Trust God With the Spiritual Gifts He Gives

Do you trust God in the area of spiritual gifts?

While talking to my brothers and sisters at church or scrolling social media, I want what other people have—specifically, their spiritual gifts, opportunities, and influence. I hear about that wonderful ministry event she spoke at, or I see how widely she’s influencing other believers, and I think, How did those doors open for her? Why haven’t I had that chance?

Or in moments of total pride: What she’s doing isn’t as neat as what I just got to do.

Five Truths to Help You Trust God

In our sinful state, our hearts wander into covetousness, comparison, and criticism when it comes to the gifts God gives his people. Instead of seeing what God has graciously given—our spiritual gifts, opportunities, and influence—we often fixate on what he hasn’t given us.

But we can trust God with the gifts he gives. Because of Christ, we’re free to celebrate the diverse spiritual gifts within his body and rest in what God has given each of us. This is the better way—and Paul draws it out for us in 1 Corinthians 12. Here, he gives us five truths that will help us trust God as he distributes spiritual gifts.

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10 Bible Verses to Strengthen You As You Wait

The waiting game is the least fun game to play.

We’re averse to it because we like knowing outcomes. We’re especially averse to the waiting game when the outcome we’re anticipating is a positive one, as gratification is delayed. But waiting, no matter the context, tests our faith. It exercises our dependence on the God who initiates it for our good and his purposes—

Every day of waiting is another day of learning to trust him.

My husband, Brad, and I are waiting for our baby to come. Every hour of every day feels like pulling teeth, as we have zero control over the timing of her arrival. Every contraction gives me pause as I wonder, Is this the one? So I’ve grown discouraged over dashed hopes and the unfulfilled longing of meeting our child as another day passes…

What are you waiting for? Physical healing? A restored marriage? A promotion at work? A rebellious child? A cross-country move? The salvation of a beloved friend?

As I’ve been pouring over Scripture this week, I’ve asked God to teach me his character and ways during this time in-between, and I hope and pray the following verses will strengthen your faith while you wait, as they have strengthened mine:

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The Cross Makes Good of All Our Mess

Dried tears are evidenced on my face as I write this. I feel like a mess.

I couldn’t stop the outpouring of anger that came upon me not thirty minutes ago. Pain and discomfort had re-entered my body this week with a vengeance, after an extended period of feeling well, stable, hopeful.

So I reached my emotional limit and out poured the tears.

Tears of anger, tears of fear, tears of worry. Even tears of thanksgiving for the breaking of my pride, though, I confess, the thankfulness sometimes comes through gritted teeth. The truth is, my body often feels like a mess, and I cannot make sense of much of it.

This is where believing the truth comes into play. This is where I must redirect what I feel to be true of God to rehearsing what I know to be true of him. This is where God’s Word speaks straight to the pain.

What about you? What mess are you in at the present moment?

Are you dealing with a disease, or even a temporarily illness, that seems to be holding you back from activity? Are you in the middle of a nasty family feud? Are you married to someone who does not love the Lord? Are you about to lose your job?

Here’s what is so good: the relevancy of God’s Word stands throughout time and generations. It it for you and for me, right here and right now. Joseph and Jacob, for example, experienced their own slew of messes within their lifetimes, and we have much to learn from their stories.

Let’s remember one particular story from the end of the book of Genesis…

…Jacob is giving his blessing to Joseph’s two sons, which will continue the promise of God to multiply a people for himself from their family line. The scene is reminiscent of a previous one (can you guess it?) where Jacob tricks his father, Isaac, into giving him the birthright that belonged to his brother, Esau.

Deception in Jacob’s boyhood was followed by a series of messy life circumstances: fleeing from Esau and having to settle in a new land; wrestling with an angel of the Lord; raising twelve sons, some of whom were rebellious murderers; and grieving the loss of Joseph, his beloved son, when he is sold into Egyptian slavery by the very same hateful brothers.

It seems that Jacob’s mess could have very little good come from it, right?

