as she repents

September, October, November, falling, falling, falling. But in her falling, she hopes. She hopes in His catching her. She hopes in His embrace. She hopes in His rescue. She hopes in His mercy. She hopes in His salvation. She hopes in her belovedness. There, her joy, her deep settled confidence of redemption, is complete and not lacking.

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[though she fall, she shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholds her with His hand. -Ps. 37:24]

She often calls to question her ‘crazy’, who she is, and why He created her the way He did- to respond to life’s circumstances like she does- so dang passionately based on her ‘feelers’. She asks why He’s written her story like so, or what about who she is so distinguishing from the worlds of others she observes around her. She is known to operate in extremes, responding to circumstances quite dramatically, the highest of highs, the lowest of lows. It doesn’t take much to send her one way or the other, it’s a daily, weekly, monthly, regular, way of life. She lacks steadiness, constancy. Her sister says it’s been her way since she was three-years-old. The wisest of friends recommend ongoing therapy. She’s that girl. The crazy one. And so she finds, with weekly counseling, she’s steadied. But why is this so necessary for stability? Why so dang needy? or as she perceives in comparison to those around her, high-maintenance? Her feelings, her sensitivity, a gift? or a curse? She often has viewed this way of life as a curse, but this way of life has only sent her deeper and more intimately into her Father’s love.

She’s resolved many ways to steady her soul in the heated midst of these elevations and depressions, many of those mentioned in previous posts. But as of lately, she takes great comfort and communion in the words of David. She observes his words, and they make sense. She can relate to them. They’re dramatic, a bit nutso, but unlike anything else she’s seen from humanity. His life, his words, his emotions make sense to her. And though the expressiveness of David may seem far off from the life she knows today, she sees his response to his own sin in conjunction with his understanding of a Father’s steadfast love and there is cultivated a revelatory trust, hope and intimacy with his Lord resulting in praise, glory and honor. What could be more precious? She wants to worship like David.

Here, she follows his prayer, as she repents….

Psalm 51

Have mercy, on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

Like the tax collector in Luke 18:13, [she would not even lift up her eyes to heaven, but beat her chest, crying out, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’]… ‘Have mercy, on me, O God, not according to who I am or even what I have done, but according to your steadfast love. Have mercy on me, according to your lavish, and faithful, and relentless, and promised, and ever chasing, always pursuing, full and abundant, covenanted loving kindness. Have mercy, on me, O God, according to your tender mercy’s sake, blot out my transgressions. Wipe out my debt, let them not demand judgment of me, nor stare me down in confusion or terror. Not that I’m worthy to beg, or plead, but out of desperation, reconcile my sins.’

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

The stain is deep, having lain long soaking in guilt. Her sin defiles her, renders her odious in the sight of a holy God. It unfits her for communion with God in grace or glory. She cries out, ‘Wash me, wash my soul thoroughly, wholly, completely from my defilement, and cleanse me from my tarnishing acts. Purify me. Make me acceptable to you, lend me, by grace, access to you.’

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

She recognizes her offenses, and is convinced of her wrong doing. Her sin is before her, she cannot get away from it. It deems her unworthy, unforgivable, her own grace and mercy is insufficient for herself. Shame and sorrow follow her, a passionate grief: ‘My sin is ever before me, to humble me, mortify me, and make me continually blush and tremble. It is ever against me, accusing and threatening me.’ Her pardon is in profession of the faith of His mercy and grace greater than anything she can muster for herself.

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

She recognizes her sin against God. Him, the party wronged, His truth, she wilfully denied, His character, she despised, His command, she rebelled, His promise, she mistrusted, His name, she shamed… ‘Against you only,’ she expresses with deep contrition, ‘you only,’… While indeed she had sinned against her community, her ministry, her family, the Church, and against her own soul and body, all helping to humble her, yet none of these were sinned against so as her heavenly Father was, hence, her most sorrowful articulation, ‘Against you only, I have sinned.’

What she has done, her sin, was committed under his sight, in his view. With her deliberate action against him alone, she proclaimed disbelief in who He is as all knowing, either that, or a hatred toward his righteousness. However, her confession of this alone, justifies God as blameless. His justice cannot be denied.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

In confession, she grieves her original corruption. Though created in the image of God, as a child of God, she, by nature, not from God’s hands, but from her mother’s womb is a daughter of eve, molded and shapen with a corrupted nature, a beautiful image, twisted with sin. Deteriorated from primitive purity, she has from birth the trap of sin in her body, the seeds of sin in her soul, and the stains of sin upon both. Her original sin, her proneness towards evil, and foolishness bound in her heart, is grievously bent to backslide from God.

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Though she was brought forth in iniquity, she acknowledges the grace of God. It is His good will towards her, ‘you delight in truth in the inward being,’ and His good work in her ‘you teach me wisdom in the secret heart’ that accomplishes what He requires of her. His grace abounds exceedingly. It is in her repenting, that the enlightenment of her eyes, ears and softening of her heart to gain her will, compel her towards obedience, that He might be glorified.

