There Is No Condemnation in Christ Jesus - Romans 8:1-2

Focus On Grace

I’ve been working through thoughts and frustrations that are along the lines of, “Why can’t I just do what I know I’m supposed to?” (like exercising, not being generous enough or compassionate enough, among other things) and “Why do I do what I’m not supposed to?” (like eating badly, not watching what I say, working in my own strength instead of God’s… the list goes on and on). These are perennial things I do that I feel like I should have conquered by now. My struggle reminded me of Romans 7 where Apostle Paul talks about the battle between flesh and spirit.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. – Romans 7:18 ESV

After Paul talks about the struggle, he goes on to talk about grace and the freedom we can live in because of Jesus.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. … – Romans 8:1-3a ESV

God has given me the grace to step out of the battle and trust in the work of Jesus. Not that I give in to the pull of the flesh (that would be serving the flesh and we’ve died to that, see Romans 6:1-3), but that I can believe in the mercy of His love. He’s poured out over me the grace I need to set aside the battle and step into His love.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. – Romans 8:5-6 ESV

Today, as I started going around and around about what I hadn’t done or what felt impossible to do, I remembered this and took a deep breath, and focused instead on His grace.

“Thank you, God, for showing Yourself to me and teaching me about who You are. Because of my relationship with you through Jesus, I can believe in You and trust in You. I know You’re working out all this in me to Your glory and I don’t have to beat myself up over it. You are good, and You are strong, and You are in me. I trust in Your work and I choose to forget about what I can/should/haven’t done. Instead, I will live in each moment and trust your guidance and mercy as you show yourself more and more to me.”


Let the Redeemed Say So - Psalm 107:2

I’m Redeemed

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble. – Psalm 107:1-2 ESV

Today’s post will be a little different than my usual style. Instead of going over a theological truth, I felt like I wanted to take a moment to live out Pslam 107:2 “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…”.

I am fully convinced that I have an eternal soul that was created before the world and will continue to live past this finite existence. I believe that I was created this way by God because He willed it. God put His beautiful creation, people, on to this earth to live and to give them an opportunity to choose Him. Unfortunately, they chose sin. Because of that choice, all people are now under the curse of separation from God. Loving His children and not wanting to remain eternally separated from them, He created a way to bring them back to Him. His Only Son, fully God, came to earth in the form of man, Jesus Christ, to break the curse from the inside out.

These are my beliefs, but now I’d like to share some of my story in experiencing those truths instead of simply understanding them.

I grew up as a conservative Christian in a loving home. I wasn’t a bad kid overall, but I wasn’t very connected with church or God either. When I was getting ready to go to college, my thoughts on church was maybe I’d find something, maybe I’d just enjoy sleeping in on Sunday mornings. Guess which one I chose.

College was a rough time of learning to adapt from my conservative background to the world of academia. Because I wasn’t connected personally to God, I stepped away from pretty much all beliefs. I never questioned that God existed, but I didn’t know what to do with Jesus. I threw out the Bible as I thought it was a tool of manipulation, not truth.  To be even more honest, I only thought about religion when pressed. I enjoyed a good religious discussion if it came up (from the perspective of not agreeing with it, of course), but I wouldn’t generally start those conversations on my own.

My choices at the time were not the greatest ones and I ended up blaming all of college for the bad few experiences of a bad relationship and not fitting in to my chosen major. I couldn’t wait till graduation and all my focus was on surviving till then.

After graduation, I ended up doing the one thing I really hadn’t wanted to do: move home. My dreams going into college were to become a great opera singer and move to New York. Ha! I realized that music wasn’t the move for me, so I took a year and worked and tried to figure out life. I didn’t want to go back to my conservative friends and upbringing, but I didn’t have a lot of friends in area that weren’t in that group.

I looked around for ways to make new friends and get involved, but I felt lost and adrift. I was also ready for a relationship and was ready to meet a guy who wasn’t a jerk (unlike my last couple choices). I thought about the guys in college that I’d respected and who treated their girlfriends the way I wanted to be treated and they had one thing in common: they were Christians. Not being a dummy, I decided to get myself a Christian boyfriend. However, I couldn’t say that I was a Christian, but I thought that I could get a good guy and then convince him to stop going to church when I got bored with it. Not even kidding.

My plan was to attend a bunch of churches until I found one with a fun group of young people and go from there. I opened the newspaper and found the first non-denomination church on the list, called the number and got the service times and address (this was before I had GPS or even a smart phone!), and showed up Sunday morning.

There was one thing I hadn’t anticipated, however. That was that the church I attended had a real and passionate love for Christ and their worship was wonderful and moving. In those first couple weeks, I felt the power of God like I never had before. God was in their sermons and their songs and their prayers. By the end of that summer, I had accepted Jesus as my Savior and committed my life to serving Him. I didn’t even mind that this church had absolutely zero in the young people activity department! Instead, I soaked up God every Sunday, joined a small group, and started learning to live in Him every day.

That’s the story of how I recognized that I needed to be redeemed and stepped out in faith. This is just the beginning of my story. I used to think that my salvation experience would be the number one important one for me, but I’ve learned it’s simply the romance that started an amazing relationship. Every day since then I’ve learned more about the Lord and experienced Him deeper and more powerfully. That’s the story that I want to say, and I’d say it to the whole world if I could: This relationship is real and worth it! I am redeemed!