Set Free to Live as His Workmanship {a guest post by Jacquie Wagner}

 I am so grateful to have Jacquie Wagner sharing with us today. Although we have never met face to face, Jacquie’s words and prayers have been a source of encouragement in my life for years. The love of Jesus shines so clearly through her – and I see such a beautiful reflection of our Savior in her love for God and for the body of Christ. {You can read more of Jacquie’s words and see her editorial handiwork over at Christian Women Online.}  

I am particularly grateful for Jacquie’s testimony today…because sometimes the most difficult battles we fight are within ourselves and we can lose sight of the victory that is already ours through Jesus. Sometimes we hold onto our pasts, hold onto our sins, hold onto the chains that have already been broken by our Savior’s power. I am thankful for this truth that Jacquie is reminding us of today…submitting to Christ’s authority and receiving His grace over our lives brings freedom and peace, hope and purpose. He overcomes the darkness around us and within us….loving us all the while.

For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.-Col. 1:13

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Because Jesus is Alive… I’m not stuck with myself and less likely to be stuck on myself!

We all have them ~those days where we run face to face into who we are in our flesh, with our failings ~ our ugly parts that surface and show themselves to, at, and over others, or our own personal load of sin that shows itself to us: fear, doubt, gossip, laziness, unkindness, meanness, our… Maybe it would be faster to just quote the love part of 1 Corinthians 13 ~ only as the opposite of all those good things. Or maybe snag one or more of Paul’s deadly accurate lists of sins, the makeup of our Self ~ ugh! Apart from the work of God in our lives, we are none of us very pretty on the inside ~ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

Praise be to God who does not leave us in our filth!  Praise be to God who gave us Jesus, His only Son, who died to pay for our transgressions, and who rose again and lives at the right hand of the Father interceding for us!  Praise God for the reality of the Blood which cleanses us from ALL sin!  I don’t know about you, but one of the realities of the cross that is hard for me to grasp with any kind of a firm hold is the truth that ALL of our sins ~ our personal “whoops-ities” and “grossities” ~were FUTURE sins at the cross.  We tend ~ in moods of introspection and/or when we’re forced to see it ~ to get hung up on our sin and failures like they somehow make us lesser in that moment or season.  The truth is, though, that our present sins are no more degrading/depressing/dehumanizing/deinflating etc. than our first sin or whatever our last sin will be.  Sin is sin and it was all paid for BEFORE we ever committed them!  We are no less the beloved children of God when we sin than before.

God loves us right where we are now ~ in the midst of a mess or on the high way with Him ~ because the truth is we’re always on the high way with Him. God’s not any more enamored of our times of sin than we are, but He’s FAR less interested in stirring them around than we are. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 Then He drops them in the sea of forgetfulness and would like us to do the same because:

~ Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… Romans 8:1

~ For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

~ I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20

~  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Which verse brings us to the other half of a “problem” in our lives that Jesus delivers us from daily because He is alive ~

If I’m not unduly wrestling with remorse over my sin (and there is a time and place for that, but not everyday, all day where it paralyzes us in our walk with the Lord), then I’m wrestling with the flip side of things ~ glorying in what an awesome Christian I am for whatever awesome thing the Lord is doing in me and through me.  Whatever good is occurring in my life has zero to do  with me and everything to do with what the Lord is working in my life.  The  verse is so good and so full of truth, let’s do it again ~

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (emphasis mine)

We can follow this up with these good Words of Life ~

…it is God Who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image of glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Not much room in there for me, or you, to be taking any glory for the good! Likewise, there’s not much room to be stuck mourning our sins, for we really don’t have time ~

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:37-28

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