Even the truth she knew in her head and obedience she desired to walk in did not keep her from falling. She did not live to what she knew was true. She hopes that in His delight, and goodness towards her, His teaching to her secret heart will in fact keep her true to what she knows and believes, lest she be deceived. Sincerity to her resolutions is what the new woman desires. Sincerity to faithfulness, to avoid the deception of the tempter, yet, once again.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Again she pleads for purging and washing, recognizing that her efforts aren’t enough to make her right and pure again. She is unclean, and restrained by her pollutedness, there must be a cleansing balm holy enough that when applied will make her pure again. ‘Purge me with hyssop,’ that is, the blood of Christ, the only balm able to purge the conscience from dead works, the only worthy wash to reconcile her to commune with her Father. She shall be clean. [Though her sins have been as scarlet, they shall now be white as snow.] Isaiah 1:18

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

She prays in faith, in confidence of His ability to cleanse, that she might be clean, that the bitter root of sorrow may be removed, that she shall be clean. She prays for joy, for a deep settled confidence, that she has been redeemed. Her heart is like that of broken bones, yet the comfort of one who has been pardoned, spared, freed is the perfect ease from the most exquisite pain. She desires the Lord lift the light of her countenance and make His face shine brightly upon her, putting gladness in her heart, that she would be reconciled, and further grace than that, be given the ability to rejoice in communion.

Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Her comfort rests that though her acts were done in His sight, He might pardon her sins, and hide his face from them. This request, she’s unworthy to petition. For in his blotting out, One will receive judgement from what her sin deserves. One will pay her debt. One will have to be separated. Her desperate plea, is that she will not not be condemned. ‘Blot out all my iniquities.’ Again, she is grieved to recognize her hammer driving the nails into the One who would pay her debt. O, but the love of the Father! O, but the obedience of the Son! O, but the power in which they would overcome! She doesn’t understand. His love, crazy and stupid, she is confident is the only way.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

She is concerned about her inability to be clean on her own, and begs of His creation the only One able as creator, to create a clean heart inside of her. She longs for the corruptness of her nature to be transformed altogether. Her spirit, wavering, inconsistent, unsteadied, she prays, ‘O God, and renew a right spirit within me.’ She needs repairing from the decays of spiritual strength which has been weakened by deception. Renewing of constant, steadfast spirit within will persevere her for the time to come.

Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Though she is unworthy of His presence on her own, she prays that she might never be removed from His favor, to abide in her Father’s protection, that wherever she might go, He would be with her, divinely under His guidance and the custody of His power, that she may not be forbidden communion with His majesty. Her presence without his is disgust, it is a sight that cannot endured to look upon, so she begs. In her rebellion, she had quenched the Spirit, grieved Him, told Him to get lost, and what she knows now, is how undone she becomes without His counsel. She is needy for the Spirit to perfect the work of her repentance, for she is unfit to walk her own way.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

From a place of sorrow, she prays, first, for the restoration of joy- that the sowing of grief over her sin, may reap of joy in His salvation of her. Weakness leads her next cry, ‘uphold me with a willing spirit’. Prone to fall, into sin or despair, she cries, ‘Lord, uphold me with a willing spirit, sustain me, my spirit is not sufficient to keep me from sinking, and I need your strength to make me willing.’

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

She promises with His rescuing of her, that she will teach others the ways of the Lord, and that they would return to Him also. She had rebelled, and therefore could testify of the mercy she found in the Lord through Jesus Christ, and the way to God by repentance. She recognizes, she has nothing to boast of, her story without Jesus is shame, but with Him it stands for the glory of His name. Therefore, she must proclaim.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.

She prays against the guilt of sin, for the grace of God, that she would sing praises aloud of His righteousness.

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

Her lips had been closed by guilt, almost to stop the mouth of prayer, her shame was so great, knowing she had offended greatly, could not look upon the throne. Her heart condemned, with little confidence towards God. Her spirit dampened by the lost joys of her salvation is being renewed, and therefore she prays, ‘O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.’

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with burnt offering.

Though the Lord required sacrifices offered for atonement, he had no delight in them for their worth or value- His delight in the sacrifice lay outside the duty of it.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Her heart broken with itself, and breaking from its sin, is a heart pleasing to God. It is a heart that is malleable to the word of God, patient under the hand of God, a heart humbled into obedience, it is a heart that is tender and trembles at God’s word. Oh that, there be such a heart in her. How gracious He is please to accept this. It is the breaking of her heart for sin that is a sacrifice of acknowledgement. It is in her surrender of a sacrifice insufficient for His requirement that He prepares the perfect lamb, who was slain and made sufficient to pay for what she could not. This was the sacrifice acceptable, only in Jesus Christ, making a way for true

Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem;

then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

As David prays for his community, city and government, so she prays for hers. She is concerned for those affected by her sin, and those who similarly are prone to fall into such wounding sin.

Austin, her soul city, “Lord, would you do good to this city in your good pleasure, continue to make your name great here and enlarge the hearts of these people to adore you. Make those of us who know you, faithful and bold to testify of your story. You will be delighted in their sacrifices, in their repentance as they turn to you in expressions of gratitude and obedience. You are the God of this city.”

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Valley of Vision: Continual Repentance

O God of grace,

Thou hast imputed my sin to my substitute,

and hast imputed his righteousness

to my soul,

clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe,

decking me with jewels of holiness.

But in my Christian walk I am still in rags;

my best prayers are stained with sin;

my penitential tears are so much impurity;

my confessions of wrong are so many

aggravations of sin;

my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with

selfishness.

I need to repent of my repentance;

I need my tears to be washed;

I have no robe to bring to cover my sins,

no loom to weave my own righteousness;

I am always standing clothed in filthy garments,

and by grace am always receiving change of

raiment,

for thou dost always justify the ungodly;

I am always going into the far country,

and always returning home as a prodigal,

always saying, Father, forgive me,

and thou art always bringing forth

                                      the best robe.

Every morning let me wear it,

every evening return in it,

go out to the day’s work in it,

be married in it,

be wound in death in it,

stand before the great white throne in it,

enter heaven in it shining as the sun.

Grant me never to lose sight of

the exceeding sinfulness of sin,

the exceeding righteousness of salvation,

the exceeding glory of Christ,

the exceeding beauty of holiness,

the exceeding wonder of grace.

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