After dinner, over cake, he simply said, "I have only one problem with the Grace Teachers and Preachers."
Of course, I sat up a little straighter in my chair. I almost expected him to say, like so many others, "...cheap grace, blah blah blah." and since he is quite seasoned in the faith and the gospel, I was prepared to hear him out.
(well, I didn't expect him to say exactly that, but you know what I mean.)
But not Pete. I should have known. He said, from the depths of his heart, "...my problem isn't with their doctrine. Their doctrine is right on. My problem is with the fact that they don't apply grace in real life. When called upon to live what they preach, they retreat into law. Whatever you preach, you better be ready to become."
Ah, so true. The law is a way, way easier functional belief system. It is every Christian's default, always. Without a renewal of our mind, a relentless renewal, we will begin finding our satisfaction coming from things that are, in fact, anti-Christ. "Anti-Christ" simply means "instead of" Christ. In Christ alone is found my sense of well being. In Christ alone is my righteousness.
Pete, my wise and seasoned friend, you encouraged my heart tonight. Because my life is consistently challenged to live out the grace of God, and you reminded me that that is the whole point.
PS. And not that it matters, but so far, it looks like all the enemy tried to flaunt before me, every reminder of my broken-and-now-mostly-healed heart, was a mirage. It was "False Evidence Appearing Real." (FEAR). But here's the thing: even if it wasn't a mirage, it would still be well with me and my soul. Because I am dead-set on dying to self, (self effort, self esteem, self in all its subtle forms) and determined to find my life hid with Christ in God. I do this by applying the Finished Work of Christ to my present situation.
I just wanted you to know that this is an occupation, friends. I have taken ground that is rightfully God's, and I am occupying, and sometimes that means fighting the "same battles" again.
But I won. Again. Thanks be to God who always causes me to triumph....