My Spirit Rejoices!

If you were to write a psalm of thanksgiving and praise to your Lord for the great things he has done for you, in you, and through you, what would it say? What first comes to mind? How has that impacted your life?

The Lord Jesus led me to read Luke 1 (Select vv. ESV).

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.” vv. 46-49

When I think of the great things God has done for me, for which I would want to praise and thank him, immediately what comes to mind is how he rescued me out of darkness and brought me into his wonderful light; how he lifted me out of the pit of sin, and how he gave me new life in him, to his praise and glory.

Granted, I was only 7 years old when I trusted in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, but I was very cognizant of my sinful condition, and of my need of the Savior.

I can recall so vividly when this took place. I was at summer camp. It was a church camp I went to one week out of every year. Our tabernacle, where we had our services, was an open (to the outdoors) pavilion with hard bench seats. I was probably sitting in the 3rd or 4th row when the preacher gave the invitation to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of my life.

[The tabernacle (pavilion), at Beulah Beach Camp, overlooked Lake Erie, which was a very special place for me. I always felt very close to God there.]

I knew that, traditionally, we were supposed to go forward and have someone pray with us to receive Christ as Savior of our lives, but I just sat in my seat weeping over my sin, and calling on God to save me from my sins, and to give me new life in him. And, he did! And, when my parents came to pick me up from camp, I immediately told them of how I trusted in Jesus Christ to save me from my sins.

The Difference

So, what difference did that make in my life? I was not instantly perfect, I can tell you that, but I now wanted to obey the Lord with my life. My desire was for him, to do what he said. I had been modeled hypocritical legalistic Christianity, and I wanted no part in that. I wanted something that was real, genuine, and alive in my life, and not words only. I wanted Jesus and his Word to be a reality in my life, in other words, and not in form only.

So, I began my journey with Christ, seeking his face, getting into his Word, learning what he taught me, and following him in surrender to his will for my life. I stumbled along the way, at times, but then he picked me back up, and he gave me the strength and endurance to keep pressing on in his strength and power to live for him.

The Christian life is a walk of faith in Christ where daily, by the Spirit, we put to death the deeds of our flesh, and we walk in the Spirit, and we are led by the Spirit of God. It is not a perfect life, for we still live in flesh bodies, but we are now sensitized to the Holy Spirit’s voice, and we walk in his love and grace, and when we do sin, we confess our sin, and we keep moving forward, progressing in our faith and obedience, in the Spirit’s power, as our Lord conforms us to the likeness of Christ.

“And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.” V. 50

I wish I could say that I lived a perfect life from that moment forward, but I didn’t. I grew in my faith, I progressed in my walk with Christ, I was putting sin to death in my life, and I was walking in the Spirit. And, then one hardship after another after another took its toll on my life. Those whom God had put there in my life to help strengthen me, to encourage me, and to help me in my walk of faith, only led (pushed) me into sin, stomped on my heart when I was walking by the Spirit, and cared not how their treatment of me might impact me or my walk of faith in Christ.

So, I finally caved to the pressures, and I ran from God instead of to him. And, then I would repent of my sin, call on him, and he would lift me up. And, then there would be more people in my life who would try to pressure me into sinning against God, i.e. those who should have been helping me not to sin. And there were those who pounced on me once more for my obedience to Christ, and so I caved again, then had to repent again, and then get back on the right road, and walk in fellowship with my Lord again.

This happened on and off over a period of several years until God helped me to see what was going on inside my heart. He helped me to see that I had this idea that Satan still had power over me and that there was still a question as to who was going to win this battle. He helped me to see that he had already won that battle for me, so instead of fighting off Satan’s attacks against me like an abused child, with arms crossed in front of my face, hoping to not get hit, I had to put on my spiritual armor God had given me with which to fight off Satan’s schemes against me, so that is what I did.

The other thing he taught me was that I needed to trust in his sovereignty over my life. I had to learn to accept bad times and good times, at least as God permitted, if not as from God himself, and to not try to escape the pain of them, but to turn to my Lord, believe that he has my best interest in mind, and allow him to work his will in my heart through these difficult times. He helped me to close that door on my former life and to begin anew with him, walking in his Spirit, and not walking according to the flesh.

So, I praise him and I thank him for his mercy to me, that he didn’t give up on me, but that he helped me, when I called on him in truth, and when I honored him as the holy God that he is, and I sought his counsel and help.

“He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.” Vv. 51-53

Before we are ever saved from our sins, God draws us to Christ. In fact, even before he created the world he chose us in him to be holy and blameless in God’s sight. Then, he persuades us, by his Spirit, to turn from our sins, and to turn to walk in fellowship with him, and to walk in his ways. He brings us to that place of humility before him, where we weep over our sins, and where we recognize our need of him. And, then he transforms our hearts, gives us new life in him, and he fills our lives with desire for him.

This doesn’t mean we will never sin again, or even that we might not have a time of moral failure in our lives (example of David and Bathsheba). But, if we have been changed in heart and mind, by the Spirit of God, we should have a sensitivity to his Spirit, to desire him above all else, to want to walk in his ways, and we should not be walking (in lifestyle) according to our flesh, but according to the Spirit. When we do sin, when we stumble and fall, the pain of it all should overwhelm our hearts, we should humble ourselves before God, repent of our sins, and surrender to our Lord in obedience.

Where a lot of people go wrong these days is that they see salvation as a mere escape from hell and the promise of heaven when they die, no matter how they live their lives from this moment forward. There is no fear of God in their lives, for they walk in the flesh with no conscience as to the fact that what they are doing is wrong. They make excuses for their sins, justify their actions, then lie about what they did so that others will think well of them. They may feel badly when they get caught, but that is a worldly sorrow, not a godly sorrow which leads to repentance.

So, although being a Christian does not mean we are instantly perfect and that we will never sin again, being a Christian means we no longer walk (in lifestyle) without conscience, and in sin, and without true repentance. If our lives are defined by addiction to sin, continuously repeating the same behaviors over and over again, without true repentance, and without true regret, but stubbornly going our own way, doing what we want, no matter how it hurts others, then scripture says we are not truly saved, and we don’t have the hope of heaven when we leave this earth. Please, take this to heart. Your eternity depends on you knowing and walking in the truth.

I Will Lift My Eyes
An Original Work / December 12, 2012

Based off Psalms 121-125

I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
He will not let your foot slip, and He who watches will not sleep.
Our Lord watches over you, and your life He will keep.
I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
I give thanks to Him.

I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n.
Because of His great love for us, He made us alive with Christ.
Through the kindness of our Savior, He gave us new life.
I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n;
My home, now in heav’n.

Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
Those who trust will ne’er be shaken. God will supply all we need.
Our Lord has done great things for us. He’s our friend, indeed!
Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
I can count on Him.

Saturday, December 16, 2017, 6:56 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for what you have done in my life, in delivering me out of the pit of sin, and in giving me new life in you, of the Spirit, and for helping me to walk in love and purity.

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