And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
In a dream I met a woman who bore on her back a burden of shame and defeat. She wanted to know the way to salvation. I told her what I know:
Jesus is right here. He’s within you, bold.
The woman asked me a thousand questions and wondered how I could answer even one.
To live a righteous life, I told her, to be redeemed, to have any semblance of Jesus—the holy and anointed one—we have to believe his words.
His words call forth belief; He searches us for our faith, and by that faith, our hope is measured.
For too many of us, our righteousness is reflected in our behavior, our abstinence, our performance, our good intention, the weight of our burdens. In this, however, faith no longer rests in the finished work of Jesus—his death, resurrection, and ascension—but in how we can muster up the willpower and self-control to present our best selves to a watching world.
The Lord is not glorified in our intentions, but in our belief.
The woman sat down and asked if this was the Good News.
The true Gospel—the only Good News—is the one in which, through our valiance and our shame, through our charity and our bloodletting, through our blessing and our cursing, we look upon Him who is the Righteousness of God, and we worship.
There is none other but Jesus.
May the conversations quiet, may the doctrines cease, may the chatter of the religious be silenced by the assertion of a psalmist:
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
Do not be troubled about what you have done, little lamb; do not fret or fear in your anger, your confusion, your fiery midday elocutions that you will immediately regret. Remember Jesus, dear saint, remember that He empowers you to do what you cannot.
Right thinking, right believing, results in right living. Right living has never summoned a person to her knees. Right living has merely strengthened the war-cry of the religious. But right thinking ushers believers to the altar. We who believe genuflect, arms lifted toward heaven, and cry out in song, in a language we do not know, in gasps of astonishment: it is only the Lord who saves.
Gentle Pilgrim, be on your way, and don’t take with you the shame of your past, the fear of your future, but look within to the One whose face is like lightning; it will shine through yours and bring you to the end.
Your burden is released.
I’m linking up with my girl Tamára for her “Covered” writing prompt, in which we take a piece of art and make it our own. Special thanks to John Bunyan.