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Such Confidence as This

Most of my Christian life has been on a pendulum of swinging feelings: I feel close to God right now. I feel far away from God right now. I feel passionate about my faith. I feel like I’m totally ignoring my faith. I feel myself right in the center of God’s will. I feel shut out, in a sound proof room from God’s will. I feel alive. I feel numb.

Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor. 3:4-6

In the times of numb, shut out, distant feelings that sense of separation condemns me. I must have gotten there by my sin so I must climb back with renewed righteousness.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:28-39

in all things: this includes my proper and poor responses to life, my activity and my passivity, my passionate worship and my numb wanderings, my violence towards others and my injuries from others…All of these things are working together as the exact combination of ingredients my heart needs to believe in the person and work of Jesus as I have not yet. Not one is outside of His will, as if a parallel universe that He cannot control exists.

If God is for us, who can be against us?: Not even my own stubborn, strong-willed, rebellious heart can out power God, withstand His activity or thwart His will of redemption. If He is for the completion of the work He began, there is no version of kryptonite to weaken Him or oppose Him.

It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns?: His justification of me is not based upon my righteousness (in attitude, effort, passion, word or deed) but on the perfect righteousness of Jesus (credited to me in all things). Does my feeling of apathy or numbness nullify the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus?

through Him who loved us: I am more than a conqueror not because I got knocked down but got back up again, not because I chose to look on the sunny side when all I saw was clouds, not because I in any way picked myself up with my own spiritual bootstraps…but because the One who loves me conquered death, conquered sin and has conquered me.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Eph. 3:16-21

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