When Satan tempts me to dispair…

A few months ago I was at the Imago Dei Eastside Gathering. It was a hot Sunday evening in the little chapel that has no air conditioning, just windows opened and fans going. The lights were off to keep it cool. We sang the song “Before the Throne of God Above,” and as I stood there reading the lyrics, unable to sing, tears fell out of my eyes.

before the throne of God above // stephanieorefice.net

 

Before the throne of God above // stephanieorefice.net

Let me be real. There are sins in my life that I struggle with so consistently and so deeply that my life feels like it’s one giant spiral of repeating the same sin, hearing the same deceptions, believing the same lies, and praying the same words out of guilt. I am full of bitterness and cynicism, judgment and eye rolls. and some days that is made so much more aware to me than others.

and on those days, Satan camps out in my guilt.

A month or so ago, I had one of those mornings. and I was driving to work, and as I turned onto the street by my church I thought “I’m so full of sin and yet I’m someone’s YOUTH PASTOR!? I should quit my job and let them find someone who screws up less.” and I really started to beat myself up over it. But then I remembered the words of a Mercy Me song that say “There’ll be days I lose the battle, grace says that it doesn’t matter, cuz the cross already won the war.” (Greater – MercyMe)

and I started crying my eyes out because that was the truth I needed to be reminded of. Deep in my spirit I heard the Holy Spirit say “Stephanie. Repent and move on.

But repent. Not just “ask for forgiveness.” Repent; the whole turning away from sin and walking the other way.

There are nights when I lay in bed and I cry and thank God for protecting me from the certain sins that really wage war on my heart. I am so grateful to have survived a day without any battles.

and then other nights.

Before the throne of God above // stephanieorefice.net

Other nights I lay in bed and cry and apologize for all of my careless words and my bitter heart. I hang the head of my heart in shame that my actions often terribly misrepresent how I feel about the Lord in my heart.

But Jesus stood in the gap. For me. For my sins.

He took the receipt straight up to the counter and he paid for the meal he never tasted. It’s covered. Taken care of. Put the wallet away, because your money is no good here.

Pastor Matt once said that God is just as if he has no mercy and he is merciful as if he has no justice because you cannot have one without the other. It took me a very long time to understand that, but once I did… it changed so much.

and because of that, “for God the just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me,” is one of the most powerful phrases I have in my arsenal to combat the lies of Satan, the enemy, who loves to kick me when I am down.

BUT THE CROSS.

MY sinless Savior.

MY pardon.

Do not let your burdened, exhausted, weary heart forget the redemptive power of Christ’s life sacrificed on the cross. Soak up that liberation, and live like you have been saved. You’ll struggle, you’ll fall, you’ll be disappointed in yourself, you may even disappoint others.. but don’t EVER forget that you. are. free.

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23 Comments

  1. Bailey
    September 28, 2015 / 8:55 am

    This is such a beautiful post!

    • September 30, 2015 / 9:05 am

      thanks so much bailey <3

  2. September 28, 2015 / 12:46 pm

    as someone who has been eat up often with guilt, something that helps me is this: someone once said (or i read somewhere) “conviction from Satan leads to guilt, but conviction of the Lord leads to repentance” and that’s always stuck with me. because guilt NEVER comes from the Lord! His aim is to redirect my heart to move towards Him, not to keep me wallowing in my guilt!

    • October 1, 2015 / 6:42 pm

      thanks so much for stopping by, tayler! and that mercyme song is SO GOOD. i have a little playlist of a few of their songs that i use to keep my heart light. <3

  3. September 28, 2015 / 4:10 pm

    wow and yes. those “sorry i’m still saying sorry” prayers, i know those. i haven’t listened to that before the throne song recently, but i’m going to go back and listen to it again. also, i don’t remember the last time i cried during worship. so clearly your heart is still very sensitive to Jesus, since being faced with sin in light of the cross still moves you to tears!

