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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Change Me From The Inside Out

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may
receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16 NIV

I spent the first thirty something years of my life trying to please God and I was going about it from the outside in. In my early-thirties and forties I begin to learn that God wanted to change me from the inside out.

I put a lot of effort into trying to be good, do church work, and have good “Christian” habits. I saw religion and life as having many rules to keep as a means of gaining God’s favor. I became a rule keeper. As a result, I became very judgmental of others who I believed were not keeping the rules!

Over the years I became increasingly fearful of breaking a rule myself and then dying and waking up in hell. There was no joy in my spirit. Did I love God? I believe I did. However, I didn’t spend much time learning about him or his ways because I was very busy doing church work and trying to keep the rules. Judging others also took up a good bit of my time. I was not a joyful Christian.

I so wanted to be perfect for God, but down deep in my spirit I know that I was pathetically imperfect! I was so in need of understanding the grace of my Savior. I took pride in the fact that I was a pretty good person but still I worried that I was not good enough to make it to heaven. My desire was to please God perfectly, rather than walk daily in an imperfect personal relationship with him.

I didn’t go to the garden of my heart much during those years. I felt the pull but lacked the desire. Then God gently spoke the words, “I have more for you than this”. I begin to wonder what it was that God had for me. I was still fearfully and franticly trying to serve God. One day I was listening to a sermon and this amazing scripture came into my heart. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 NIV

Next God gave me a second scripture, “…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:22-23 NIV

Wow! What I heard now was that I did not have to fear meeting God. He welcomed me into his presence. He said come to my throne it is a throne of grace. I learned that grace meant that I deserved to die because of my sin and imperfection, but God sent his Son to take my place on the cross. Jesus Christ bore the sin of the entire world. He was the only One who could appease the Father through the shedding of his blood so that I could be redeemed. God’s Word teaches that Jesus was able to do this because he was perfect. I knew without a doubt that I was not. I was lucky if I got home from church without blowing it! This amazing grace was sounding sweeter all the time. So through this scripture I came to realize that God says, “Come dear daughter, do not be afraid.” Come with confidence because you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. You have been cleansed. What I have for you now is nothing but mercy and grace. Come and receive it in your time of need.

God says, “Paula, I am happy when you serve me but serving me is not what allows you to stand before me unafraid.” So now draw near. I see your sincere heart, so come in full assurance believing that your heart has already been sprinkled with the blood of Jesus and you are cleansed from sin. I want you to stop second guessing your position before me. Enough of the trembling knees, the sweaty palms, and the thumping heart. Be at peace my child. Your entire body has been washed clean with pure water. Your clothing of filthy rags has been covered by my precious Son’s blood. You are free to sing and dance. You are free to express your joy. No more doubt. I want you to hold unswervingly to the hope that you profess. Do you know my child why you can do this? It is because I the Lord your God have given you this promise and I am faithful.

From that moment on I released all of my doubt, knowing full well that God keeps his promises!
I am eternally his and he is mine. You see, that day God changed me from the inside out. My heart was washed clean, my thinking was set straight, my heart was overflowing with joy, and my mind was experiencing His perfect peace. Did I walk perfectly? No. Did I walk confidently? Yes!


Have you ever struggled with your standing before God?
Do you ever doubt your salvation?
What part of the above verses fit you?
Are there any parts that do not fit?
If you have been washed clean by the blood of Jesus should you fear standing before him?

God’s forgiveness is free but he does ask that we show our love and gratitude to him by being obedient. Our salvation is never taken from us. It is a free gift. We are sealed for eternity. But God’s peace and joy are only present in our life when we obey his commands. As believers we ARE accountable to God for our behavior. Every day we must ask God to search our hearts and reveal sinful behavior and attitudes that are in need of being forgiven and changed. God has forgiven and saved us from the sin that we were born with. Still, as a believer, we must continue to confess to God our sinfulness.

We are dust. We are NOT perfect people. However, God continues to forgive and sanctify us every day when we ask him for his hand of forgiveness. On any given day I find myself experiencing sinful attitudes, words, deeds, and responses. When I confess my lack of trust and my lack of obedience, God graciously forgives me over and over again. Be honest, none of us do all of those things perfectly!

Sinful responses are the warts of imperfection that have attached themselves to the surface of my heart. They are not mistakes, they are sinful behavior. I must confess that behavior to God. God has forgiven me and I am saved for all of eternity. Nonetheless, I MUST choose to walk in a loving relationship with my Savior. I do this by holding myself accountable for my daily behavior. In my life there is room for confession every day. Un-confessed sin distances me from my Savior. It gives Satan a foothold in my life. As a believer my goal is to improve in my walk with the Lord every day. With the help of the Holy Spirit I want to learn to overcome the things in my life that tend to drag me down. I want to choose to respond as Jesus would. It is my responsibility to fall deeper in love with Jesus every day so that I will love him more than I love my sin. I want my obedience to Jesus to be out of a heart of love rather than obligation or fear. My original sin has been forgiven and I am sealed for eternity, but what about the life that is sandwiched in between? This life counts and someday I will stand before Jesus and give an account of how well I lived it! Without a doubt, my daily sanctification is indeed God changing me from the inside out. I am a work in progress and there is always room to climb higher as I press toward heaven.


Dear God,

Thank you that you make your ways known to all of us who are seeking you. There are times when we do not have it right but you are faithful to teach us and to keep your promise to restore us when we sin. I am so thankful that you view my life as a work in progress. I know that I have been created in your image and that in eternity I will be complete in you. When I am tempted to work to gain your favor, help me to remember that I already have your favor because I am a child of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Yes Lord, please continue to change me from the inside out. I know that I am a work in progress and I thank you that there will always be opportunity for me to climb highter as I press toward heaven.

It is in the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.