I’ve taken part in a couple of exercises this month that have painted a really vivid picture of my life. I wrote about the spiritual life map I put together when I was in Virginia for my campus Intensive course at Liberty. That was a tough exercise, but it helped me to gain a real clear picture of the journey that God has had me on from the very beginning. It helped me to visualize many different parts of my life, the good and bad, and from it, I came to a distinct realization that through it all, God never abandoned me.
This past Sunday, my pastor issued a very unique challenge to us. We are in a series talking about not only his journey, but that of others in the church who have come up to share their own personal testimony. First, we are often challenged to memorize verses. This week was Romans 8:1, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” A short and simple verse, but the meaning behind that is so powerful. I was breaking it down this morning in my own study and what that verse really means. Condemnation is derived from the Greek word katakrima which means penalty. We were under a penalty of death before Christ because of our fall. In Romans 5:16, Paul says that judgement came from one transgression, from Adam, which resulted in our condemnation, but God gave us the free gift of Jesus Christ, who arose from many transgressions, which justifies us in Him. Jesus took all of our sin and filth on Himself. Conquered it and the grave, and rose to life to the Father’s right hand, interceding for us.
So we all have a story and journey that brings us through good and bad times. Through sin and out of sin. The challenge issued that was unique, was to read Psalm 139. Then not only read it, but personalize it. Re-write it a way that was personal to ourselves. It was a very unique challenge. Something I had not done before, taking a piece a Scripture and personalizing it to my life. Here are the first 4 verses of this Psalm:
So this was a challenge and I was up to, or so I thought. I didn’t know how I would tackle it. I sat down Tuesday and read the Psalm a few times and in a couple different translations. It was a daunting task it seemed at this point. How do I personalize this Psalm to me? I opened my journal and before I knew, pen began to go to work. At first it was very generic, yes the Lord knows me, even before I was conceived, He knew me. But then it began to get personal. It went into the depths of my life. No matter what the next statement was, it always included you were there or you knew or your hands were there.
I’ve had some powerful experiences with God, especially in 2015. This experience pierced me right in the heart. It seems so cliche to say and I think often times we take this for granted, if we even think about it. The simple Truth of it all that I’ve discovered my walk with Him and in this exercise is that God is in every single aspect of our lives, whether we know it or not or whether we want to accept Him or not. He knew and knows every single decision we are going to make, whether it turns away from Him or not. He knows every single aspect of our being; our spirit, soul, and body, our heart, mind, and will. He created it, so of course He knows us.
There are so many great mysteries that God has yet to unveil, but His presence in our lives is one that is laid out before us and we are told vividly about. God loves us and is with us through all of our high and low points in life. When are turn away and when we call out to Him. Yes, He knows our sin and the darkness of our lives, but through His son Jesus Christ, we are no longer condemned to the punishment we deserve. That being said, God is always there looking to pull us out of the depths of our sin. He’s never abandoned us even when we can’t feel it and our so overwhelmed by guilt, shame, wounds, and just life in general. He is always there and is out to restore each of us to Him. No matter where you turn, He is there to pursue you.
I will re-issue the same challenge. Read Psalm 139 and the sit down and personalize it to you. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.