As Christians living in a fallen world, we are used to living with the tension of the already-but-not-yet state of the Kingdom of God. We face the daily, painful reality of the already-but-not-yet state of our own hearts, as redeemed yet imperfect, justified yet in the process of being sanctified. What do we do with our sorrow over our sin? What do we do when we desire to change, but find our flesh warring against us? What do we do when we are burdened by all that we know is wrong in our lives? What do we do when we try and then fail, try again and fail again? What do we do when we are staring into the darkness of our own hearts?
Look higher, friends. Look higher. And remember who you are.
How quickly discouragement can set in when we take our eyes off Christ and fix our eyes on ourselves with all our struggles and failings. How easy it is to become distracted from Christ by the sin in our lives, when the very cure for that sin is Christ within us. How easy it is to be burdened under the weight of what we feel we need to accomplish, when He Himself told us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. We take our gaze off our Savior and, like Peter, begin to sink under the waves of the sins we need to conquer, the ways we know we need to “improve ourselves.”
At the point of Salvation, we are made new. We are given new life. God has completed the heart of stone and heart of flesh transaction of Ezekiel 36. He has sprinkled us with clean water, and He is causing us to walk in His ways. We are not who we used to be. Furthermore, we are no longer enslaved to sin, and “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3a). God has given us everything we need in Christ. All things—all things needed to grow and flourish and conquer sin, awaiting the day when we are at last made perfect.
But what about now? What about times of discouragement or overwhelm? Those times when our sin and failings seem so bleak? That is when we need to remember who we are. Not who we could be if we just tried a little harder. If we just read our Bibles enough. If we just prayed a little more fervently. If we just conquered this one sin. If the Holy Spirit just got a hold of us a little more. No. We need to remember who we already are in Christ, who God has already made us to be.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Remember who you are. His workmanship, with good work to do. Go, do it.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
Remember who you are. Chosen, set apart for God, to proclaim His goodness. Go, proclaim it!
I find so much encouragement in the present tense of these verses. When I am struggling, I can’t look to myself, but I need to look to Christ. I need to remember who I am. If I look to myself, I will find what my condemning heart will tell me: that I’m a failure, a fraud, a sinner, a fake, worthless… But who am I in Christ? How does He see me? In Him, I am a new creation. His workmanship. Chosen. Holy. Light in the Lord. Loved. Redeemed. God’s own possession.
So if your heart is burdening you, if your sin is grieving you, if you are weary, look higher than yourself. Look to Christ and remember who you are.