Yet, in Genesis 48, we see him at the end of his very full life, having seen his sons reconciled to Joseph (now the governor of Egypt) and his two grandchildren receiving the blessing of God’s promise for his people. This mess wasn’t what it seemed.

Read Joseph’s words to his repentant brothers from Genesis 49:

“Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. (Genesis 49:20-21)

What the world, the enemy, and the flesh intend for our evil, God intends for our good. This is the marvelous promise of Scripture to you and to me, despite our various life-messes and, in fact, right in the middle of them.

God’s story most certainly doesn’t end there. For from the line of Jacob and Joseph, from the line of King David, there is born the Promised One, Jesus Christ, who would save the people from their sins by bearing their iniquities on the cross.

Here is the astonishing truth we must know about the supposed “mess” of the crucifixion:

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with [Christ], having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:13-15)

Read that last verse again. Can you believe this?! The most atrocious act of human and spiritual hatred in all of history, come to pass by human hands and ordained by God himself, was intended for good. The enemy inaugurated and delivered his own defeat! When Christ was nailed to the cross, God had already planned the victorious resurrection and ascension of his Son, Christ proclaiming to the world that death no longer has any hold on those who trust in his ability to save the lost.

Oh Lord Jesus, if you could take something as horrible as your death at Calvary and use it for our salvation, how much more can you transform our present circumstances into eternal good? How could you not be glorified by our sufferings? Take our messes and make them beautiful conduits of your grace and mercy, reflections of the sufferings of Christ, and a witness to our world. Make them to serve your glorious purposes, and fill our hearts with the living hope of your resurrection.

For our light and momentary afflictions — our earthly messes — are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison! The cross makes good of all our mess.

Don’t Be Like Ahaz

It occurred to me today that God’s control over the nations is much like his control over the details of our lives.

We don’t always understand why he does what he does. But we see all events, both good and hard, in the light of his precise handling and perfect, overarching purposes.

Consider the beginning of the book of Isaiah. In chapter seven, we read about God’s chosen nation, Judah, in conflict with the surrounding nations, Syria and Israel. The king of Judah, King Ahaz, has attempted to protect himself and his nation by secretly aligning with Assyria, the enemy of the other nations.

Instead of the trusting in God’s promise to keep and redeem a chosen people for himself, Ahaz takes matters into his own hands.

What we learn in the story is a helpful lesson for us all about the freedom of trusting God’s promises and his power. God tells Isaiah the prophet to deliver a message to Ahaz:

And the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer’s Field.


And say to him, ‘Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah. (Isaiah 7:3-4)

What does Ahaz need a reminder of in this moment? God is in control, and he does what he says he will do. God reminds him that the nations who war against him are nothing but “smoldering stumps of firebrands.” What a picture!

How often in our own lives do we forget that Christ has the victory? How often do we insist on our own Plan B, when the Lord has given us every reason to trust him with Plan A? Just as God Almighty holds the nations in his hands, turning the hearts of kings this way and that, so he holds the events of your life in his hands.

And if you’re in Christ, he intends to prove himself trustworthy and true. In fact, he already has in Christ. The day will come when the earth will pass away, and we’ll all proclaim, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” We will finally see him as he truly is, in all his glory, and we will behold the manifold wisdom and power of his Son.

Let’s take a lesson from Ahaz: instead of forgetting what we know to be true of God, taking matters into our own hands, let’s remember that God is faithful. He has shown his trustworthiness through the sending of Christ, who gave up his very life to secure for us an eternal future and hope.

With that in mind, what do you need to surrender to God today? What do you need to let go of?

Only God could take our submission to his reign and plan and make it perfect freedom for our souls.

10 Questions to Ask When You’re Angry at God’s Plan

I had tried every remedy I could think of.

From melatonin to other sleep aids, from sleep masks to ear plugs, all of these so-called “solutions” for sleeping trouble resulted for me in more wakeful evenings. For the girl who had never had much trouble with sleep, I was struggling.

