Thursday, October 08, 2009

Gutsy Guilt

It is right and good for me to mourn my sin, to feel guilty when I have stumbled. But that guilt so easily moves to hopeless despair: I'll never get this right. I'm so tired of struggling with this. I'll never be free from this.

In the face of failure and the temptation to discouragement, I ask the Lord to teach me Micah's "gutsy guilt"*:

"But as for me, I will look to the LORD;
I will wait for the God of my salvation;
my God will hear me.
Rejoice not over me, O my enemy!
when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,
the LORD will be a light to me.
I will bear the indignation of the LORD
because I have sinned against him,
until he pleads my cause
and executes judgment for me.
He will bring me out to the light;
I shall look upon his vindication."

--Micah 7:7-9 (emphasis mine)

I have sinned against the Lord in specific, heinous ways. I need to confess these offenses, name my wrongs, acknowledge the grief I have brought upon my Savior. I have fallen far, far short of His glory; because of the ugliness of my heart, I am not worthy to stand before Him now or in eternity.

BUT. I will look to Him! I will press on. I will wait for Him to save me from the presence of sin, just as He has already saved me from the penalty of sin! I will pray in confidence that because of His Son, He hears me and answers me!

Don't celebrate over my failures, satan! I fall again and again, yes. But I will rise every time. When the darkness of sin and guilt oppresses me, my Creator and Savior and King will say, "Let there be light!"

Although I may have to bear the burden of knowing I have grieved my Father, I never, ever have to bear the full weight of His wrath. Jesus absorbed every drop that should have fallen on me and would have consumed me! I have sinned against Him. But Jesus, who stood in my place condemned, now stands before Him and pleads my case. He has executed judgment FOR me, not against me! He WILL bring me out into His glorious light--I will look upon His perfect righteousness; I will glory in the cross.

*I first learned the phrase "gutsy guilt" from John Piper in his book When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy. The chapter from that book about this passage in Micah has stuck with me for several years--and God graciously brought it to my mind this week, prompting me to worship.

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