Good Friday is the mirror held up by Jesus so that we can see ourselves in all our stark reality, and then it turns us to that cross and to his eyes, and we hear these words, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." That's us! And so we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. We see in that cross a love so amazing, so divine that it loves us even when we turn away from it, or spurn it, or crucify it. There is no faith in Jesus without understanding that on the cross, we see into the heart of God and find it filled with mercy for the sinner, whoever he or she may be.
By trying to please people and live up to their expectations, we can easily fall into a false form of spirituality. We find ourselves praying, reading Scripture, and worshipping not from the heart but from a secret motive to impress others. We become more interested in how we look to others than how we look to God. The more insecure we are, the more susceptible we become to the opinions of others. Humility frees us from this form of pride, allowing us to live to please the Lord.
People antagonistic to Christianity like to discuss the religious nut who thought he was doing God’s will by killing a family member. Indeed, there are such mentally deranged people out there, and they may be paraded on the nightly news. But let’s not let that oddity of news blind us from the fact that hundreds of thousands of people who deny God are selling drugs, working in gangs, and killing people on the streets. Very few of them are motivated by religious reasons.
You're a story in the making right now. Don't get stuck in the sentence of your life. You're a story. There's more to you than the sentence you're in right now. There are paragraphs, pages, chapters and new books.
Seasons don’t last forever. Wounds heal. Circumstances change. Wisdom overtakes foolishness. Doors that once slammed in your face open with favor. But you may not notice if you’re not paying attention. Lift your weary head and look around. Like they did for Noah, the waters of adversity are drying up, and God is placing you on dry ground. Rid yourself of that negativity and believe again!
Have I then no work to work in this great matter of my pardon? None. What work canst thou work? What work of thine can buy forgiveness or make thee fit for the Divine favour? What work has God bidden thee work in order to obtain salvation? None. His Word is very plain and easy to be understood, "To him that worketh not, but believeth in Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Rom. 4:5). There is but one work by which a man can be saved. That work is not thine, but the work of the Son of God. That work is finished.
There is a constant battle in our alliance between fear and faith. Our decision is always to either interpret our circumstances through the character of God or to interpret the character of God through our circumstances. One leads to life, one does not.