And struggling is probably not the most accurate word I could use to describe my sleep-deprived state. The better word is angry.

Yes, I admit it. Angry. Angry that, no matter what I tried, no matter how tired I was, I would lay awake for hours on end, unable to fall asleep. Angry knowing that the next day at work was going to be difficult. Angry that my dear husband was fast asleep next to me.

Angry at the Lord for ordaining a trial that seemed so torturous in the moment, one that made no sense to me at all.

Our bodies run on sleep. Doesn’t God know that?

Doesn’t God see that I have some big projects to complete this week at work and that I simply cannot be a walking zombie to finish them?

Doesn’t he hear my cries for help?

Doesn’t he care?

I had reached my breaking point after about two weeks of interrupted sleep. The tears continued to come, my mind spinning from not understanding why I had to endure such a ridiculous trial. But one thing was certain: I knew that, deep down, my anger was directed toward the Lord. I knew simultaneously that this attitude did not honor him and that it was revealing a deeper condition of my heart.

But what? What was making me so angry over something so small? What was at the root of my anger towards the Lord?…  READ MORE

[Post Credit: iBelieve | Photo Credit: Free Digital Photos]

With You

While sitting on a park bench in the Summer of 2009, I penned the lyrics to the song “With You,” which would be my first song written since the seventh grade (which was written for a school project). I had never considered myself a “songwriter,” but the lyrics came so swiftly, tumbling out of my head onto paper. This was a season filled with pressure from the world’s expectations and, simultaneously, one of increasingly overwhelming desires to be quiet and focused and saturated in the presence of the Lord.

While I see changes in myself and in my understanding of and love for Christ since that time, the words still ring true. I hope they encourage you today, especially if you’re in a season of busyness, dryness or pressure. May you always trust in God’s presence, which is unceasingly with you.

With You 

Why, when it seems so easy
Does my mind shut off?
My heart finds a roadblock to you

You say you desire to meet with me
In that quiet place of journey
In that place where it’s only us together

I feel your yearning
I hear you calling me softly to your side
But life remains, gets in the way
Another day, another day gone by
Without you

This is not what I want
Independence, busy rushing around
Oh, I know I need you now

Why, when the chaos surrounds me
And the world tempts my heart
Do I submit to its presence?

It does not define me
Nor does it bring the sense of satisfaction
That you provide so selflessly

Then I find you
I hear you calling me
To the place beyond the world

And I won’t deny, I won’t ever try
Won’t let another day go by
Without you

This is not what I want
Independence, busy rushing around
Oh, I know I need you now

My life is incomplete without running
Going straight to your arms
I need those moments with you

And how can the silence be so loud?
How can my heart be so proud
When you’re beside me
Urging me to my knees?

Oh, how you show your divinity
Open my eyes so I can see
How you love me


(Copyright 2009, Work in Progress by Kristen Wetherell)

Honesty Is Opportunity

Engagement is wonderful.

A spectacular season of relationship between a man and a woman, engagement affords a couple the constant reminder to be intentional in their preparation for the marriage to come. My fiancé and I have been engaged now for over a month, and we are enjoying new opportunities to converse about our future life together, from our desires and our hopes, to who will handle the car repairs and finances. One of the neatest, most encouraging aspects of engagement is the chance to deepen our love by being totally and completely up-front with one another about…well…everything.

Our ability to approach the other person honestly, with love and grace, about any given situation will determine the depth of trust, or lack thereof, in our relationship. Beyond the vital development of trust, honesty provides two imperfect people, whether friends or fiancés, with a very unique opportunity: to see the gospel at work, as they reflect God’s abundant grace to one another and to a watching world.

Read Paul’s words to the Colossians in chapter three:

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as The Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony…” (v.12-14).

