Can you believe it? One day closer to Jesus! That’s the way I look at that!
I want to continue on yesterday’s message. Remember, I started by discussing how Crowder often refers to himself as “sinner” – not just a sinner but sinner. It’s a flat-out acknowledgment of identity, not just on occasion but as if it was his name. Strange, isn’t it? That certainly doesn’t sound very heathy. What kind of self-affirmation is that?
It’s not self-affirmation, at all, and that’s the whole point. You see, there is much more to the message. If he left it at that, I could understand the concern. However, he uses this name only in reference so that he may point to another – Jesus. That’s what it is all about. It’s like the opening line in Rick Warren’s famous book, “The Purpose Driven Life” – “It’s not about you.” It really isn’t.
Therefore, referring to one’s self as “sinner” simply is an acknowledgement of the situation. I finally understand my position especially in relation to Jesus. And who is Jesus? He is my savior, my King of kings and Lord of Lords. He is my rock, the only one I can rely on who will never leave or forsake me. He is the one I can trust and count on – always. He is the Creator of me and everything I see. He is my deliverer from evil and my protector. He is the one who saved me and loves me like no one can or ever will. There is no one like him and never will be.
Folks, I am like the biggest lottery winner of all time – except that I didn’t even buy a ticket! That’s the truth! Sure, we can say that the lottery is luck, but you have to buy a ticket, right? Furthermore, you have to redeem that ticket. With Jesus, there is no ticket to buy let alone a local convenience store to buy one. There is no place to claim your winnings. ALL of this is a gift from God. I have absolutely no clue as to why he chose me. None. In fact, if I was God I would have lightning-bolted my sorry head a long, long time ago for the things I’ve done. Seriously. Yet he had mercy and forgave me for it all.
Furthermore, he has given me new life. I have been delivered from alcoholism that twice should have killed me. By my own hand, twice, I should have died because of booze. This isn’t counting ANY of the accidents that should have killed me while I was drinking. It’s been 10 years since Jesus took away – completely – my taste for alcohol. Why? I have no clue. I fought him to the bitter end. Was I repentant? Yes, but only after he had completely broken me. He did his job; mine was simply to acknowledge it.
My weight problem is another chain he seems to have broken. This one didn’t come in an instant or even overnight. I’ve been on the diet yo-yo for a long time, as most of you know, but this time is different. My whole outlook about it has changed. Other times, I was driven by pride. This time, I concede defeat. I’ve been struggling since July to break through a “barrier” only to find out that barrier was me. I have surrendered to the gospel and the gospel is taking me to where I need to be. Scripture is clear that my body is a temple for the Holy Spirit, and my desire is to treat it as such. The problem is, I can’t. Jesus is the only one that can truly deliver me. Yes, I can – for a while – but I inevitably end up back in trouble. As I approach my ideal weight, it is clear that it is by God’s hand alone.
I’m a mess. That’s ok. No, it’s not ok to be comfortable with being a mess, but it is OK admitting I’m a mess. Furthermore, it is good and wise to acknowledge that Jesus is my deliverer – and to do it publically! This is no private show. Jesus fully intends his work to be known so that through it others may be encouraged and believe (John 14:11). That totally makes sense to me, except my pride tends to get in the way.
Furthermore, there are some things that I can do on my own. I can make my bed in the morning, that kind of thing. I also quit smoking on my own. I remember having a cigarette a day or two after Jesus took away the booze. I was overcome by a sense that Jesus took away the booze so I had better quit the smoking. I’m telling you, this wasn’t simple my conscience speaking. So, I put it out and haven’t had one since. But, the sin that consumes us – the kind that we can’t ever seem to beat – that’s the sin we have the hardest time humbling ourselves to Jesus. He’s the only one who can save us from that type of sin. Rightly so. Here’s why. If you can beat any and every sin you have, you don’t need Jesus. Do you think for one minute that God is going to allow that? You would be like God – holy in and of yourself. No, God does not have another like him. There are no rivals. You will not be given power on your own to be sin-free. Yes, you can rid yourself of sin, but only through Jesus. That’s plainly laid out to us in scripture and plainly evident in life itself.
That’s why we point to Jesus. That’s why it is a good thing to refer to ourselves as sinners, not to degrade ourselves but to point to Jesus and witness by declaring who he is and what he has done for us. Just like the woman at the well and the many, many other stories of Jesus that we see in the bible. Those things in those pages are what he has done for me, a sinner.
Tell your story.
Father, I am a sinner, yet you had mercy. What can I say other than I’m yours. I will follow you. Amen.
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers