Can I forgive myself?

Imagine you go to college and get your first credit card. Loving the fact that you don’t seem to need real money, you run up $50,000 in debt. As you become aware that when you use a credit card you are, in fact, spending real money, you realize you are trapped by your foolish decisions. You cannot even make that much your first year out of college. Then, God writes you a check for $1,000,000. You take the check, crying in gratitude, fold it up, and place it in your pocket where it sits for years. Have you received His gift? Well, technically yes. But have you really received His gift or are you still trying to pay off the debt yourself? In the same way, if we do not apply God’s forgiveness to our overwhelming debt of sin, we have not really received His forgiveness. We are stuck trying to forgive ourselves. Without God’s forgiveness, the good news doesn’t feel that good to us.” (The Art of Breathing, p. 51)

God has more than ‘sin management’ in mind for you.

“We must decide if we will depend on our righteousness, or if we will trust the work of Christ. Will we trust in our own ability to be righteous or will we count on the mercy of Jesus? Will we strive to forgive ourselves or will we cash the check?” (p. 54)

Introduction

For those who want to know more about what is inside the book, here is the introduction:

While following Jesus and abiding in Him go together, they are not the same thing. Following focuses on action, like obedience and service. Abiding emphasizes resting, remaining, living within. As we grow in Christ, we begin by following Him, just like His disciples. When Jesus called the Twelve, He bid them to follow Him. But as His ministry on earth began to draw to an end, He asked them to abide in Him like a branch abides in a vine. He asks us to do the same. We follow Him, but then we must grow to a place of abiding. The way we train children in the lessons of right and wrong, following Christ teaches us the basics of how we function in our Christian walk. We ask, “What would Jesus do?” and we focus on obedience to His word. But at some point we must move from milk to meat. We must allow obedience to flow from something rather than depend on it to get us to something.

I have never met anyone who feels they have too much joy or peace.

Does fruit come from striving or abiding? Does a branch strive to produce fruit or does it come from a healthy connection to the vine? Can we really have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control by trying harder? If so, wouldn’t we have already tried by now? (more…)