In the last three months, I have read these phrases..."I can't forgive myself" OR "The person you need to forgive is yourself" OR "Forgive yourself for your mistakes and faults." Most of the time these phrases are then connected to taking care of yourself or showing yourself compassion....I will not be speaking to those phrases today, but I will be at some point. Lately these phrases have really caused me to question and at times causes a bubbling deep within. I'm discovering that the questioning and deep bubbling (which is really emotion) are flags for me to recognize. I'm learning to speak to my Abba about these flags and ask for a revelation of who He is during these particular times. What I want to do here is go into a little depth of why I believe that it is impossible for me to forgive myself and why I believe it is actually very prideful to think I can.
'to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' Acts 26:18 This is one of the scriptures that comes to mind. In this chapter of Acts, Paul is sharing about his conversion and in verse 18 Paul states Jesus' words that He is sending Paul to the Gentiles to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness and that they may RECEIVE forgiveness of sins by faith in me. Forgiveness within the context of Acts 26:18 means a sending away, release, letting go, pardon. This means that forgiveness must be received and the last part of verse 18 states 'by faith in me.' That's Jesus talking to Paul that eyes opened, turning from darkness to light, receiving forgiveness occurs through faith in Jesus Christ. This reminds me of Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Our salvation is through faith and is a GIFT of God, NOT a result of anything we can do. Forgiveness itself is a transaction of sorts according to the meaning in Acts 26:18...a pardon of sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 states, For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. So our gift from God was Jesus being made to be sin, so that in him we can become the righteousness of God. Now that's a pardon....Jesus, becoming sin, taking on the wrath, becoming our propitiation, enduring what we deserve so that we may receive what we really don't deserve, forgiveness.
I've come to this simple realization...I am nothing without Jesus (John 15: 5), a word that I've learned is depraved or corrupted. I am destitute, meaning I am without and cannot even be capable of having anything without Jesus. I am completely needy and created to depend. What the world claims is independence, 'I can do it', 'I'm capable to work this out,' or even 'I must forgive myself.' This mindset is prideful or another way of saying it would be 'stinkin' thinkin.' Simply put, it's sin, as stated in Acts 26:18, it's the darkness. I know it seems very backward to think that dependence is being a part of the light, but that's a Kingdom mindset.
Forgiveness is not something we possess, it's something we've been gifted through Jesus Christ. Receiving is a very difficult action to take, especially when culture tells us that we must earn to receive. That's actually the beauty of forgiveness....there's no way to earn it. For centuries, the Israelites worked at sacrificing the 'right' animal, following the guidelines set before them, but God....God knew that nothing would come close to severing the gap between Himself and His people EXCEPT a pure sacrifice. Jesus Christ was the only one who could. What Jesus did, we could never do. One must be in a position of complete humility to receive and when it comes to receiving forgiveness, one must remain in that humble state. Matthew 5:3 comes to mind, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Poor in spirit basically means, one who knows they are depraved. When we look to self help books or self help 'tactics' like thinking positively, or creating mantras or even seeking counsel from individuals who 'coach' us how to better ourselves we are trying to work for something that cannot be worked for. Forgiveness is a gift. We can't earn it, we can't be better people to receive, we can't do ANYTHING to get it, we simply must receive.
What does that look like, you may be asking. Well, it looks like this....Jesus, I don't know you that well, I really don't understand what it means to receive, I want to know, I'm tired of trying to be better, I'm tired of working so hard to earn what you did for me. Please help me, I recognize that you died on a cross to pardon my sins and I want to receive what you are giving.
Now, find someone who knows more about this forgiveness stuff than you. Find someone who is willing to walk with you as you grow in knowing Jesus and as you grow in becoming more dependent on and in Him. Find someone or some people who can help you. I look forward to hearing from you if you have questions, need prayer, or even disagree with what I've shared here. I pray that as believers in Jesus Christ, followers of The Way, disciples of our Lord and Master, we stop striving and trying to work for something that is a gift. I also pray that we live this way....that we live as a humble people who are always in a position of knowing we are no better than anyone else in this world, we didn't deserve what we were given....we simply get to continue to receive.
Blessings in the truth & grace of Jesus Christ.
What Will This Blog Be About?
It's been awhile since I last posted. I thought I had an idea of when I was to be posting until God revealed HIS plan...ha, ha, ha! So, season 1 is complete for the She Walk in Purpose podcast and I continue to walk.....therefore the writing begins. To be honest, I'm a bit uneasy about writing frequently because I don't view my writing as something that comes easy to me....not like talking. AGAIN, His plan not mine. I find it fascinating how God is so faithful and at the same time moves us to step into things that we never thought we would do. Needless to say, you will be 'hearing' from me in this way for the next couple of months.
I really have no idea if I'll be posting weekly or every other week. Sooooo, in all actuality, this blog will like the podcast except you'll be reading instead of listening. The next couple of months will be focused on a theme of several specific topics that cause my 'dander' to rise a bit when I hear them or read about them. I've come to recognize how these topics were actually sources of deceptions for me and now I am recognizing how they have deceived others. I plan to discuss how I hear them talked about or what I read about them in various forms of writing (books, blogs, social media posts, etc) and then share what I have learned through studying God's Word.
