Written on the last days of 2014 in Los Angeles.
This past year has been one tough year in so many ways, yet grace has always been there for me to receive in boldness (Hebrews 4:16). I have seen how my heart and my flesh have failed time after time. My soul has been drained. My body has been defeated. Nevertheless, our faithful God has not left me. He used these opportunities to fill me, a broken vessel, with His grace, which is Himself.
What a truth it is that life comes after death. A Christian grows by learning how to die. Dying to self. Without that, you cannot taste the beauty of grace and experience the power of resurrection. By the way, there were these three quotes that I came across recently that described grace beautifully:
“There’s grace for yesterday, grace for today, and grace for tomorrow. Enter the new year with a feeling of rest, not burden.” Jefferson Betheke
“Whatever your problem the solution is not to take a long hard look at yourself and your faults, but to fix your eyes on Jesus and his wholeness. Yes, you are just a crumbly jar of clay, but you have a great treasure inside! Treasure the Treasure.” Escape to Reality
“Better is the sin that humbles me than the duty that makes me proud.” Thomas Boston
There are also three lessons God has taught me this year:
1) To see my own sin in others like mirrors (thus humility and compassion)
2) to be filled with the Spirit instead of emotions (our spirit, being joined to the Lord, governs our emotions but not the other way around),
3) to submit myself to Christ’s headship (willing to surrender and be disciplined).
Funnily, there are also four verses that flow together as one big picture summing up the lessons I learned:
1) John 3:30. “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
That I must die to self and crucify my ego. Without that, Christ cannot grow in me.
2) James 5:16. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
Only by letting my old self die can I then remove my pride. Only by having my pride gone can I confess my sins and pray for others out of the Father’s love and strength. Healing, whether spiritual or physical, cannot occur when one is sinning continuously or holding bitterness against others.
3 ) Hebrews 12:12-13.“Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.”
I am weary, but it is His strength that heals the broken bones and it is His love that gives life. Nevertheless, we have to act in faith according to His power within us.
4) Philippians 3:13-14- “but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Although I have failed, I have no condemnation and guilt in Christ Jesus. With strength restored and vision renewed, I shall press on in 2015 with His grace.
Added later. We can also exercise “the proper postures of faith” to experience a deeper intimacy with the Lord. These are inspired by the book “Sit, Walk, Stand” by Watchman Nee and a sermon series from the Vine Church in Hong Kong ) :
1) Sit. Rest in Him. Cast all our anxiety on Him.
2) Walk. Walk in His way. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word” (Psalm 119:9). Reading and praying the Word. Learning to yield to the Spirit.
3) Stand. Know that we already have the victory because He is the victor. Praise and rejoice always.
4) Kneel. Kneel before the Father. Pray unceasingly.