Wednesday, June 9, 2010

In Christ Alone

I have been going through the Beth Moore Bible Study, "Breaking Free" with a friend this spring. We have been talking often about our job as Christ-followers to empty ourselves of "us." When we empty ourselves of "us" and fill our spirits with Jesus, we actually become the person that God really wants us to be. Sound confusing? It is a little, but let me make it more clear for you by sharing with you an email I received from Jenn.

I met Jenn late last spring just before she gave birth to her third child. A few weeks previous to our meeting, Jenn's husband, Billy, who many thought was a believer, decided to rebel against God's authority over his life. Billy had met another woman when he was away for a 5 week military assignment and he called Jenn during that time to inform her that he would not be coming home, but would be leaving her and their two (almost three) preschool-aged children. Needless to say, Jenn was shocked and life has permantly changed for her family. Billy obtained a quick divorce and married his mistress and now plans to move to another state to be with her.

Given the above history, anyone sane would say that Jenn had every right in the world to be bitter. She was the one wronged. She was the one left holding the bag...and the baby...and the house payment. She lost. Billy won. Right? Wrong.

As Christ followers, we have agreed to become "living sacrifices" unto God. Being a "sacrifice" means giving up. Yourself. Emptying you of you. Having no rights anymore. When we become living sacrifices, we become holy and pleasing to God--and it is only then--after we give ourselves to His service--that He can fully fill us up with His Holy Spirit. In doing this we are the true winners. This is SO hard to remember when we are the one who is wronged. It is even harder to put into practice...but it can be done. Which brings me back to Jenn. Jenn has emptied herself of Jenn. Jenn has filled herself with Christ. How else could she write the following email?

I may be meeting Billy’s new wife, Sara, tomorrow in the late afternoon. He’s moving to Ohio to live with Sara after he drops off Lily and Lucas to my home. My prayer is that every piece of me that has ugliness toward those two would be permanently erased, and that I can show Sara the love of Christ. I know it doesn’t mean being her best friend or condoning what has happened. But to be conformed to Christ means to show her love despite what she has done to me and my children. I know that through the power of Christ, one life could be changed forever for the kingdom of God. This is not about me. This is about an opportunity to save, renew or influence a soul. And if nothing else, I’ll have examined my own heart and allowed God to cleanse it, and my children may have a moment that will remain with them for life, seeing that God can take away bitterness and produce love beyond what a human being is capable of. They can look back and remember and example of the power of God at work.

I thank you all for your prayers during the past year. I now covet your prayers for Billy’s and Sara’s hearts to be softened, and for my heart to be transformed yet again. The moment his car pulls into the driveway begin a critical moment in time. I am willing to surrender all of myself…but there is still ugliness in my heart that needs to be removed. “Lead me to the cross, where Your love poured out. Bring me to my knees, Lord I lay me down. Rid me of myself, I belong to You. Oh lead me, lead me to the cross.”

For God’s glory!


Only through Christ can Jenn have Love this perfect. Only through Christ can Jenn think this clearly when she is hurting. Only through Christ can Jenn's feelings of hate be transformed into such Mercy. Only through Christ can Jenn ask for blessing on her enemies rather than revenge. Only through Christ is Jenn made more like the self God designed her to be.

In Christ, there is freedom, not bondage. In Christ, there is hope, not desperation. In Christ, their is clarity not confusion. In Christ there is wholeness for our broken, bandaged souls.

I was so struck by Jenn's authenticity, and brokeness and Strength in her weakness. Christ is being so clearly reflected in her life, and her love, and now...her legacy.

Thank you Jenn.
Thank you God.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

"In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling."
Exodus 15:13

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