Honesty in our relationships–whether familial, or friend-to-friend, or in dating or marriage–is absolutely vital to maintaining a unity that is founded in Christ and developed through trust. Honesty, when desiring the best for the other and for the relationship, is a manifestation of love, which Paul says binds all things together in perfect harmony. We find the ultimate example of love and harmony in the Trinitarian relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit; we revel in the reconciliation of the Christian to the Father in Jesus; and we heed the call to be united within the Body of Christ, and therefore, to one another.

Honesty in our relationships provides opportunity for a number of gospel truths to be revealed:

1. Honesty is opportunity to put on the humble submission of Christ.
It seems a rare thing to find a person who loves confrontation. Let’s face it–confrontation in any form is uncomfortable because it involves a measure of vulnerability. In essence, when we confront someone we love with the truth, we are calling them out, exposing their sin (or bad habit), and then holding our breaths for their response, which is completely out of our control. Comfortable? I think not.

But consider why we are able and instructed to confront in love: Christ, Himself, was our humble Savior, who endured the cross for our sake. He did not look ahead to Calvary and say, “That looks uncomfortable, so I think I’ll pretend it’s not happening and avoid it.” Christ humbly and obediently submitted to the Father, putting Himself directly in line with God’s will, and faced the discomfort (more like the agony) of the cross for the greater outcome: our salvation. Christ had our unity with the Father in mind when He died for us and rose again to life eternal.

For us, this means that we can pray for strength to be like Christ, setting aside our self-centered desire for comfort so that unity, love and trust can be fostered in our relationships. This means we can step out in vulnerability without fear because we ultimately trust in Christ. This means that we get to practice our identity in Christ, as we humbly submit to the Father’s calling for “humility, meekness, and patience”. What an opportunity to grow in Christ-likeness!

2. Honesty is opportunity to bear witness to the grace of God.
What happens if you are the one being confronted? What then? Our vulnerability is equally exposed when a person we love points out to us an area of sin or weakness. The way we respond reveals the condition of our hearts, and if we have truly understood the gospel in all its fullness.

When, by the Spirit’s power, we grasp that in Christ we have been given abundant grace, we are more able to respond with grace and humility. God’s grace for our sins allows us to see ourselves in right perspective: that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5). We never deserved His atoning sacrifice and victorious resurrection, but still He saved us out of love for us. God’s undeserved grace compels us to give to others what we have received in Christ, out of obedience to Him and gratitude for His compassion. We are freed to love others because of God’s liberating, compelling grace.

This means that, when we are confronted with our sins and weaknesses, we can humbly receive what is being said to us. We can be thankful that God’s grace has covered it all, providing a person to help us see our blind spots. This means that we can also respond to another’s confession with love and grace, because we realize that we, ourselves, have been given total forgiveness in Christ and are freed to love as He has loved us.

3. Honesty is opportunity for our sanctification.
Uncomfortable situations take us where we would rather not venture. But it is in those situations that the Holy Spirit empowers a deeper work within us, something we never could achieve on our own efforts—our sanctification! That is grace, ongoing and unceasing. Of course, we will never know perfection until we see Jesus face to face; our becoming more like Christ is a work in progress. We are not yet who we shall be! But when the Holy Spirit wills and works in us for God’s good pleasure, we become more like Christ and less like the world, step by step and day by day. Sinner to sinner, we choose honesty despite difficulty and discomfort, trusting that God’s grace is truly sufficient in our weakness to transform us to Christlikeness.

This means that, when opportunities for honesty arise, we can trust the deeper work that God is doing in our hearts and know that grace is being lavished on us in the lifelong process. It means that hardship is ordained by God for His larger Kingdom purposes and is never in vain. It means that we have cause to rejoice, even in the storms, because we trust in Christ’s sufficiency to sustain and change us, and His salvation to be our ever-present hope and help.

What opportunities for honesty have arisen before you today? May you be filled with strength by the Holy Spirit to walk in love, grace, humility and compassion as you trust Christ with your relationships, to His glory and your eternal joy!

[Post credit: Crosswalk]

God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle

I sit here, my legs elevated, staring at a blue hospital boot on my left foot.

