I found an old journal of mine in the basement today. I brought it upstairs, and I began to flip through it and read my entries from years ago. Before I knew it, I had been transported years back, reliving the moments I had written about. It was more of a prayer journal than a diary. I saw prayers I had written out that revealed a heart fully in love with God. I saw other prayers that revealed a heart in battle with sin. As I read on, I saw a heart losing battle after battle to sin. I read for quite a while and I just kept thinking, “Who was this person?” It was my handwriting. My writing style. My journal. It was me…but I did not even recognize the girl who wrote those words so long ago. It was like reading someone else’s life. I sat there wondering how I had ever gotten into that place spiritually, how my heart had ever gone that far. I was overcome with such a deep and overwhelming sense of shame and guilt. How could I have done all of that? And then suddenly, things somehow shifted from “who was this person?” to “I am this person.” I began to weep. My heart ached and I just sat there in pain asking, “Why do I feel unforgiven right now?” I remained there, under such a heavy weight of condemnation. I had no strength to fight it. We are on the tail end of almost three weeks of awful illness in our house. I am physically depleted, emotionally drained, and now this…
I could have stayed there longer, but the girls were napping and I had to redeem the time and practice music for church Sunday, so I hauled out the guitar and began working on my alto part for “Lord I Need You.” It is a powerful song. By the time I got to the second verse, I lost it again- but in a good way. “Where sin runs deep, Your grace is more. Where grace is found, is where You are. Where You are, Lord I am free! Holiness is Christ in me.” As I sang, and cried and worshipped, I saw my earlier experience for what it was. It was an attempt from my Enemy, my Accuser, to tear me down, to injure my heart, to get me to doubt the costly and eternal forgiveness that Jesus bought for me with His blood. His fiery darts had hit their mark and sunk in to a wounded place in me. But I am not defenseless anymore. I have a shield and I know how to use it. It is a shield made up of solid faith, and it not only blocks the fiery arrows, but it extinguishes them (Eph. 6:16). They fall to the ground and shatter because truth destroys lies. And I will not listen to a voice of shame over sin that I have utterly repented of and utterly forsaken. That is not the voice of God, and I refuse to listen to it. I am not the person I used to be and by God’s grace I will say that again someday as I look back on this day. He is changing me and working to conform me to the image of His Son (2.Cor. 3:18). Not only do I have a shield, I have a sword. And I know how to use that too. I am unsheathing it right now. Here we go:
-I am new creation.( 2Cor. 5:17)
-I am loved by God (I Thes. 1:4)
-I am chosen by God (Col.3:12)
-I am a child of God (I John 3:1)
-I am a child of light and not darkness (I Thess.5:5)
-I am an heir of God (Gal. 4:6-7)
-I am a friend of God (John 15:15)
-I am a citizen of heaven (Phil.3:20)
-I am a member of Christ’s body (Eph. 5:30)
-I am holy and dearly loved (Col.3:12)
-I am a member of a royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9-10)
-I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3)
-I am born of God, and the Evil one cannot touch me (I John 5:18).
This is how we wield this sword, even when we are weary. This is how we win this fight. The Enemy is unrelenting, but so is our Advocate. He never stops interceding for us. Satan is a defeated foe. He can fire flaming arrows at us, but it is up to us whether or not they hit their mark. If we just reach for our shield, there is no contest. Even the smallest fleck of faith is powerful enough to move mountains. That is our shield. Faith. Faith in a God who has defeated this Accuser and has removed our sin as far as the East is from the West.
So if you are anything like me, and the Enemy likes to hold your past sin over your head, remember that he has nothing in his hands. It is an illusion. Your sin is gone! Jesus took it. So hold up that shield and draw that sword and stand firm. You are Holy. You are chosen. You are loved. And so am I.
Just the encouragement I needed. God has been having me come across so much encouragement lately because He knows that I need it. The enemy has really been trying to derail me in the recent weeks. He’s also been trying to deceive me by making me think since I can be tempted with certain things, like the same sinful things I indulged in before following Christ, then that must mean this is who I am. The devil is a liar. I know one of his tactics, especially today, is using identity. As long as he gets us to say, “Yes, this who I am.” Then his fiery dart hits us. Thanks be to God for bringing to my remembrance that I am a new creation in Christ, all old things have passed away and everything has become new. I was also reminded that who the Son sets free is free indeed. Free indeed.
Thanks for writing this.