In a scene from the 2003 movie Luther, Martin Luther lies prostrate on the stone floor of his cell, praying from a most broken and desperate place, "I am Yours: save me! Save me! I am Yours!" That scene has been stuck in my head lately, playing over and over and over.
That broken and desperate place is the "birthing room" of a new Christian life. But I am beginning to realize that it is also the home and the hearth, the very heart beat, of every waking moment of this new life...not just some snapshot in a baby album that we revisit as we reminisce occasionally on significant moments in our past.
All the prayers for repentance and wisdom, the desire to have an attentive and submissive heart, the yearning to be faithful and obedient to God's will for me and to walk joyfully in the paths He has given me...none of those have saved me, and none of them ever will. Only Jesus. Completely.
It's been a long, hard week. What an understatement! Driving home from Wal-Mart late last night, I was crying (exhausted) and trying again to wrap my brain around what it means to live a life of faith in Christ. Isn't it supposed to be something glorious, like preaching the Gospel under-cover in some Muslim country? Or, raising money for orphans in Haiti? Or, standing trial for my faith in Rome? Lord, really, is it just scanning suitcases of beer and carts full of frozen TV dinners? Instead of a spear or a gun, is it really just this relentless pain in my elbows and knees? Instead of the accusations of the Pharisees, is it really just taking the insults and verbal barbs of tired, nasty, bad-mannered people, trying to find some way to speak some light and levity into their day? Is it going home to a quiet house and cold left-overs, too tired to even think, but already conscious of the demands of tomorrow? I am worn out and lonely and not feeling particularly "fulfilled" - Lord, is this how it's supposed to be? Really, Lord?
I'd like to think I could do "great" things...witness in a hostile environment, endure persecution, die for Jesus. (Ooooooh, or maybe I could write something amazing!) But the reality is, I can barely even do the little things. Like say, "I'm sorry you've had a bad day - I hope tomorrow is better for you" to the man who just dumped a truck-load of garbage on me. Like smile and say "Thank you" to the Wicked Witch of the West. Like hold the hand of the gray-haired truck driver, on his way from Louisiana to New York, who is just too tired and wants nothing more than to get back home.
Nope. I can't even do the little things. I'm a mess. A disaster. If anything is going to save me, it will have to be Jesus. Completely. Save me Lord...I am Yours!
In this week's Soli Deo Gloria article, Wally Bumpas wrote: In 1 John 2:1, Jesus is called our "advocate with the Father." An advocate is like an attorney arguing your case. What is Jesus pleading when He "pleads our cause?" And why is this necessary?....we have a mortal enemy who accuses us (Revelation 12:10) before God. This enemy is Satan...He goes before God and says, "Joe and Jane Christian over there are very poor Christians. Their faith is flimsy and they sin a lot. They're not good enough for You and they certainly don't deserve to go to heaven." Though Satan is called a liar and the father of lies in the Bible, when he says such things about Christians, he is telling the truth. So, when Jesus pleads our cause, He doesn't defend us based on our obedience and our great faith. He pleads His own life and death in our place....That's what keeps Christians saved: not our performance, but Christ's substitution and intercession. (You can read the entire article here.)
Yes, if I'm to be saved, Jesus will have to save me. Yesterday, today, tomorrow...Jesus will have to save me, completely and for eternity, because nothing else and no one else can.
Glorious Gospel: Jesus does indeed save sinners! God chose the foolish, the weak, the lowly, the despised (1 Corinthians 1:27-31). Yes, that describes me. I need Jesus. Lord, I am yours...save me!
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." - Romans 1:16-17