Who could ever learn to love a beast?
Surely, no one ever could. Even if you told me that someone could, or does, I wouldn’t believe you; not unless I saw it for myself… Not unless I saw with my own eyes and felt with my own hands a force that tears sin off of me, transforms me into a new creature, and offers me salvation and escape.
Honestly, though, what do I need saved from?
I have seen what these hands can do. My mind has revealed it to me.
If given the opportunity, I could do gracious and wonderful things, or awful and terrible things. There is nothing I cannot do; no low I cannot sink to, no high I cannot attain… But opportunity is a necessary part of the game.
What if I told you I have been given ample opportunity to sin?
You would say, “Welcome to the real world.”
But what if I told you that I have been given ample opportunity to sin, but I escaped through a window and let opportunity meet its lonely end?
Some would say, “That’s not natural; not healthy.”
Well, the nature of the world would suffer a baby to be cut in half. It would dictate that personal happiness comes before service, and that love is a fleeting pleasure. Clearly, the nature of this world cannot fathom the depth and height of love, because it is in opposition to love. The word, nature, is deceiving in itself, since God made mankind and all that is natural, but what He made has been thwarted by sin. So, I do not fight against nature, I fight against sin. It is those who worship nature more than their Creator that fight against nature.
I am forced to fight against sin and gain love or give into sin and lose love. There is no middle ground, I am always in a fight for my life, but the real question is, “What life am I fighting for?” Eternal life or living death?
For all people will walk everyone in the name of his god, but I will walk in the name of the LORD my God for ever and ever. (Micah 4:5)
I said earlier, “What do I need saved from?”
I need saved from myself; from the sin that would choke me, literally or figuratively; from the lies that tell me I am not worth it, that patience is not worth it, that love is not worth it, and that following Jesus is not worth it.
Who could ever learn to love a beast?
He turned my face to His, when I was still dirty and unclean. He said to me, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11)
I didn’t ask for that. I didn’t ask for Him to come to my rescue. I didn’t ask for Him to die for me.
I was a beast, stripped bear, and so unprepared to meet my fate; and He knew it, so He stayed. I expected to be alone, to face the punishment of my sin with no grace shown to me, with no one beside me, and no friend to stand up for me. But Jesus stood there, the I AM, God in flesh; He stepped in, was stripped bear, and was ready to meet His fate; the fate that should have been mine. He lifted me up, showed me that I do have a friend; One Who knows me, with every flaw and sin, and yet loves me enough to pay for my release… with His life.
There is no way I can convince you that Jesus loves you. You have heard John 3:16 since you were a kid, and you still have it memorized, even though you don’t believe it… All I can do is extend my heart to you and show you what Jesus does for me; how He comes to my rescue when I am stubborn in my pursuit of selfish pleasure, how He saves me from giving into the sin that would break me, and how He demonstrates His love for me, in that, while I was still a sinner, He died for me (Romans 5:8).
Just because I escaped from sin through a window in the wall does not make me unhealthy or weak, nor does it make me more righteous or strong; it makes me humble. Whether I give into sin or escape, Jesus still stands by my side, saying the same thing, offering the same release to the same undeserving beast.
He offers the same release to you; the same freedom; the same love. The love Jesus gives is a hard love that will bring you to your knees at the knowledge of who you are before Him and it will bring you to your feet and you will rise on wings like eagles at the knowledge of who you are before Him. You will find out who you are when you sit at His feet: you are ugly, unworthy, dirty, selfish, prideful, loathsome, self-destructive, unloving, unkind, impatient, broken, repentant, forgiven, renewed, redeemed, held, blessed, precious, saved, chosen, loved…
Right now, you are fighting for something, but is it worth the blood you shed? Do you fight for love or against it? Do you fight for tolerance of the fruit of death or for a desire to see Jesus reign in the hearts of His children?
I cannot tolerate sin in me, because my King said to me, “Go, and sin no more.” So, I fight against sin in me and sin in the Church. And I am sure that I can tolerate sin in others, but I am obligated to tell the lost and dying how they can be found and healed. I am called to love the unlovable, even as I love myself, and seek the best life for the unlovable, even as Christ desires the best life for me.
I am tempted, I am given opportunities to sin, and I do sin sometimes, but I am guided, rescued, and forgiven. This is the life I have in Jesus. He is the life I choose. I was a beast, but then I realized how loved I am. And the One Who loves me does not call me a beast, He calls me His beloved (Romans 9:25-26).
It is your choice, to love and follow Jesus or to hate and fight against Him; I cannot make the choice for you. But I pray you will not have to reach the lowest low before you realize that Jesus has been there the whole time; offering release, extending grace, and showing love.
Surely, you are a beast, but Jesus loves you nonetheless, and He wants to transform you into His child; no longer alone, forsaken, and desolate, but found, blessed, and whole.
And when I passed by you, and saw you polluted in your own blood, I said unto you when you were in your blood, “Live.” Yes, I said unto you when you were in your blood, “Live.”…
Then I washed you with water; yes, I thoroughly washed away your blood from you, and I anointed you with oil. I clothed you also with broidered work, badgers’ skin, and fine linen. And I covered you with silk. I decked you also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon your hands, and a chain on your neck. And I put a jewel on your forehead, and earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown upon your head. Thus were you decked with gold and silver; and your raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work. You did eat fine flour, and honey, and oil, and you were exceeding beautiful, and you did prosper into a kingdom. And your renown went forth among the unbelievers for your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor, which I had placed on you, says the Lord GOD.
But you did trust in your own beauty…
(Ezekiel 16:6, 9-15a)
So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before You. Nevertheless, I am continually with You. You have held me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside You. My flesh and my heart fails, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.
For, lo, they that are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all them that have forsaken You and sold themselves to lesser lovers. But it is good for me to draw near to God. I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all His works. (Psalm 73:22-28)
Wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)