I found this awesome devotional called Keep the Blood Warm. I had been asking God for something like this, something that would draw me closer to Jesus, something that would help me understand more what He did for me like never before. The devotional encourages you to journal. I thought I’d share my journal, unedited (because I don’t have time) and raw. And maybe you’d be encouraged to start your own journey too–on how to keep the blood warm, to keep Jesus near, and nearer still.
First two parts were copied from the devo. Don’t worry, the author shared this too on his Facebook page so I’m sure he’s okay with this. At least for the first few pages of his book.
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13)
“For the weight of this verse to hit your heart, you must remember the feeling of being far from God. Of being cut off from the promises, from the new covenant. Your sin and brokenness blinded you and caused you to pull away from a loving God. But now in Christ Jesus, you have been brought near by the blood of Christ. It is his blood that constitutes your nearness. Not your good behavior. Not your feelings. His blood. This is your confidence for experiencing and enjoying the nearness of God throughout your day. Keep your eyes on the cross and your heart warmed to his blood and you will abide in him.”
What first came to my mind was that I’m a Gentile. Oh how far is Israel from where I live? How far was that place where God appeared and became man’s friend. How hopeless was my lineage, my race, my geography until Jesus extended the possibility of salvation to non-Jews also.
Then I thought of the Vatican, the seat of Catholic leadership. Isn’t it interesting that it’s in Rome and not in Israel?! Isn’t it interesting that the Jews’ enemy, the Romans, had become one of the first converts to Christ? Isn’t it interesting that the first if the Pauline Epistles was addressed to the Romans?
I had watched the series The Chosen and you clearly see there the Jews’ relationship with the Romans. They were their enemy, their captors, their unwelcome masters. They brought the unjust life they desperately want to break free from! But after Jesus, Paul was called to preach the Good News to the Gentiles also. I am a Gentile. Once far off, but now included in Christ’s mission. Embraced in His family. What a shift in destiny!
In a way, I am a Roman. I was an enemy. But am now a friend.
I was far off. Too far off. Excluded. Unnoticed. Unthought of. Irrelevant. Until Jesus came.
But that was not just it. I was without hope and unloved. At least not unconditionally. My parents love me but their love always fall short. Always. In fact, some of my mom’s ways marred me deeply. Her wounded ways created a dysfunction that I need to wrestle with a lot of times. It made me hate myself, deeply hate myself. It decapitated me from loving myself unconditionally the way God does. And I felt trapped. Trapped in a cycle of self rejection. Even though I had become a Christian, the wounds and wrong thought patterns have been woven so intricately in my system. I could not untangle myself from them. I could not remove them in their clingy persistence. Like they were tattooed in my soul. BUT THEY WEREN’T. The devil just makes it feel and think and sound like they are. Jesus set me free from them.
How horrible my life was when Jesus was far off! The BLOOD did not just draw me near, but it permeated by soul and broke the chords and chains and ropes and spell of a cursed past. It did. How horrible to live far from Jesus and to not know and experience the power of His blood.
Were you once far off from Jesus? Are you far off from Him now?
Note: Just like all of us, my mom was a broken person who ended up breaking others because of that. But God is healing her and she is helping mend other people now. Although not perfectly, she still makes mistakes, but don’t we all? 🙂
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