Tuesday, April 15, 2014

We Must Never Forget How He Rescued Us

As Easter draws near, I've been longing for a fresh reminder of what Jesus did for me on the cross.  Cause you see, sometimes I forget.  Sometimes I lose sight of why His death mattered for me.  Sometimes self-righteousness creeps into my heart and pride takes root.  I become self-sufficient.  Jesus dying on the cross is lessened to a good Sunday School story, rather than an epic rescuing of my soul. 

Were I to sit at the cross and watch and see with my own eyes the sacrifice Christ made for me, would I still forget?

Were I magically able to see what my life would be like had I never received His deep love for me and chosen to live my life for Him, would I still forget?

I've been studying the book of Hosea over the past few months.  It's a book highlighting the adulterous and waywardness of Northern Israel.  God's people forget Him.  They forget His love, His care, His protection, and His rescuing of them time and time again.  And God's jealous love for His people results in a justice of exile, but ends with a wondrous act of redemption. 

So why do I, like the Israelites, forget God?

Hosea 13:4-6 guides me to an answer:

"But I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt.  You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me.  I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat.  When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me."

We forget God when we fail to acknowledge that our satisfaction comes from Him and not our own doing.  I see this all the time.  God satisfies a need and overtime we begin to think we had something to do with it.  Pride swells within us as we take credit and thus, we forget He who was the true source of our satisfaction.

I have a very real and recent example of this from my own life.  To be honest I'd rather not air my dirty laundry before all of you, but the depravity of sin must not be hidden or silenced.  Part of remembering Jesus and the work He did on the cross is taking a good long look at our personal sin.  When we see how truly wretched we are without His saving grace, we simply cannot forget Him.

Sometimes I am guilty of taking credit in parenting.  When my children succeed and I feel satisfaction, pride can begin to swell up within me.  I forget I don't make them holy.  This past weekend Grayden, Cole, and I went to an Easter Egg hunt hosted by one of the parents of a student in Grayden's Kindergarten class.  We have become good friends with this family who happen to be believers.  Attending the hunt as well was another student in Grayden's class who let's just say hasn't made a great impression on me during other encounters I've had with him.  During the hunt, I watched this young man throw a fit about something that was pretty silly and ridiculous.  And I thought in my mind, "This kid is so dramatic.  My kids have never acted so ridiculous.  His mother must baby him."

As if thinking these self-righteous, haughty, and disgustingly snobby things wasn't enough, I then had to go and speak them.  I very haughtily and snobbishly said to the mom who hosted the party, "So, is Ryan (I'll call him) always so dramatic?"

And then comes the punch to my gut...

"He can be," she says, "but he's been having a hard time lately.  His brother is in the hospital and is really sick.  Mom and dad are away at the hospital a lot.  He's just having a hard time with it all."

Friends, I can honestly say I can't think of many times when I felt as ashamed as I did in that moment.  And talk about seeing the depravity of my own sin.  It had been a little while since my own kids had been dramatic in public so I started to think I was the sh*t as a mom (pardon my derogatory term, but it is the only word that appropriately portrays my pride).  Just like the Israelites, I forgot that Jesus is the source of success in my children's lives.  He meets their needs.  He's the reason for their growth.  Pride swelled within me and I thought my kids were better than that young man.  I thought I was a better parent than his parents.  I never considered for one minute that perhaps his behavior was warranted.  There was no grace in my heart at all.

I spent the next few days disgusted with myself.  My sin was ugly and foul.  I was moved to emotion on several occasions while talking with God about my actions.  I relentlessly sought forgiveness.  I found myself praying, "Lord, how could I so easily forget You?"  And then while in the Word I read those verses in Hosea and I knew.  God is continually satisfying my needs in parenting, but sometimes I creep in and take credit.  And when I take the credit and steal the glory, I forget Him.

So as Easter approaches I have been freshly reminded of what Jesus did for me on the cross.  He took my sin and all its depravity and pardoned me, making me pure and whole before Him. 

I had a dream years ago (I think I might have shared it with you before) in which I was standing with Jesus in a square room.  Written upon the walls was every sin I had ever committed.  I felt deep shame standing alongside of Him as He read me each sin.  But in His hand he held a red pen and He began to cross out every sin.  With each stroke of the red pen, His blood was covering my sins. 

I can now add to that wall "self-righteous, haughty parent."  And like the other sins upon that wall, His work on the cross marks a big red X over this most recent one.  Yet another chapter in His epic rescuing of my soul.

Today let's pray that our children clearly see how Jesus can rescue their souls.  And then let's pray that as He satisfies their needs they won't allow pride to swell up, causing them to forget Him.

Jesus,
The cross is ever before me, changing me from the inside out.  Help me to always see the depravity of my own sin and my constant need of You.  May I never take credit for righteousness, or anything else.  May I remember You always. 
 
And I pray this for my children as well.  I pray they will see their sin in all its depravity.  I pray they will come to the cross and want You to rescue their souls.  I pray they would always remember that You alone satisfy their needs.  May they never allow pride to swell up causing them to forget You. 

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