“In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons
through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will–
to the praise of His glorious grace, wherein He has
made us accepted in the Beloved.”
Like many, I suppose, I spend a considerable amount of time beating myself up for being a failure as a Christian; I feel like I must be a major disappointment to God. I feel like I’ve got sinning down to an exact science–in thought, word and deed sin abounds in me in spades every day.
I know I’m very worldly, and my “holy talk” aside, I don’t take many pains to appear otherwise. Sometimes I think behaving better than we really are is supposed to be part of our walk–like other believers will be inspired by our apparent sanctification. But it’s difficult for me to fake it. Pride is high on my list of shortcomings. I know that one of our goals as Jesus-followers is for our ego to gradually empty to be filled with more of Him. Like John the Baptist I must decrease so He can increase (John 3:30). I’m having a hard time with that. I keep thinking about having tattooed on my left wrist: “It’s Not About You”–sort of as a reminder.
My problem with anger is such that I just don’t judge and condemn people, I murder them in my thoughts. I’ve committed most every type of “cide”– homicide, genocide, suicide, you name it. Probably my worst anger is directed at myself. What goes on in my brain many days is not a pleasant sight. And I generally feel fairly unmoved by Paul’s assertion that where sin abounds grace also abounds–the power of the evil one and his lies being overwhelming much of time. If I’m not busy judging and condemning practically every other believer I know, then I’m having lustful thoughts about every third woman in my orbit– idolatrous to the max. Like I said, it’s not a pretty picture.
Then I hear the phrase: “IN THE BELOVED” and that sinks in–and suddenly Grace becomes Joy, and that where I’ve been hidden safely by God, inside Jesus His Beloved Son, no less, becomes really real. And I know that everything will be okay in the end, and that because I’ve been placed “in the Beloved” a righteous, holy God doesn’t see a hideous, lustful, angry sinner–He sees His Beloved Son.