When I was about nineteen, I began searching for God. Naturally I started by going to a church. I thought surely I would find God there. It makes perfect sense. I sat in the perfectly polished pew, looking at the hymnal and the book of prayer in front of me. I studied the story the stained glass windows so beautifully exhibited. I smelled the scent of something smokey yet strangely fragrant. I didn't know what it was. Then I listened to the choir singing their beautiful songs. I sang along silently because I didn't know them.( I have a chicken voice when I do know a tune, heaven knows what I soud like when I don't!)
The priest gave a nice message, I guess... I didn't really understand what he was talking about. Afterwards a bunch of us met in the church hall to do a bible class. The priest handed out blank white papers and pencils. He said he wanted us to draw an "x" representing ourselves and and "X" representing where God was in relation to us. All I remember is that my "Xs" were on opposite corners of the paper. It stayed that way for a long time.
Many years later, I found an old bible under my bed. I flipped through it just to get encouraging scriptures to write on some ceramic angels that I was painting and giving away as gifts. But reading though God's word, I began to realize that my life was in His hands!
God found me, drowning in a sea of sin! So utterly lost was I , but it was there that the gift of faith began. I didn't feel worthy enough to be redeemed. But Someone met me where I was at! That Someone was Jesus Christ! God's word says in Ephesians 4:9 "What does 'He ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions." There has been some debate as of late, as to what exactly this scripture means. To me,it is the epitome of Jesus meeting us where we are at in our sinful lives."When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins," Col 2:13
Jesus goes in the trenches of the spiritual war that takes place in each human heart. He isn't afraid of getting dirty. He touched the leper. He healed the woman with blood issues. He dealt with the destitute, "dirty" and down trodden all His life!
Then there was this woman.... "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:3-11
Truly, an encounter with Jesus changes our lives. We are no longer in the habit of sinning, not to say we don't stumble as we walk. But sin takes on a different meaning for us as believers. It's no longer I sinned, "So What!" but rather, I sinned, Lord, please forgive me! We hunger for righteousness and the only righteousness that we can lay claim to, is that of Jesus'
He is our righteousness! "I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." Isaiah 61:10
What kind of love is this, that reaches into the filthy depths of sin and rescues us? Amazing, incomprehendable, all redeeming love! It is with this love that the Lord God loves His children. You and I were loved when Jesus sacrificed His life for us. He loves those that are in the world, but as the bride of Christ we are beloved!