Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Finally, A Clear Conscience

Have you ever seen the show The Biggest Loser?
Well, the other night was my first time watching it.
I know a lot of topics are brought up throughout the show to grip the viewers;
I get it, tears and laughs make good TV.
I'll admit, I laughed... but I'll be really really honest when I admit... I cried... A LOT.

It's funny, sometimes I watch TV and I will literally say to my husband,
"Wow, if only they knew Jesus. They're whole situation would be so different."
.... He then has to remind me that it's a movie and not actually real life.
BUT! This time, I kept saying it over and over and over as I listened to these people talk about their lives, their mistakes, and their self-worth all on reality TV.

The truth is, these people really do struggle with all of this.
The truth is, so do you and I.

As people told their stories, you could see how they viewed themselves in such negative light, but one woman's story gripped my heart.

Watch this short clip of her story:

My goodness.
My heart absolutely breaks for her.
"I should have had my life together."
She takes all the blame.
Her guilt is heavy.
Her heart is heavy.
The weight she feels from this unexplainable accident is heavy.
She felt regret, guilt, shame, and even said,
"There isn't anything anybody could say, cause it was my fault."

I'm not sure if you have experienced something this heart breaking.
However, I do know that at one point or another in our lives, we have all experienced the weight of regret and shame.
Maybe you have felt as if there was no way you could ever be forgiven for what you've done.
Sometimes we experience such deep shame from the things we have done; sometimes bad things happen TO us that make us feel this way too. 
Someone steals your innocence or maybe you experience loss or pain like this woman, and you feel like since you've had something stolen from you that it's all your fault, and that you could have prevented it.
Maybe you messed up and were left with a feeling of regret. You give into something you promised yourself you wouldn't do again.
Then,  after it's all said and done, you're stuck looking in the mirror disappointed with guilt as you face yourself. 
The shame and anxiety only build, they never fade.

So you push it out of your head. 
You push the feeling of regret, remorse, and shame and fill it by trying, in your own efforts, to become a "good girl" or a "man of integrity". You might start getting involved with church, you start serving the poor, or feeding the hungry.
 Or maybe, you shove it out of your mind, and try to forget by finding the next thing to make you feel fulfilled or numb the pain. It could be anything- your job, your social life, drugs, alcohol, the same sex, the opposite sex, seeking others approval, harming yourself- the list could go on and on. 
I don't mean to make this such a heavy topic, but I'm tired of the enemy lying to God's children and making them feel like they're isolated and alone and the only ones feeling as if they're always coming up short with no hope for a clear conscience. 
The truth is YOU'RE NOT alone, we have ALL felt this way, myself included. 
 God has created you; He sees and knows your every mistake and your every effort to erase and redo the past. 
The truth of it all is that you can't. 
But that's where Jesus comes in. 
That's where the Hope for all generations comes in. 
You see, God sent His only son, to come down from Heaven, a King who left His kingdom, to take away all of your mistakes, sin, and shame. 
I love how Francis Chan puts it in his book "Crazy Love"; he writes, 
"The wages of sin will always be death. But because of God's mercy, sin is paid for through the death of Jesus Christ, instead of the death of you and me." 
You see, the consequences of every mistake we make is death, depression, guilt, shame and regret, but because God himself had mercy and LOVE for us all, He came down, in His perfection, to not only die in our place, but also take on all the mistakes, sins, depression, shame, guilt, and embarrassment we would ever experience in this life so that we didn't have to. He came in love to set us free from all shame and regret. 
Even while being mocked by the people killing him, His plea is for them to be forgiven (Luke 23: 34). This is just another example of his boundless compassion and divine grace He has for all people.

You see, before Jesus came, there was absolutely no sacrifice, no good deed, no action that could clear the human conscience (Hebrews 9:9). 
Isaiah 64:6 says that "all of our righteous acts are like filthy rags." 
Our good deeds can never outweigh our sins.
In all our efforts, we could never be good enough to come into God's presence. 
But because of Jesus, there is grace and mercy. 
Because of Jesus, we can have a clear conscience. 
Hebrews 9:14 says that Christ came to free us from all of our dead-end efforts to clear our conscience, so that we may forever be in His presence and be fulfilled by Him and His glory and magnitude. That we may live our days serving Him and being dramatically changed for better and better as we draw closer to Him and learn more about how loving and good He is. 
The last part of Isaiah 42:16, God says, 
"I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them [me and you]."
He turns our darkness to light, and every rough season we face, He levels the ground; 
He walks with us.  
I have more good news. 
When you believe that Jesus did all of this for you, that God loves you and wants to be in relationship with you, and that Jesus left God's side to be by yours, the beautiful truth about grace is that God "blots out your transgressions (your mistakes, your every dirty thought or action), and will not remember your sins." 
It sounds crazy.
It is crazy.
We deserve shame and guilt, but instead, God offers us love and acceptance?
It sounds so opposite of how things work. 
That's the beauty of it. 
God is that good that you don't have to live with regret anymore. 
When you surrender your life to Him and His goodness, this is what you find. 

In Isaiah 43:11 God says "I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior." 

I can attest through experience that God is the ultimate Savior, the only savior. 
I have found that all other "saviors" are superficial, but God is everlasting in His fulfillment of our every void and need. He forgets our sin. He cleans up every mess we make. Through our rough times, through our short comings, mistakes, and sins, God shows His glory by his ultimate love for us. By giving His life for us. By giving us an exchanged life. He took our shame, so we wouldn't have to experience it. 
He took our guilt, so that we can live a life with a clear conscience and free from anxiety and worry. 
This is how God shows He is the ultimate savior;
He forgets your sin, and pours out His love on you. 
Because you are His. 
Because He made you to be in relationship with Him so that you may be free from all guilt, depression, shame, and regret. 
Because, without Him, you have no chance of escaping the bondage of your sin. 

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