As a follower of Jesus, I am a saint.
That statement sounds bold, and maybe a little bit overblown, but the Bible says sixty (60) times in the New Testament that those who are disciples of Jesus Christ are pure, holy, blameless and holy ones (saints). This doesn’t mean that as Christians we don’t blow it and sin, but God is faithful to grant us forgiveness when we ask for it.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
I take sin seriously. It equates to acts of unfaithfulness against Jesus, to whom I have pledged my love. As one who is growing in my faith, I am grieved when I sin and convicted by the Spirit of God – but as soon as I confess that sin and release it to God – then I am released. We are not supposed to live our lives looking in the rear-view mirror of what has happened before. We are called to be looking forward to see where God is working so we can join Him in his work. My life is not defined by my past; it is defined by who God says I am.
I’ve known a lot of Christians who just wallow in their sinfulness as if they were never washed clean by God. They wear their failings and lack of purity as a badge of honor. This mindset is not biblical and not heaven’s view. Many may think, “if I beat myself up for my sin (what I call practical penance) then I will feel better about myself. The truth is that Jesus already paid for our sin at the cross and he said, “it is finished.”
This year has plunged many people into a really confused state of mind.
The isolation of quarantine, the lack of community and input from others may have led you to question your identity. If that sounds familiar, you aren’t alone. Even those who are self-proclaimed introverts have really struggled with the lack of heart connection with others. This can lead to isolation and depression which can cause us to slide back into old, familiar patterns of soothing our pain.
Some of us put on the “Covid-19”… meaning we have been trying to improve our mindset by eating. Others have turned to video games and movies or even pornography to escape this reality and find an alternative reality. Some of you may be struggling with chemical addiction, using alcohol, or drugs to help you forget the pain of this world.
The temptation to live for yourself instead of loving others has been a strong pull in all of our lives. While you might feel defeated at this point, you need to know that as a Jesus follower, you are called a saint. You have forgiveness available one prayer away. There is new strength, new joy, perspective and exciting authority that you can walk in – if you turn to Jesus. He will forgive you and begin to pour into you his giftings, passion, calling and new vision.
As saints, let’s start praying really big prayers!
Let’s begin to ask God to do more than we could ever ask or think! Let’s take some risks and leave the fear of disappointment of “unanswered prayers” behind.
Ephesians 2:6 says, "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus."
Hebrews 4:16 says, "Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
This means that we are given a place in the throne room with God, where we can boldly bring our requests to him.
If you are praying with heaven’s perspective, you don’t pray as a beggar, begging for God to do what He has already said He will do. You pray with authority, not ordering God around, but full of faith that as you seek Him first, you pray and ask for things that are in alignment with his heart. Praying from a seat in heaven also means that you know that all the resources necessary for any need are literally ready to be delivered as an answer to prayer.
Are you embracing your sainthood?
While I don’t refer to myself as St. Andrew, that’s part of my God given identity. I want to challenge you today to think about your sainthood and picture yourself seated with Christ in the heavenlies – then pray from that perspective.
Sunday morning service options:
- 9am: In-person OUTDOOR service on the Island. Please bring your own lawn chair.