Reflecting on the meaning of Easter and the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the cross, one of the things really weighing on my heart was the last thing my Savior said as He laid down His life for me: “It is Finished”. One of the many beautiful things about the Bible is the way that the Lord enlightens our mind and can show us so many wonderful truths contained in a simple verse. I would love to share the ways He has allowed my life to be enriched by this verse.
The first thing one has to understand when contemplating the cross and the incredible sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf is that it is truly a gift in which, if we are to live a victorious life, we need to claim as personal. Trust me, with a past like mine I find it pretty amazing that while on the cross, Jesus knew the ways I would let Him down. He knew the mistakes I was going to make and yet, still, He chose to give Himself up on my behalf that, if I were to claim His promises and make Him Lord of my life, I could have eternal life. That right there is pretty humbling in and of itself.
One of the chief tools that I find the enemy tries to use way too often on me is the lie that I have fallen too far from the grip of God’s grace. It feels as if God’s hand reaches far and I can touch the tips of His fingers but my hand is never fully in His. This phrase ‘It Is Finished’ translates in Greek to tetelestai which means “paid in full”. I remind myself there is no accompanying asterisk and post script saying “balance owing for Carmen”. Though it is human nature, to even think such a thing takes away from the wonder and the majesty of the cross. God, by His very nature is unchanging; a God whose hand can go as far as He chooses for it to go and I stand amazed and humbled that He reached for me and grasped tightly hand in hand.
After having been saved for a few years and making some pretty major changes in my life in order to follow Jesus more closely, I would reflect often on my past and wonder where I would be without Him. This led me to feeling sorry for the girl I had been; almost feeling like I had left her behind in a way in the darkness I had been so trapped in. In an amazing revelation I received at a Young Adults sermon only a few short weeks ago, the Lord told me in no uncertain terms to stop feeling sorry for her for she had not been left behind in the darkness but was me, was this new creation made in His image and had been restored to the light. The shackles I felt falling from my soul which had weighed me down for so long gave me such relief I couldn’t help but laugh inside an immense joy. On the cross, my Savior took my sins upon Him and when I was saved, I was able to claim His victory for me. “It is Finished” should be my battle cry. When the enemy tries to bring up my past to condemn me, I, through the power of Christ in me, have been given the right to look right at those lies and say “It IS finished”. As Jesus came forth from the grave after 3 days to be restored to life, I was given the chance to have my past erased and step forward into victory.
Another lie that the enemy likes to throw at me is that my past may be forgiven but what about the mistakes I make in my present. Shouldn’t I have somehow become perfect the moment I was saved? Obviously the answer to such a ridiculous statement is a resounding no but that isn’t always how it feels. Recently, I had a few days of being angry with God and I could feel myself falling down the rabbit hole of running from Him because in my skewed frame of mind I felt like it was easier to keep running than to turn back, apologize, and get back on track. I was being influenced to believe that, in choosing to come back, I had to somehow make enough of an amends to God to be allowed back into His presence and His favor. How silly I was to believe, first of all, that I was ever going to be able to make such a sacrifice and, second, that the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the cross wasn’t enough. Truthfully, because my sins have been paid in full, all I need to do is say “Lord, I’m sorry. Let’s fix this now” and I’m good. Yes, it’s that simple and that is what is so wonderful about grace.
One of the greatest things I’m able to see when I look at the cross is the immense amount of love my Savior displayed. I am a huge critic of my own life. If I have problems loving myself and God knows me inside out, how can He still choose to love me? The wonderful truth He spoke to me on this very question is this; mine is not the job to wonder why or question how but rather I have been given an opportunity to simply accept and live in that love; to live in that wonderful place of gratitude and acceptance. I am a child of the one true King and He loves me. What a truth to cling to in a world that is so fleeting. A truth made whole when He paid the price for me, in full.
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