Whoever coined the expression, “God won’t give you more than you can handle” was clearly living in another universe…because it is absolutely not true. Nowhere in the Bible does that statement appear. Nowhere in the Bible are we told that hardships and struggles come with an “only-as-much-trouble-as-your-strength-can-carry” standard attached to them.

Of course, this adage is an excellent encouragement for people with no need for help or rescue. But I see my human reality on a daily basis; I know that I am weak. We are weak. And often, we are indeed given much, much more than we can handle on our own strength.

As I add “blue hospital boot” to my quickly-expanding mental list of injuries, I humbly look at my Lord and Savior and admit, “I cannot do this alone. This hurts. This is digging to the very core of my pride. This is uprooting my false hopes. This is more than I wanted, selfishly. And it is certainly more than I can handle.”

Let’s face the truth: It is fooling ourselves to say triumphantly that God will not give us more than we can handle. Believing this wrongly emphasizes our own ability to weather storms and save ourselves. It assumes that God’s desire is never to overwhelm us, which would cause us to actually need Him. At best, believing this adage attempts to brush the difficult reality of our weaknesses right under the rug.

See, all of the above might boost our self-esteem for a little while, but soon we will find ourselves increasingly discontent. Because, if God won’t give me more than I can handle, then why do I feel that I simply cannot handle the hardship and pain set right before me?

No, my friends, the Bible does not say that God will spare us from circumstances that are too hard for us to endure. The opposite holds true. He has lessons for us to learn regarding weakness. Weakness is His instrument. God will give us increasingly more than we can handle so that He, in His infinite grace, can root out our sin and replace it with a deeper love for Him and His strength.

If you are not sure that you can believe this, consider the following men:

Take Moses, who was given an assignment much greater than he could manage. He was to lead the enslaved Israelites out of Egypt, despite Pharaoh’s flagrant refusal to let them go freely. More than he could handle? I think so.

Take Job, a man who loved God, and whose entire livelihood was taken from him, including his family and his health. More than he could handle? Absolutely.

Take Paul, whose gospel-preaching ministry landed him in jail multiple times. Add to this beatings, starvation, and shipwreck, and you’ve got only a portion of his difficult circumstances. More than he could handle? Yes and yes.

The wonderful, yet difficult connection between our weakness and God’s infinite strength runs throughout the whole salvation story. Here is our reality: our Heavenly Father desires that we would share in His holiness (Hebrews 12:10). And though we will never know precisely the wisdom of God, why He does what He does, we can trust this promise from Hebrews 12:

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

God will give us more than we can handle, and so:

We consider Christ and draw from His strength (vv. 3-4). We look to Jesus and see quickly that God gave His Son the weight of the world to shoulder, all by Himself, so that we would not need to! Our Savior knew what it was to endure hardship, all the way to the cross. And for those who believe in Him, His Spirit dwells within, providing the strength to endure hardship with trust in and submission to the Father’s will. Hardship, then, becomes an opportunity to fellowship in the sufferings and power of Christ.

We trust that all hardship stems from His love for us (vv. 5-6). When it feels like God is giving you more than you can handle, praise Him for such a loving demonstration of His grace! This might sound counter-intuitive to us, but the Bible says that God shows His love for His children through discipline and trials. How can he root out our selfishness and pride and vanity except to lovingly show us where we are wrong? This can take a million different forms. But our weaknesses showcase that God is interested in doing a more important work within our souls. That is love!

We set our hope on that which will endure forever (vv. 10-11). What might be this more important work within our souls, which God is interested in doing? God gives us plenty more than we can handle so that our hopes are redirected to the treasures of heaven. Rather than believing that we can conquer our difficult circumstances and somehow be happy, God would have us trust that His Kingdom is the only thing worth truly hoping in, and that He is producing in us the peaceful fruit of righteousness…regardless of how our situation unfolds. The things of the world cannot be trusted to endure; but the reign of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God will endure forever.

