I have thoroughly missed my blog and it sure feels good to be writing. My life has been filled with so many exciting things. From attending 2 BEAUTIFUL and fun weddings, to deciding on which place we will live during our first year of marriage. I catch myself thinking about decorating our place quite frequently and then quickly remind myself that I have the wedding to focus on first.
Invites have gone out, and I tell you what, handing over that box to the sweet lady at the post office who wanted to hear all about our wedding was the best feeling. One more thing to check off the list! Now onto programs, wedding favors, rehearsal dinner dress shopping, wedding dress jewelry shopping, figuring out the order of everything, etc etc. Should I have done some of that? Good thing we have 46 days :).
I am not here to talk about logistics of our wedding however. Instead, I wanted to share with you what I have been learning these last few weeks through sermons, home group discussions, and personal study. A little something I like to call RAJMVS. Or in other words, I could not come up with clever mnemonic for you to make sense of this so just keep reading.
- Repentance-Before the process of salvation can begin, the Holy Spirit must bring to light our helpless and sinful selves before God and instill a living hope inside us that comes through (and only through) the resurrecting power of Jesus Christ. This involves a huge leap of faith and surrendering of control which is a sign of obedience to the Lord.
- Adoption-When I hear this word I think about the millions of children who are without a home, and by the gracious love of a stranger, they are welcomed into a new home which provides the way for a much safer life for them. Adoption is a miracle, both for those homeless babies and for us, as sinful and lost individuals trying to survive in a fallen world. After we come to terms with the fact that we are messed up and need Jesus desperately, He graciously welcomes us into His family as Children. Not cousins 4 times removed, but rather as His son or daughter who will get to spend eternity in Heaven with Him. Amazing.
- Justification-Our world just loves the law, judicial system, etc. We like to know exactly why somebody was proven guilty or innocent. Justification in Gospel terms is an extremely important piece of salvation. Think of it as Jesus’ blood and sacrifice as a stamp on our forehead which reads “innocent” or “legally righteous.” We are declared innocent by Christ’s work, not our own and it allows us to live freely and without these chains we carried around from wanting everyone else’s approval. We are no longer a slave to ourselves, but rather beautifully adopted by our Savior.
- Mortification-After we have repented of our sins, been declared innocent while being adopted, we then have some work to do (with the Lord’s help of course). To mortify means to put to death something. In this case, it is not a fun process and can actually be quite painful. For it involves laying down ones wordly desires, temptations, addictions, etc. We all have those morally-neutral things in our life which don’t seem “bad from a worldy prespective” yet they suck the joy out of us and really hinder our relationship and pursuit of our Father. Often times during this phase, we find it easier to just “mow over” the problem or bandage it, rather than really digging deep and working through the root of the problem. Matt Chandler says “often times the heart of the problem is a problem of the heart.” In other words, it is so easy for us to blame things on other people or say it is their issue. This even takes place in large churches where people can just hide their problems. Often times, we are the problem and through mortification, those those ugly parts of us come out. We were created to walk in innocence and honor, not guilt and shame.
- Vivification-This is a much more joyful and uplifting topic (not to take away from the importance of mortification because that must happen as well). Once we have put to death those things that will cause a wedge between us and the Lord, we begin to pursue Him whole-heartedly. We have a desire to focus our minds on holy things and off of earthly things. We start asking ourselves if “is what I am doing right now bringing glory to the Kingdom?” We are filled with Christ’s light and a constant joy. The aspect of vivication which has been eye-opening for me and something I have really been trying to work on is holding every thought captive before speaking. I have noticed that it makes me much more aware of the heart aspect and really allows me to check myself to make sure what I say is filled with love and grace. This is so much easier to type out than to do every single day.
- Sanctification (mortification & vivification are 2 parts of this)-The process of sanctification is ongoing and something that we will always be experiencing. It requires a grace-driven effort by the Holy Spirit continually working in and through us. I am being sanctified on a daily basis and I am so thankful for that. Sanctification means examining some really difficult aspects of our lives such as anger, additions, sexual desires, guilt shame, fear, anxiety, and so much more. As hard as it can be, once we replace those sinful behaviors with healthy patterns, we begin to walk with a renewed nourishment and joy in our souls.
This series has been so incredible and I look forward to the next few weeks. I highly recommend podcasting Matt Chandler (The Village Church) if you are looking for something to fill you up during drives, work outs, or just to be fed anytime of time. He is such a good teacher of the Bible which sometimes can be hard to find these days.
So from wedding talk to gospel talk, I will wrap up with this. To be fully known and delighted in is one of the most beautiful gifts we could be given. Jesus loves you, this I know.
Love & blessings!