This week we discussed Jesus healing the leper. I have heard this story so many times but this time, it sunk in! The Word is alive & active - I am experiencing it!
Four "small" verses in the 8th Chapter of Matthew:
When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” 3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
As I studied this, the Holy Spirit kept nudging me, "there is something very important about this. keep your eyes & heart wide open here. pay attention here!"
What He pointed me to first was simply the amazing COMPASSION that the Lord Jesus had to tell the leper "to go to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded" (4).
Imagine all the memories this leper had stored in his mind up until this point. Memories of walking through that town and having to shout, "unclean" so people could scatter and not come in contact with him. Many in his culture believed that leprosy was only put on people as punishment from God for sins such as pride or greed so imagine the shame & rejection he must have felt. Along with the shame & rejection, I sympathize with him as his mind & heart were probably flooded with painful memories of isolation, inferiority and uncleanliness. How gracious is our Lord Jesus to send him back through that town, now clean!? I can picture that leper walking through the town - now cleansed - no longer a leper - to go to the priest. Redemption!!!
The truth is - that leper - even though he was no cleansed - still probably had a heart & head full of leprosy. It wasn't enough to be cleansed... He had to *believe* he was no longer a leper! Jesus gave him the literal, physical healing but His lavish grace did not stop there. He spoke truth into Him, "be clean!" Believe. Live it. BE clean. Don't cling to your leprosy. Believe what just happened.
Then, the Lord helped Him *live* it out. The Lord commanded him to go through the town to redeem all those painful memories. He might not have let those memories be erased completely.. so that this leper would never lose his compassion for others who are struggling under their uncleanliness..... but He separated the leper from those memories. He gave him fresh memories - He covered over those old memories - of walking through town - now cleansed!! To go show the priests & be a testimony to them of the Lord Jesus's lavish grace.
Praise the Lord!! I hear you Jesus. Be clean! I am clean!
Believe! You will become what you believe about yourself. What do you believe about yourself? Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.
As I sat in my closet one morning after this beautiful encounter with Jesus --- after a long 2 weeks of saying goodbye to Lennox (our doggie), sick kids, sick mommy, Daddy not available until 9pm every night, fatigue, emotional & mental battles, and the average daily struggles with germs & routines & work & parenting & marriage & friendships....I was struggling. In my vulnerable moments the past 2 weeks, the enemy was pulling hard on the biggest stronghold he has had in my life - this guilt over my imperfections & mistakes. (see previous post Perfectionism ) Specifically, things I had done wrong with my first child when he was a baby and toddler, the same old thoughts that creep up every time I'm on a trip into guilt land. I was a mess. I go through this ALL the time? Continually asking myself - why am I so weak in this area, Lord? SO MANY of my blogs are about this cycle of pride/discouragement....or pride/guilt.....highs and lows. I am ready to be freed from this stronghold!!! If you are willing, please Lord, help me!!
As I cried out to Him, He brought to mind that lesson of the leper.... and I realized I had wandered away from Him because I had lost sight of focusing on how He sees me. Remember, Randi... believe. Become what you believe about yourself. Do you believe what I believe about you!? Do you see yourself as I see you!? Or are you still believing you are the leper, who you were before?
So I looked back at my list of "I am"s (Put Off, Put On) that hang in my closet and I looked for the one I thought He was speaking to me. The 3rd caught my eye - "forgiven" - which had Hebrews 9:14 listed next to it.
My heart about exploded when I read what verses the Lord had taken me to:
11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands,that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifersprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, *cleanse our consciences* from acts that lead to death,[c]so that we may serve the living God!
Yes Yes Yes!!! I just felt my David pick up that stone and slay that giant in my heart & mind!! He wants to battle for us!
His WORD is so POWER full!
You see - I can speak to myself forever, "don't feel guilty. it's okay. You confessed so He forgives you. He loves you"..... but there was no POWER in my words to myself. Those words were not powerful because His truth had not sunk into my heart yet.
but I know it now - He has forever stamped this truth on my heart! I now have, forever - these powerful WORDS to use every.single.time I feel myself struggling with guilt over things I know I have confessed & asked forgiveness for. He has given me practical help to be cleansed of this perfectionism and this cycle of guilt.
He has CLEANSED this leper not only from the penalty of sin but from this guilty, shameful conscience. I am not a leper any longer. I do not have to cling to all these painful memories I had when I was.
I do not have to punish myself any longer for any mistakes I've made - because He paid the FULL punishment.
I praise Jesus - my friend, my fighter, my giant-slayer, this healer & power-full Lord!!
Jesus paid it ALL.
- I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
- For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.
- And now complete in Him,
My robe, His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side,
I am divinely blest.
- Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.
- When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
Shall rend the vaulted skies.
- And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down,
All down at Jesus’ feet.