My sister, has God given you more than you can handle today? If so, I’m with you. I’m with you in all the tears and the confusion. But you and I don’t need to stay there because we know God’s truth: He will give us more than we can handle so that we rely on the wonderful, all-sufficient, hope-producing strength of Jesus Christ. Our Lord and Savior came to save weak sinners, supplying forever the strength to endure, until the day when He comes again on the clouds of heaven.

And to that I say, Amen!

[Post credit: iBelieve]

The Perfectionist Plague

If you are plagued by perfectionism, then it’s time remember the gospel.

Believe me—I will be joining you in this holy endeavor because I need the reminding, too.

Oh, perfection. I love working hard. The ability to do so is a gift from the Lord. Beyond working hard, I enjoy working precisely. Correctly. Exactly. Clearly. I enjoy working and living in such a way that exudes the excellence of Christ and presses onward past challenges and obstacles. Especially within ministry, working excellently brings me deep joy. And I believe it honors the Lord.

What saps me of joy, however, is my tendency to expect absolute perfection of myself. See, working hard as unto the Lord should be the pursuit of every Christ follower. But, if a person is not careful, working excellently can quickly evolve into working for self-righteous perfection. There is a difference between working by the Lord’s strength in utter dependence on Him, and working through our own independent efforts, which naturally results in self-glorification.

The pursuit of perfection by our own efforts and for our own vain purposes reveals in us a stunning truth: we are plagued by it, and therefore, we need reminders of the gospel of grace.

Six Signs of Perfectionism

It’s time to take a test.

If the following traits are true of you, you might be a perfectionist:

  1. You expect perfection from yourself.
  2. You expect perfection from other people. Common attitudes toward others involve critique, judgment and disappointment.
  3. You beat yourself up for making mistakes or failing.
  4. You are afraid of failure, and the fear keeps you from moving forward.
  5. You are unwilling to let others help you.
  6. You refuse to take correction and hear the messy truth about yourself.

If the majority of the above statements describe you, then it is possible that you have been plagued by the need for perfection in many aspects of life. You are not alone. All of the above have described me, at one point or another.

The truth is that our understanding of the gospel is reflected through how we live on a daily basis, especially in relation to our dependence on Christ. Conversely, not coming to terms with the fullness of Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection leaves a disconnection, whereby we attempt to fill in the gaps with our own vain efforts to be good (and do good). It hit me like a ton of bricks that my need for perfection meant that I was missing the full extent of the gospel message, which trains us “to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:12).

What’s at the root?

What is at the root of perfectionism? In pondering the desire to be perfect, it seems that at its root lie four sinful tendencies: The need to be in control, the need for approval from man, self-justification (making ourselves “good”) by works, and the sins of unbelief (doubting Christ’s sufficiency and goodness) and idolatry (hungering for worldly gain and pursuits).

I don’t know about you, but if those sins describe the heart of a perfectionist, then I am running—no, sprinting–the other direction. Straight to the gospel, straight to the cross.

A Perfectionist’s Reality Check

My prayer for perfectionists is that we would remind ourselves daily of the good news of Christ. Only in fixing our minds on Jesus through His inerrant Word will we be transformed by truth and made into His likeness. So, what does the gospel say to us?

  1. Jesus is Lord, holy and perfect. He rules our lives.
  2. No one person is good. We were all under the law and slaves to sin (3:10).
  3. God will judge all of mankind (2:6).
  4. Christ died for sinners (5:6).
  5. We are justified by His blood (5:9) when we believe.
  6. Our righteousness is in Christ (5:18).

Read that last point again. Your righteousness is in Christ. My sister, this means that righteousness—your need to be perfect and without failure—has been bestowed upon you by Christ alone! All of our vain efforts to achieve perfection and control circumstances cannot make us good. They are futile.

But the gospel reminds us that the Author and Perfecter of our faith is the One who makes us righteous. In Christ, we are blameless and without fault. We are adopted saints, dearly loved and wholly approved. Grace is lavished on us through the love of Christ, who compels us to love others (yes, even imperfect sinners!) as we have been loved. Our inheritance is in eternity, not in the fleeting pleasures and treasures of worldly success, accolades and titles.

