I thought of giving this post the title "How To Kill Your Blog," but that sounded a bit dramatic. ☺ I hope I don't sound like I'm constantly complaining here, and have been a little worried that I've become the "bummer blogger" with this season's posts. The really awesome thing, though, is that just as I was about to sit down and write a disclaimer and reminder about my recent posts, I opened up my email to find one from from my dear friend, Deborah. She was writing to say hi and tell me how she could relate to the posts. It was so very encouraging to me, and now I'm not quite as worried now that my "confessions" are being misunderstood! Actually, I heard from another friend and former church member last week via email about the same thing, and I couldn't believe the Lord's timing in it all. I was in need of encouraging words, and He provided them. So good. So thankful.
But just in case you are getting worried about my mental and emotional state, I thought I would remind you that I really felt led by the Lord to post every day during the season of Lent ~ about my own depravity and sinfulness as a way to observe this season. I didn't get the sense that He was asking me to give something up, as in fasting from sugar or Facebook, etc., but rather He seemed to be asking me to focus daily on the discipline of confession. Confession of sin, and also confession of the Lord's holiness and grace. So I'm about half way through, and yes, it may be a bummer to read about sinfulness, and it may be a bummer to think on depravity, but for me, it's a way to highlight my need for Christ and His forgiveness and then celebrate those things on Resurrection Sunday.
So, speaking of depravity....
The first time I ever really considered the subject was in college when my Bible study leader, Cas, was taking us through the book of Romans. Cas lives in North Carolina now, and is still a dear friend. We just enjoyed a two-hour phone date a few weeks ago to catch up! It is Cas whom the Lord used to develop in me a love for His Word.
|Our Romans Bible Study Group circa 1990. I'm pretty sure we were ALL wearing Keds in this pic.|
|Cas, me, and Tracy ~ in our Laura Ashley (of course) at my bridal shower.|
|And lest you think she got stuck in '90's fads, here is a more current photo of Cas and her hubby, Bob. ☺ Aren't they so cute?|
She was quite the "drill sergeant" when it came to studying Romans ~ making us read it 50 times and memorize 2 verses from each chapter. You had to be ready to be called upon spontaneously to recite any of those verses in our weekly gathering. I can still do some of them. One of the first ones we learned was Romans 1:28-32. I was horrified. All it is is a LONG list of sins. What a bummer of a verse, and how will I ever learn that LONG depressing list, I remember thinking? Here's how it goes:
And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with...
full of envy
they are gossips
haters of God
inventors of evil
disobedient to parents
...and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
Ugh. What a wretched list. I remember one of the girls in the study saying she had learned that a good way to remember what the word "justification" means is to think of the similar sounding phrase "just as if I never sinned." I thought Cas might come unglued. In light of this verse, she firmly explained, we are never to think of ourselves as having never sinned. Rather, we are to acknowledge these wretched things about ourselves and our former standing before a holy God, and then have hearts overwhelmed with gratitude and worship at the "Therefore" that is found in Romans 8:1 because of the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus...
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Lord, help me to recognize my current and former self in this long, wretched list of sin. I have been all of these things, and continue to fight the indwelling battle with many of them. May the reality of my sin make me treasure Your death and resurrection on my behalf all the more.