    • October 1, 2015 / 6:42 pm

      truth: i had to pray one of those prayers THE DAY THIS POSTED. ugh. sometimes i want to stand on a rooftop and yell “MY HEART IS FULL OF SIN!!!!!!!” just to get it off my chest, you know? man. and idk, i’ve been real sensitive to worship music lately haha

  4. September 29, 2015 / 7:32 am

    This post is filled with such rich truth. I completely identify with the “cycle of sin,” asking for forgiveness for the same things over and over again, then feeling guilty because, “shouldn’t I be over this by now?” – “BUT THE CROSS” – Praise the Lord that He made a way for us to be made right with Him through the death of His Son Jesus Christ. Our sinful souls are counted free. Thanks for sharing your heart with us. – Jenny

    • October 1, 2015 / 6:44 pm

      JENNY! thank you for stopping by, commenting AND sharing. i appreciate that so much.

      and yes: shouldn’t i be over this by now? some of this stuff i’ve dealt with SINCE I WAS LIKE 13!! WHAT THE HECK!!!

      Praise be to God for his grace. <3

  5. Melanie Redd
    September 30, 2015 / 3:09 am

    Hey Stephanie,

    I stopped by from Waiting on Wed. today, and I’m glad to find your site.

    What a great word about grace!

    Love your honesty and really appreciate your message. Your youth are blessed to have you!

    Hope you have a great day today~
    Melanie

    • October 1, 2015 / 6:47 pm

      hey melanie! i’m so glad you stopped by and commented. thank you SO MUCH for your encouragement, as well!! <3

  6. September 30, 2015 / 4:23 am

    “BUT THE CROSS. MY sinless Savior. MY pardon.” So beautiful and powerful. I stopped by from Waiting on Wednesday after I was drawn in by your post title. I love the song I’m associating it with–“Before the Throne of God Above.” Thanks to you–and I mean that in the best possible way–I’ve got that running through my head now! 🙂

    • October 1, 2015 / 6:48 pm

      Elizabeth! Thank you SO VERY MUCH for stopping by and commenting. That song is SO WONDERFUL and SO POWERFUL! Full of encouragement, truth and freedom. I hope you have it running through your head for a very long time!

  7. September 30, 2015 / 10:52 am

    Stephanie, I’m next to you at Word filled Wed. My post this week is on the battle in our minds and how to identity the source of our thoughts. Not all thoughts are generated from us. The world, the flesh and the devil guilt and shame us. When the Holy Spirit points out our sin He points to the cross. It is paid for! Leave and sin no more!

    • October 1, 2015 / 6:49 pm

      AMEN AND AMEN! Yes, Debbie!!! so much truth in what you wrote… that’s why i LOVE those words “when SATAN tempts us to despair…” it’s the enemy sneaking in!!! thank you for your encouragement! <3

  8. Lisa Morris
    October 2, 2015 / 7:37 pm

    Beautiful post Stephanie! Our struggles are real, thank you for being transparent! Visiting from Faith and Fellowship linkup!

    • October 3, 2015 / 2:07 am

      Thank you SO MUCH, Lisa!! safety in numbers <3

  9. October 3, 2015 / 11:48 am

    I love, love, love this post because it’s true: why are we making ourselves suffer when God already gave us a way to alleviate the pains and stress we have? This post would be a great one for the link up this month (it ends on the 7th).

  10. Constance Ann Morrison
    October 3, 2015 / 9:06 pm

    Stephanie, I thought of this section from Romans 7:24, 25 MSG when I read your post.

    Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?
    The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set
    things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God
    with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do
    something totally different.

    You have such a tender heart and seem so quick to see your own sin. I pray that you continue to find comfort in Jesus’ open arms and not give in to despair. Thanks for sharing your journey and the wisdom you’ve found (repent and move on).

    your neighbor at Testimony Tuesday

  11. October 4, 2015 / 4:54 am

    On His hands.
    On His heart.
    I love this Truth.

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