At the foot of the Cross

12 Oct

The past few days have been hard. I’ve been frustrated with/depressed about my job again and let it throw a gloomy cloud over everything. It becomes all I can think about and I just dwell in that place, wondering why I struggle so much with things other people seem to be fine with and how God and the gospel just don’t seem to be revelant in my situation.

Praise the Lord that He never lets me stay in that place! I re-read We Would See Jesus last night and this morning – took me about 6 hours. What an amazing book – definitely one of the best books ever written! It was exactly what I needed to hear and be reminded of. When I had felt stressed out about my job, and in turn life in general, I knew I wasn’t trusting God. I knew that my distrust was sin. But instead of just confessing it at the Cross and resting there in Jesus’ perfect atonement, I skipped ahead to trying to trust God and His plan for my life. The Hessions say it perfectly:

“A mere attempt to trust Him more completely and to rest in Him, without an acknowledgment of the sin there is, never brings victory, His victory. He is only the Vine to me as I repent of trying to be the vine myself. It is only as I repent of my unlove that I have His love; only as I confess my worry and lack of peace that I have His peace; only as I confess my impatience that I have His long-suffering; only as I confess my resentment that I have His meekness, and so on.”

Earlier, they wrote, “So it is that victory ever comes by repentance — coupled with a simple trusting Him to be to us what He promises.”

Repentance. That’s what I have been missing. I have known that I was a sinner, void of anything good in myself, and incapable of living the Christian life on my own. But I never came to the foot of the Cross and said that. Instead, that acknowledgment turned me to striving. When I felt anxious, I knew that I was sinning by not trusting in God but instead of confessing my sin, I just tried to trust God. I even prayed about it, a lot! But I constantly felt defeated. And no wonder why – I was trying to be the vine, to produce trust in God by myself.

“This, then, is the reason for our failure, too. It is simply that we have been trying to be the vine; we have been trying to find a holiness and a love for others in ourselves and from ourselves which Scripture never encourages us to expect to find there… God no longer expects us to be the vine. We need not even try. The responsibility for producing fruit is no longer ours. God has His own true Vine, the risen Lord Jesus, who is well able to produce all the fruit that God requires for others, and to fulfill all the purposes of His grace for men… We do not produce the fruit, but simply bear what He produces, as we permit Him to live in us.”

It is amazing to know that in response to my sin, all I have to do is bring it to the foot of the Cross, where Christ has paid for it once for all, and to rest there – in full acknowledgment of my failure, need, and insufficiency. And I don’t have to leave the foot of the Cross. I don’t have to go out and try better. I don’t have to draw strength from Christ to set out on my own until I fail again. I can stay there. I can rest there, knowing the reality of my condition but trusting the completion of Christ’s work on the cross. What’s more, that’s exactly where Christ works in me to produce all the things I lack.

I had been feeling hopeless and depressed. I had believed the lie that life would never get better, I would always feel this way, and I was beyond help, even God’s. But coming to the foot of the Cross, I find hope again and all the lies I had believed are destroyed – and while I still am the wretched, pathetic soul I ever was, I don’t have to grieve that fact eternally.

Because I have a Savior.

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