A devotional thought for today…
Joshua, standing before the angel, was dressed in dirty clothes. The angel spoke to his attendants, “Get him out of those filthy clothes,” and then said to Joshua, “Look, I’ve stripped you of your sin and dressed you up in clean clothes.
I will sing for joy in God, explode in praise from deep in my soul! He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness.
It is imperative for us to understand our righteousness. If we don’t understand this foundational principle, we will struggle mightily through the rest of our journey towards sexual integrity. We are righteous. Not by our works, not by our looks, not by our bank accounts, not by our church attendance, not by our charitable donations, not by our behaviors, not by our eloquent prayers. Only by the grace of God in Jesus. You see, in accepting Christ our filthy rags were removed. The stench of sexual sin -past, present and future- was taken away. And it’s not by anything we can do for ourselves. These verses clearly depict our re-dressing being the work of God and the heavenly hosts. We have been robed in righteousness and dressed in clean clothes. When we accept Christ, his righteousness is imputed to us. It’s in us. It’s on us. Nothing can remove it from us. You have to accept that in the middle of your acting out, in the midst of a porn session, in the intoxicating delusion of another encounter with your mistress, God sees you as clean. He looks at you like a groom gazes at his bride on their wedding day. He is grieved by your behavior but infinitely loves your being. You are righteous!
This post is short and sweet.
Yesterday a client shared a profound statement with me. He tee’d it up with a background story out of acts. Perhaps you’ve heard it?
Some itinerant Jewish exorcists who happened to be in town at the time tried their hand at what they assumed to be Paul’s “game.” They pronounced the name of the Master Jesus over victims of evil spirits, saying, “I command you by the Jesus preached by Paul!” The seven sons of a certain Sceva, a Jewish high priest, were trying to do this on a man when the evil spirit talked back: “I know Jesus and I’ve heard of Paul, but who are you?”
After giving the backstory he simply said, “I want to be known. When the evil spirits recount the names of difference makers in the faith, I want to be known”. I was stunned for a second because I felt deeply for him, then it quickly shifted to me.
I want to be known too. Am I living a life worthy of evil spirits knowing who I am. Am I a threat? Am I in the game? Did I even show up to my life today, much less to the redemptive vision of bringing God’s kingdom to the planet?
Remember: your past behavior doesn’t define you, nor does it disqualify you from the work of ushering in the kingdom.
May we live in such a way that evil spirits might tremble with fear saying, “Jesus and Paul I know……and I know who you are too”.
No, this is not a blog post about money. But some of the same principles will apply.
There are two sides to the coin of debt (pun intended). One side is the debtor, where we owe someone something. The other side is the creditor; the one who is due payment. There is much conversation, as well as sermonation, on the perils of being a debtor. Owing someone can make us a slave to that person or entity. However, there seems to be less discussion around being a creditor, even though it can be equally as treacherous. It can, perhaps, be even more detrimental to our well-being when we become a relational creditor.
Being a relational creditor means we are holding onto a belief, position or entitlement that someone owes us something. It could be our abuser or violator who owes us our dignity and security. It could be parents whom we believe owe us a different type of relationship that makes up for shortcomings in our upbringing. It could be the bully who owes us power. Or our spouses who owe us love or respect. Or we may even believe God owes us; happiness, wealth, success, marital fidelity, etc. Unfortunately, when we as relational creditors hold people to the debt they “owe” us, we end up locked in a cell full of disappointment and unmet expectations. That disappointment and discouragement can lead to wanting to medicate.
The bible has a thing or two to say about being a creditor. Even some of the same language is used. God says we should let people off the hook for the debt they owe us; He uses the word forgiveness. The word Greek word FORGIVE (aphiēmi) used in the Lord’s Prayer is in fact rooted in this very meaning: to let go, to give up a debt.
Perpetually being entitled to repayment, followed by disappointment and discouragement when it doesn’t happen, can be a primary driver in acting out behavior. Maybe we need to do some forgiveness work and let some folks off the hook. Biblically, we’re called to be debt free; for our own good.