What Are You Doing Here?

 "Towards evening they heard the Lord God walking about in the garden, so they hid themselves among the trees. The Lord God called to Adam, 'Where are you?' " Genesis 3:8-9...." There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. But the Lord said to him, 'What are you doing here Elijah?' " I Kings 19:9....."God is not disappointed in us. He's disappointed for us." James Robison

 

I think a great need within the Body of Christ is that we learn the difference between conviction and condemnation. As Sheila Walsh has said, "Conviction is meant to draw us to Him. Condemnation will always drive us from Him." Though we may know the Scripture, "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ," we most often don't live as though we believe it. If we have failed Him, and we do and will, the enemy of our souls is right there to begin to lay his condemnation (not the Father's) upon us. "You messed up. You sinned. He won't forgive or forget. It's all over for you now." I know. I've been there. You have too. Maybe you're there right now. 

Let me say that I believe fully in a Father who holds us accountable in Christ. I don't believe in a cheap grace that allows us to live as we please and just think that His grace and love will make up for all of it in the end. We are called to holiness of life, and there are real consequences if we reject and disobey that calling. What we don't understand is what His heart response to all of that is. We think it's anger and retribution. I don't think it is. I believe His first response is sorrow. Sorrow over what we have brought upon ourselves and very likely others. His second response I believe, is desire. Desire to draw us to His heart in repentance, and in our repentance, He washes us and makes us clean. He does not lay condemnation upon us, which will surely drive us from Him, but convicts us, in our hearts, of our sin and failure. Making us aware of what our actions have cost us, and the damage they have done to us, to others, to Him. David said "Against Thee and Thee alone have I sinned." His convicting grace will bring us to that place as well. Yes, He hates sin. Yes, consistent, defiant rebellion will arouse His anger and wrath, but not until we have so rejected His grace that we can no longer respond to it.

I have seen the truth of Robison's words, that He is not disappointed in us, but for us, in my own life. I have told few people this story, but its reality is imprinted on my heart more than 30 years later. During my second year at Bible College, I was involved in a relationship that had more pain than anything else. I was sure He was directing me to break it off, and in obedience, I went to her to do so. In the course of that, I misread her response as one of sincerely desiring to have everything in the relationship change, and that the Lord had just wanted me to be willing to break it off. I remained in it, and eventually, we married. But it is what happened after I left her apartment that has remained with me all these years later.

I went into the city of Colorado Springs and walked about it as I was wont to do. As I did so, I felt a hollowness in my heart and spirit that I could not escape. I didn't fully realize what was happening, but I know now that it was His Spirit grieving over what would eventually happen. Pain, sorrow, destruction, as He foresaw the divorce and brokenness that lie ahead. He was not disappointed in me, but for me. Like Elijah, He was asking me what I was doing in this place? I missed His will and heart...and in great measure. But my failure was not final, and out of the ashes of that failure, He brought forth new life. Greater life. He always does. He always will...if we will respond to the conviction of His Spirit upon our hearts. Even when we miss it the first time.....and many times more.

The last word over our sins and failures is not the devil's condemnation, but the Father's convicting but gracious assurance that there is forgiveness, hope, and healing in His grace and love. Wherever we are, even if it is in the place He told us not to go to, He comes. He seeks. He calls to us. The only question is, will we allow ourselves to be drawn to Him, or the enemy to drive us from Him? Which direction are you moving in?

Blessings,
Pastor O

 

 

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