Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hopeless, Ashamed, Yet Brought Near {Lent Day #7}

The tears were coming so easily yesterday and this morning ~ tears of joy and tears of fatigue and frustration.  My friends got to meet their sweet son soon after his birth mother gave birth, and the pictures that followed were just so beautiful.  In the midst of all of that joy, there was also the stress of preparing to teach, buy groceries two days before pay day, shepherd teens in their various activities and needs, and just physical weariness.  I sent the oldest out the door early this morning for a Young Life ski trip, and as he left I couldn't hold back the tears of realization that he'll be gone next year, and of how much I will miss him.

And my temptation is to plow through the early morning hours accomplishing the long list of urgent chores, but I sit and read and this these verses strike me.  They also bring to mind things discussed yesterday over lunch with a young woman from my church.  She wondered about her motives in living out faith and serving in various ways, whether they were out of a sincere love for Christ, and whether she should be doing them if not.

"...remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who were formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ."
Ephesians 2: 12-13

Lord, thank you for drawing me near to You in Jesus. I was a stranger and without hope and You brought me near through His blood.  Again, I confess taking it lightly and living with the attitude that I deserved it.  I didn't deserve it ~ it was a gift in spite of my lacking of any qualifying characteristics.  Thank you for the gift of salvation.  Forgive the attending of church, the singing of songs, the leading of Bible study ~ when those activities are all for my own enjoyment and exaltation.  I do love Your Word and worship and ministry, but there is always selfishness mixed in and a desire to gain approval and a circling of friends who like me and make me feel good and useful. Forgive and purify those thoughts and motives. Forgive my hesitations and outright refusals to speak of You because my reputation may be in jeopardy if I do.  And if I really get to the bottom of this, I have to confess being ashamed of You, and not truly loving Your church either.  Just like I was hopeless to save myself, I am also hopeless to have pure love for You and pure motives in serving You without Your grace and transforming work in my life.  Thank you that you give that grace freely!

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