June 4th, 2021

worship, praise, amidah


One of the things I've been wrestling with this year is harshness toward myself. I struggle to accept God's love for me. I feel like I will only ever grieve Him. I believe that I'm incapable of bringing Him delight. I don't seek the crown of life - I feel guilty for wanting to share in glory. I'm drawn to the descriptions of our Lord's Passion, but struggle to celebrate the joy and victory of His Resurrection and Ascension. I sink easily enough into the despair of death and the panic of fear, but struggle to stand in the hope of life.

Yet, our Lord Jesus triumphed - after His suffering, He entered heaven and is seated at the Father's right hand. He sits enthroned in glory forever. He lives forever and intercedes for us. He was willing to stoop to such sorrow and agony in order to bring us up to be with Him. So why do I want to remain in darkness and pain? Why do I cower in fear, beating myself in my own imagination with wounds and pains that are not necessary? He suffered for me, to bear away my shame and take away the stain of my sin. He shed His blood to pay the redemption fee for me, to free me from my enemies. So why do I still lay myself down in fear before the lies of my enemies? "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work." 1 John 3:8

I've been trying to turn from my fear, from my self-inflicted punishments, to turn to God. O Lord, show us Your Face and we shall be saved (Psalm 80). Let us look into the Face of this One who loves us, our Mighty Savior (Luke 1:68-75). Jesus is our Faithful and Loving High Priest. He seeks to heal us and restore God's image in us (2 Corinthians 3:18, 1 John 3:2).

Let me not rejoice in my own glory. This work of healing and sanctification is God's work. Let me eagerly pursue God's work that Christ may be glorified in me! Let me no longer seek to destroy myself - that is a work of our enemy (John 10:10). May Christ have victory over those forces that would destroy me. Let me instead turn my hope to the Son of God and seek Him in faith. Seek this One who became Flesh in order to bring me to God (1 Peter 3:18, Hebrews 7:25, James 4:8).

Do I believe that He rejoices over His people? That He rejoices over even me? And not begrudgingly, but enthusiastically - singing over us with love, even with joyful singing? (Zephaniah 3:14-18)

Do I believe that the Lord takes delight in me? Does He find pleasure in me, this little one He has created? "let the children of Zion rejoice in their King... for the Lord takes pleasure in his people" Psalm 149:2-4

How is it that He can delight in us? Is it because we are in Christ? Because our life is hidden with Christ in God? (Colossians 3:3) Because we are safely hidden, accepted in the Beloved Son? (Ephesians 1:6) Jesus tells us that God the Father has loved us with the same love that He has for His Beloved Son (John 17:23) After all, are not the Bridegroom and the Bride one? (Ephesians 5:31-32) How awesome is God's love, that He brings us into His family (1 John 3:1), into His eternal love...

Will I believe it? Will I believe that He chose to do it? That He chose to create me and redeem me in His love?

"So we have known and believe the love that God has for us." 1 John 4:16