Back to the cross again…

tr.v. re·deemed, re·deem·ing, re·deems

1. To recover ownership of by paying a specified sum.

2. To pay off

3. To turn in and receive something in exchange

I’ve been walking through a season of learning about redemption lately. I grew up hearing that I was redeemed and saved once I gave my life to Christ but this year I am learning what that means more then ever. I never realized how wrong my perspective has been at times and what it means to really live like I am redeemed.

We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God constantly. We mess up and God forgives us and saturates us in mercy. I get that message but to actually receive that and live like we believe that is hard sometimes.

We all have a past and have made mistakes. I have a long history of relying on the grace of God meaning…I have sinned big time before. Quite a while back I sinned and screwed up pretty good…or bad I suppose I should say. For the sake of “it doesn’t matter anymore” I’m not going to go into details about it. I talked to a pastor friend of mine, we prayed through it, I asked Christ for forgiveness, and started fresh hoping to never think about it again. I missed out on a key factor though in that process and God brought it back to me.

I got a call from someone who heard a rumor about it and recently they confronted me. I was blindsided by the whole thing because I hadn’t thought about it in a long time. The worst part of it all was when it was brought up to me I was flooded with an all too familiar feeling of shame and humiliation that I once had. Really, I was blindsided by those feelings. Why was I feeling this again when I dealt with it and moved on? I asked for forgiveness, exposed it, confessed it, and put it behind me. What was I missing?

I looked up the definition of Redeemed (as you saw) and number 3 was highlighted to me. “To turn in and receive something in exchange”. I had confessed the sin and turned myself in but I didn’t receive something in exchange. I didn’t receive forgiveness. Sure I asked for it but asking for it and actually accepting it are two totally different things. So, this brought me to a place of self-evaluation and asking God to help me and to show me how to receive his forgiveness.

Not receiving Gods forgiveness is like showing God that what He did for me on the cross doesn’t matter. He died because He knew I was going to screw up…a lot. Even recently I had an amazing opportunity to share about Christ with a new friend who had never met Him. I was sharing all the amazing truths about the cross and how we are forgiven. How God loved us so much that He came and died so that we could really live yet the truth of redemption was not yet alive in me.

Here is what I was missing…

I can’t receive His forgiveness until I receive His love completely.

It’s so hard for me at times to wrap my mind around how great His love is. I can hear the message of His love everyday and yet still it’s hard to grasp. Our minds can’t fathom the depth of it. That means I need God to help give me an understanding of that amazing love. He has to give me an understanding because on my own I can’t do it.

With all of this I also have to continually pursue his character in me and surrender myself to Him daily so that He can work in me.

Ephesians 3:14-20 says: 14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more then we might ask or think”.

This is my prayer right now. I am not walking in shame from my past but this situation showed me again how I have not grasped His amazing love for me. I am reminded that I must pursue His love. I must always be in a place of seeking to grow and learn more of His love. I also have to walk in a lifestyle of forgiveness and grace, forgiveness for myself and for others. You could say, God’s love for myself and God’s love for others.

Along with God giving me that understanding, having people in my life that love me like Christ has been crucial in me breaking through this stuff. I want to love people like God loves me because it covers shame and humiliation. It makes wrongs right and sets the captive free. Love sets the captive free. If we as Christians are giving away the Love of Christ to our friends, families, and places of influence…not our own love but that “perfect love”, I think we will all begin to truly understand His love in a way we never before have. It starts with me right now, and you if you choose. We have the ability to set the captive free with our love and to release people from the bondage of shame and sin. To love people into the destiny God has in store for their lives. We get the honor of being Jesus to each other. How cool is that?

Jesus,

Help me to understand your love in a greater way and to walk in your forgiveness not just for myself but daily for others. I want to live like I am redeemed, saved, and set free. I want to know you in a greater way so that I can understand more fully how deep your love really is for me. Break through everything I think I know and continue to cover my sin and messiness with your love. I know your perfect love covers ALL. Receiving forgiveness is just a part of learning your love and I want to get it all. I love you Jesus for all you are to me. For your grace, redemption, salvation, and freedom. Lead me to your cross God.  Thank you for your cross…Amen

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