Heavens and Depths

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”
Psalm 139:7-8

David had a deep understanding about what it meant to be loved by God.

Here was a man who accomplished great things for God. He stood up to and defeated the Philistine champion. He honored Saul even though he was trying to kill David. He killed tens of thousands of the enemies of God. He established the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. He drew up plans for the temple of God. He was even called a man after God’s heart.

David had a dark side as well. He committed adultery with the wife of one of his trusted generals. He tried to cover up his sin, devised a plan, and ordered Bathsheba’s husband Uriah killed. He lied to the prophet of God, tried to vindicate himself before God, and allowed pride to control his heart.

David had his ups and downs.
His times of passionately pursuing God, and times where he deliberately disobeyed.

And yet, he knew he was loved.

Before David accomplished anything, before he performed great exploits, before he sinned and fell and had to face the consequences of his choices, he had a revelation about God’s love.

No matter where he went, no matter what he did, God was still there.

Whether David found himself in the heavens, pursuing God with all he had, obeying His commands, growing his relationship, and doing everything a good God-follower is meant to do, or whether he turned his back, made his bed in the depths of sin, despair, and darkness, God was there.

God wasn’t going to leave David.
He wasn’t going to abandon him.
He wouldn’t love David any more or any less based on what he did.

And it changed David’s life.

God’s love transcends our actions.
Goes beyond our choices.
And pursues us whether we pursue Him or not.

We are loved and we are accepted by the God of the universe.
Whether we go up to the heavens, or make our bed in the depths.

He will pursue us, He will find us, and He will love and accept us no matter what we’ve done.

So, my brothers and sisters, as you journey towards the cross this Lenten season, may you find the overwhelming love of God pursuing you. May you realize you are loved and accepted no matter what you have done. And may you, as you embrace that love, find the strength to cast off every sin and passionately pursue Him in return.

Where in your life do you need to be reminded that you are loved and accepted?

A Crouching Enemy

“But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Genesis 4:7

Sin. We all do it.

We all have those areas in our lives where we fail to live up to God’s standard. Where we put our own desires and cravings before the needs of others. Where we allow the lusts of the flesh to take over and do things we wish we hadn’t.

It’s part of our inherent nature.

We stumble.
Struggle with those sinful temptations that assault our minds.

Sin is seen as nothing more than failing to do what is right.
A lack of good judgement and a promise to do better next time.

But God paints a different image of this beast.

After refusing Cain’s offering, God warns him about the dangers of not doing what is right – that it unleashes a force in our lives ready to destroy us.

Sin isn’t some bad behavior, mistake, poor judgment, or temptation we struggle with. It’s not just breaking a command, dealing with jealousy or anger or selfishness or vanity. Sin isn’t breaking away from some ancient code found in the Bible.

It’s an animal crouching.
Looking for the right opportunity to pounce and devour its prey.

Sin is a living force ready and waiting to attack the moment we choose anything less than God’s standard. It has motives, plans, desires to consume every aspect of our lives and rip us apart. It wants nothing more than to see us maimed and bloody, lying in the gutter of what was meant to be our lives.

Sin is not to be taken lightly.

It’s an enemy to be defeated.
A force to be subdued.
An animal to be mastered, brought into submission and dealt with.

Otherwise, it sits by, crouching, waiting for that opportune moment when our guard is down to pounce…and destroy the life God intended us to live.

So, my brothers and sisters, as we begin this season of Lent, may you be reminded of the severity of your sin. May you find yourself mastering that beast within. And may you, as you focus on the saving power of Jesus Christ, find that the crouching lion of sin has turned into a docile cat with no power over your life.

What area of sin in your life do you need to master?