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Thursday, February 17, 2011

STOP BEATING YOURSELF!

STOP BEATING YOURSELF!

By Sister Thandi Nkomo

I was born 'in' the church. It's really a silly statement because I was born in a hospital...but you know what it means. So Saturday observance was never an issue for me. I knew and loved the Sabbath and have never been tempted to stop keeping the Sabbath holy. On the other hand, I loved Jesus, but not in the right way because I didn't really know Him. The pastors, elders, evangelists presented a picture of a Jesus who keeps forgiving you for the same sins, knowingly committed over and over again. I told myself "Ok, at the end of each day, just ask God to forgive you for everything you did wrong in the day and you'll be set." It didn't help that I was surrounded by this type of Christian. No one seemed to be walking the truly narrow way. In fact, looking back, I probably thought Sabbath-keeping WAS the narrow way!

Until I met my husband. He gave me the book 'The Lord Our Righteousness' and it's like a huge light bulb flashed in my head - the first of many. Christ loves me so much that He actually gives me the strength to 'be perfect' as He told me to be in Matthew 5:48. And so the growth in practical godliness began. He trusted me so much that He decided to use me as an example to the devil and to the unfallen worlds. He forgave me and expected me to live like He did, so that I could be WITH Him.

I realised that sanctification was a lifetime process, but not a lifetime of committing the very same errors without true repentance. It's a lifetime of growing, gaining more truth and being transformed accordingly. I went through the Spirit of Prophecy Library (The big blue books) and felt like I'd been born again. This Jesus I now knew loved me just as I was, but desired me to improve, He wanted the best for me! I was/am special. I am worthy of His notice, His love, His death and His resurrection.

This was wondrous news indeed. I wanted to get rebaptised, now that I truly understood what dying meant.

Then the problems began. I began the journey with good intentions. But I kept falling. I didn't cling tightly enough and I allowed the devil's temptations to sweep me away. And I then hated myself. "How stupid can I be? How could I spit in God's face like this? He obviously doesn't love me, how could He when I keep crucifying Him afresh every day of my life? Maybe I should just die because I'm not living my profession. Or better yet, why not just leave Christianity because I'm bound for hell anyway."

Of course, God wouldn't leave me in such a state of despair. He hears our prayers even before we have the strength to utter them, His word speaks to us. I urge you to re-read Psalms 51. That is the prayer of someone who loves God. That is the prayer that we ought to utter when we fall. Yes, we are called to holiness, but sadly, we sometimes let go of Jesus' hand. It doesn't mean we should keep going backwards and falling into the same hole. It means we repeat David's sorrowful words; we cling tightly to God's hand, and walk FORWARD and AWAY from that hole.

It's not easy, especially when the devil reminds you of how enjoyable or "stress-free" being in that hole is. But that hole is not where God wants you to be. And so you keep praying, asking Him to shield you from the evil one. And by faith you grab that hand, forsaking all others' on this earth, and you step out. You may weep as you see how filthy you are, you may wonder how you'll ever get clean. But the prayer of a penitent soul is heard and more importantly, it is answered.

You're not the only one who has struggled with letting the Saviour down.

Remember Peter. So sure that he would die for His master. Yet, as soon as the opportunity to truly die for His master came, he rejected/denied Him. Imagine the agony he felt when He caught Jesus' eye. It's the same agony you feel when you acknowledge your sin, acknowledge how you let Jesus down. Yet Jesus forgave Peter, and Peter forgave himself…and he went on to become a powerful worker for Christ. When you come out of that hole, you not only never go back in again, but you have a strong desire to pull others out too. And remember this; Peter didn't become 'perfect' overnight. God still had to get rid of his racial/ethnic prejudices. But Peter allowed God to rid him of his flaws. Painful as it was.

So stop beating yourself up. God forgave, God still forgives, the Son of God died in order to forgive, and He will forgive you. Don't look at the hole you were in yesterday, look at the Hand that is waiting to pull you out. Grab it. And move forward in faith. He is just and will forgive, and will give you the strength to stay away from that sin-filled hole.

Psalms 51:17
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Psalms 86:5
For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
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Picture Source: Lars Justinen

1 comment:

  1. The posted picture entitled "What Happened To Your Hand?" is an image by artist Lars Justinen and can be found at on GoodSalt.com http://www.goodsalt.com/details/lwjas0217.html

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