One of my go to artists for the iPod Devotional walks with dog friend Hannah is Tenth Avenue North. Their lyrics touch my heart and inspire me on the journey. Today an old favorite popped up thanks to the shuffle feature. The song “You are more” talks about a young woman lost in fear and shame.
She says, "How did I get here?
I'm not who I once was.
And I'm crippled by the fear
That I've fallen too far to love"
That is a lie from the very pit of hell. The lyrics beautifully convey that no one has gone too far to experience God’s love.
But don't you know who you are,
What's been done for you?
Yeah don't you know who you are?
You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.
Most of us have heard the passage from 2nd Corinthians preached over and over.
So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5, NLT)
I am ashamed to admit that I too often glazed over and thought about lunch when that verse came up again. I know that already! Give me something deep. Should we go for brisket or Tex-Mex?
The truth is that I forgot or didn’t trust the truth of that passage. Have you seen those “cheat” sheets that quarterbacks put on their wrist to make sure they are calling the right play? Here is my version that you might replace your WWJD bracelet with since that question (What Would Jesus Do?) is pretty obvious. The right thing. Next question. Since I don’t always do the right thing I need a cheat sheet. And the first thing on the list would be this reminder.
- I have been changed.
- I am a new creation.
- My sins are forgiven. Past, present and future.
- Jesus loves me just as I am
- I am righteous because of my relationship with Christ and not my disciplined attempt to do right things.
- I have the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in me so I don’t have to be a slave to sin.
I have been remade.
My friend John Lynch is one of the authors of Truefaced. At a conference he gave this illustration about how you and I have already been changed and God wants us to mature into what is already true about us.
Nature provides many examples of this incredible discrepancy between who we might appear to be and who we truly are. Consider the caterpillar. If we brought a caterpillar to a biologist and asked him to analyze it and describe its DNA, he would tell us, “I know this looks like a caterpillar to you, but scientifically, according to every test, including DNA, this fully and completely a butterfly.”
Wow! God has wired into a creature that looks nothing like a butterfly, a perfectly complete butterfly “identity”. And because the caterpillar is a butterfly in essence, it will one day display the behavior and attributes of a butterfly.
The caterpillar matures into what is already true about it. In the meantime, berating the caterpillar for not being more like a butterfly is not only futile, it will probably hurt his tiny ears!
So it is with us. God has given us the DNA of godliness. We are saints. Righteous. Nothing we do will make us more righteous than we already are. Nothing we do will alter this reality. God knows our DNA. He knows that we are “Christ in me”. And now He is asking us to join Him in what He already knows is true!”
This same God that created the butterfly had changed this creature named Dave Burchett into something I never thought possible. Godly. A saint. Righteous. Are you kidding me? But that is what God says is true about me. And can be true about you if you put your full trust in Christ. It is done. The chorus of the song reaffirms that truth.
'Cause this is not about what you've done,
But what's been done for you.
This is not about where you've been,
But where your brokenness brings you to
There is a great interview in the recent issue of World Magazine. Tullian Tchividjian, senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida, talks about the importance of the Gospel for those who are in the church. We tend to think that the Gospel is only for those who are unchurched. Tchividjian would gracefully disagree. “They need God's justifying grace via the gospel, we need God's sanctifying grace via the gospel."
He continued his analysis of the importance of the Gospel in churches.
“There's a lot of moralistic, do-more, try-harder preaching in churches today. The preaching of the gospel is not, "You must do." The preaching of the gospel is, "Jesus has already done." There's a big difference between them.”
Paul finished his letter to the Galatians with this thought.
Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. (Galatians 6, NLT)
Tenth Avenue North reminds us that we have been remade. Trust that truth and see what a difference it can make.