I was listening to Matthew 5-8 on my way to work today and many things jumped out at me but one thing has caused me to really think. Matthew 8:2 3 where Jesus heals the leper. "A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy." I have focused on the part where Jesus touched him because to touch a leper was not something anyone would do. What I missed was "if you are willing". The Message says "if you want to". The leper believed that Jesus had the power to heal him but he did not think he was good enough. Look at those words again "if you want to". Because he thought I am a filthy sinner and that is the reason I got this disease so Jesus may not want to heal me. Perhaps he will turn away just like everyone else.
My thoughts immediately went to me. How do I approach Jesus? Do I believe that Jesus has the power but may not have the "want to"? Yep, all the time. I see myself as the filthy sinner too. Why would he heal me? I am deserve my hurt, my habit, my hangup. Of course when you examine that feeling it is all based in a lie. How many scriptures tell us a different story. There is a book I have read about three times and he lists in the book (Conformed To His Image by Kenneth Boa) 45 (if I counted right) scriptures who tell us who we are in Christ. The first three in the list alone tell us: "I am a child of God (John 1:12), I am a branch of the true vine and a conduit of Christ's life (John 15:1,5) and I am a friend of Jesus (John 15:15)". Just those tell us a lot about our worth.
So, why do I struggle to accept those things? I would say it is because I feel like I do not deserve it. Well, that feels right but it is not true. Jesus gave up heaven for me. If I did not deserve it why did He come? He came because He wants me to know how much he loves me and no matter how I feel He cares.
Though step studies I have begun to accept my identity in Christ but I still want to listen to those old voices at times and slip back into the "I'm not good enough" self-pity party. When I do I am thankful I have those that remind me that I am good enough and I need to get out of myself and think of others.
Perhaps you are caught in that pit of self-pity and you are having a big pity party. Well, come to Celebrate Recovery Friday night and find out how to get out of that trap. Start your journey at 6 PM with dinner and stay to the lights go out. I will guarantee that you will leave feeling loved and accepted. See you Friday!