What Now?

Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

For my sisters struggling with perfectionism, may you preach the gospel to yourselves on a daily basis. Get in the Scriptures. Journal each and every spiritual blessing that Christ has given to you, for His glory. Worship God for providing the perfect sacrifice in His Son, who loved you and gave Himself for you.

The life you live in the flesh, live by faith in Christ, who is your righteousness! And be plagued by perfectionism no more.

[Post credit: iBelieve]

Submission Is Not Just for Married People

Submission is not just for married people.

I should know; I’m not married. But submission is most definitely for me. Submission is also for you.

When you hear the term “submission”, what comes to mind? Far from a comfortable topic, submission does not always garner the most supportive responses from people. Even Christ-followers hear the word and cringe because—let’s face it—submission has been misused and its purpose misunderstood. For many, the image that comes to mind is that of becoming a repressed doormat. In our minds, submission looks akin to slavery.

For a long time, I thought submission was limited to the context of marriage. Years ago, out of a desire to obey the Lord, I pursued a supposedly submissive attitude in a dating relationship—to my disappointment and confusion. The so-called “submission” that leaves a person disrespected, neglecting holiness, and being taken-advantage of is not submission at all. It is foolishness. At that point, I wondered if I would ever fully understand it. How could I get submission so wrong, when my intentions were so right?

A month ago, on flickered the lightbulb.

What a stunning realization it was for me. My pastor was teaching a large group of women from Titus, where Paul instructs young women to be “submissive to their own husbands” (2:5). Naturally, there was an intrigued, expectant silence in the air, as we women awaited his explanation of the controversial “submission” word. What we came away with left our hearts rejoicing.

Submission is not just for married people. Nor does submission find its origin in marriage.

Submission began with Christ, Himself.

How? Our Savior humbly and willingly obeyed the Father’s will, trusted Him fully, and went to the cross for our sins. Jesus submitted to God, “Not my will, but Yours be done,” and as a result, grace abounds. Through Christ’s submission, sin and death were defeated by His blood on the cross, and reconciliation with God was made possible for all who trust in Him.

Submission is all about following the example of Jesus Christ.

Submission is therefore not just for married people because all Christians are called to submit to Christ. Living in submission to Christ’s lordship means acknowledging that our lives are truly no longer our own, offering them up to God’s perfect purposes and will.

Submission says, “Yes, Lord, You are in control of my life, and I trust that Your grace is sufficient for me. I will therefore rest in my identity as Your adopted daughter and trust the work of the Spirit in my life. I will walk by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Here’s the freeing truth about submission: The reason God commands our submission, both within marriage, the Body of Christ and to Himself, is because through it, His grace is fully manifested and His Son glorified. Submitting ourselves to God means trusting His purposed plan, His leading by the Holy Spirit, His Word, and His sanctifying work in us. What freedom there is in relinquishing control to our Sovereign God, whose grace is sufficient in our every weakness!

But what about submission in our other relationships? John Piper says that “submission is a wider Christian virtue for all of us to pursue, and it has its unique and fitting expressions in various relationships” (The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission).

Submission to others must begin firstly with submission to Christ. This means following the example of Christ through obedience to the Word of God. “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other…Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom” (1 Peter 3:12-13,16).

So submission in our Christian relationships looks like: grieving with the brokenhearted, forgiving another’s sin, humbly listening to correction, looking past insignificant quirks, speaking honestly about a situation, putting another’s interests before our own, choosing a teachable spirit, serving others, holding our fiery tongues, and in everything humbling ourselves for the sake of the gospel.

When we choose to submit to Christ, we revere and honor His Name. The scope of submission is so much deeper than we ever could have thought or imagined! Submission is not just for married people. For in submitting to Christ, we become like Him, to the praise of His glorious Name and for the sake of the gospel!

[Post credit: iBelieve]