An Easter season reflection by former UGM staff writer, Merrily Brast.
I have, lately, been very aware of my humanity.
What I mean is that I’ve been very aware of my humanness in comparison to God’s holiness– my wandering heart compared to His faithfulness, my shortcomings to His grace, even my own, flawed goodness to His perfect goodness.
“We fail over, and over, and over again. And we cannot, in and of ourselves, escape this destructive cycle.
So, God sent His son, Jesus Christ.
The Book of John (itself called the “gospel” or “good news”) says in chapter 3: ‘For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.’ The price for our sin is death, the debt has to be paid, and Jesus paid it.
Jesus loved us, and in the greatest act of love, He laid down His life, dying on a cross. He accepted the consequence of our sin in order that we may receive forgiveness and be saved.” (Taken from UGM Gospel page)
I’ve accepted this gospel of Jesus Christ. I know He died for my sins and that I’m forgiven and saved. So, why is the struggle still SO REAL?
Galatians 5:1 is often repeated here at UGM in the LIFE (an acronym for Living in Freedom Every day) Recovery programs. It reads, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” But this verse has often puzzled me.
I mean, of course Christ set us free for freedom…that seems obvious.
But the verse goes on. “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
“Do not let yourselves be burdened again…” Honestly, I frequently live “burdened by a yoke of slavery” even though I already have access to freedom. Is it really any wonder I feel inadequate?
The beauty of the gospel is that it doesn’t deny my inadequacy, (“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”), but rather points me to Christ’s sufficiency – His perfection, His sacrifice, and His resurrection. And by believing this truth, God graciously makes Christ’s sufficiency my own.
I regularly rely on my feelings instead of my faith. But the truth is often contrary to my feelings.
- My feelings tell me I’m inadequate. Faith believes God’s “grace is sufficient for me, His power is made perfect in my weakness.”
- My feelings tell me I’m broken. Faith believes Jesus holds healing and binds up the broken heart.
- My feelings tell me I have to work harder to be “good.” Faith believes I will never be “good” enough, but I can receive Christ’s holiness by God’s grace.
Jesus expresses several times, “Your faith has saved you,” only to follow it with, “go in peace.” (Luke 7:50)
Faith – in Jesus, in forgiveness, in truth – allows me to live in peace. And that peace gives freedom, the freedom for which “Christ has set us free.”
I can continue to choose living in bondage to my inadequacy, even though I already have access to freedom through faith. Or, I can choose faith which transforms my life into one of peace and freedom; freedom secured for me by Christ.
This time of year, the Easter season, is a bold reminder of the freedom Christ has given us in his death and resurrection. It drives me back to the truth that I’m no longer a slave to sin. So, no doubt it will NOT be easy, but by God’s grace, I’ll live less and less by feeling and increasingly in freedom.
Encourage a friend and remind him or her of the reason for the season. Send a card this Easter.