What I noticed as I started my 'planning' process was that these topics have a running theme....identity. Each of the topics have 'boiled' down to the fact that we have a very twisted view of what identity is and because we do, we have coined phrases that have then turned into philosophy that has completely drawn our eyes away from the source of our identity to ourselves. This is very dangerous place to live, view the world and specifically view our Abba. I am quite excited to delve into these topics and at the same time am very much aware that it may cause conflict for those who may read this posts. With that said, I want to share that I welcome and look forward to conversations that may ensue. I encourage anyone reading these posts to comment or send me an email (email@example.com). I love hearing and learning from others.
So, that's about it! I plan to release the first topic on this series focused on identity this week. Keep your eye out for it. In the meantime, Blessings in the Truth & Grace of Jesus Christ!
Who Do I Think I Am?
Hello there, I'm Jodi Sell-Grove and in the last two weeks it has continued to come up for me to start capturing thoughts, whisperings, ponderings that have been on my mind. The capturing, at first, I thought was to be in my journal.....ummmm, no. As I waited on the Lord to know exactly where I was to be 'writing,' it has become increasingly more clear that I am to be capturing here. Annnnnd, here we are.
I'm not one for a whole lot of chit chat, although I am learning that chit chat is important and at times necessary. I'm really one for literally digging in and getting to the meat or the underlying piece. So, for my first post, I'm literally going to go there right away.
God has moved me into a very interesting season and as of late where I'm discovering there is much more I am to learn about Matthew 5:3...blessed are those who are poor in spirit, for there's is the kingdom of heaven. Poor in sprit = humility....yep there is MUCH more for me to learn from my Rabbi as to what it means for me to walk beside Him in complete humility.
God tells us in His Word that friendship with the world is enmity with God or hate of God (James 4:4, Romans 8:7-8). Without going much further into what sin is, I'll summarize that anything that I place before God is sin. Anything that is not God, is sin. Through the centuries and specifically in the American culture, 'Christians' have taken the word sin and created their own levels of sin and categories of sin. In other words, certain ungodly "actions" are "more" of a sin than others. Yes, there is a reason I have placed quotes around the word actions and more. I will explain....first, an example, what I have done in my own life is say or even think the following..."I have never been addicted to a substance or physically harmed another individual, so I am good." Yet, within a few moments, I may speak or think ungodly words due to frustration or anger. God has really been revealing Himself to me in a way that I am beginning to recognize how prideful I have been to think that just because I have not 'done' those things, it doesn't make me better than one who has. The scripture that He has brought to me as of late is Romans 3:23 where it states, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Guess what, that means.every.single.human on this earth EVEN those of us who call ourselves Christians, believers, etc. This scripture alone tells me that I am NO better than ANYONE on this earth.
Now, let's visit this concept that sin is an action...in Mark 7:20-23, Jesus says the following And he said, "What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of a man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person." Do you see? Do you understand what Jesus is saying here? Here...let me help, Jesus is saying these actions are a result of what is INSIDE a person. He is stating that what defiles a person is within a person's heart. God also tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that the heart is deceitful above all things. 1 John 1:8-10 states that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
I don't know about you, but I'm seeing quite clearly that if at any time I think that I am better than or that my sin is better than anyone else's or that I don't sin I am making God a liar. Whoa....what? I've made God a liar? Oh Abba, I repent and ask for you to do a work within me that I may receive the forgiveness you have given through Jesus' work on the cross.
One last thing before I close. I'm beginning to recognize that I am more apt to not be swayed or shaken by what I see in the world, but when it comes to individuals who call themselves a Christian or a believer I have been shaken so many times by what I see. What my Abba is has been revealing to me is that when I see actions or hear statements from individuals who call themselves Christians I am, first, seeing/hearing these things because God is directing me to see something within myself. Secondly, I am to discern what I am seeing through God's Word AND then I am to intercede or pray. So the application is this formula: God's Word + reflect/examination + prayer = The Response of Love (or Jesus' character) will be both inward and outward
We need to recognize that it is our tendency to pay more attention to our actions and others' actions when God cares more about the heart than anything else. In Proverbs 23:26 God tells us that He wants us to give Him our heart and let our eyes delight in His ways and Matthew 5:8 states that blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. So, what I am learning and being convicted to live out is that as an individual who states that she is a follower of Jesus Christ, I am to follow Jesus and the expectation is that I am to live knowing I am poor, needy, and truly ugly. All the while, growing in understanding of WHO my Abba is and because of His Son, Jesus Christ, I get to stand in Jesus' righteousness. I also must recognize that I am no better than anyone else on this earth, whether they are from a past generation or a younger generation. I hope this has provided you with some things to ponder. I know I have been and I can't wait to share more with you.
Blessings in the Truth & Grace of Jesus Christ.
Jodi Sell-Grove is a follower of Jesus Christ, wife, mother of two young adults, an empty-nester, a student, podcaster, founder of of a non-profit, and a woman who loves sharing Jesus through her relationships.