If someone asked me, how long have you been saved, my answer would be yesterday. Each day in the life of devotion brings me to a greater understanding of Jesus and the work He has done on my behalf. What I thought was salvation 12 years ago when I gave my life to the Lord pales in comparison to what I’m experiencing today. I believe that is the way it should be. Continually growing in Christ, renewing our minds, and being transformed by every revelation we receive.
I come with only encouragement today. Mostly, because of the thousands of failed attempts, I have personally experienced in trying to be a man fully surrendered to God. I had broken more fasts than I completed, fell asleep when I said I would pray all night, and even hit the snooze button on many of morning devotions. I’d love to say that I could bring you some formulas or strategy of how to win in secret, but unfortunately, it was the formulas that caused me to fail.
My story was that of a preacher, busy in the machine we called “ministry.” From one platform to the next, one service to the other, in a perpetual forward motion in the name of advancing the Kingdom. I failed in intimacy for ten years because Jesus was my means to ministry. I talked to Yahweh because I needed Yahweh to speak through me. I went to the secret place for power, for the anointing, so that people’s lives would be transformed. Sounds like a noble cause…until I read Matthew 7:22-23. I was headed for the path of doing the works of the Kingdom but not knowing the King.
When I answered the call of the wilderness, it was because I was willing to admit I did the one thing I said I would never do. Trade Jesus for the ministry. But what I was not ready for was what I would see in the mirror once I slowed down long enough to take a look. What people said to me in public was not what I saw in secret. The celebrated young preacher was just that…a young preacher. Void of identity, insecure in every area, with no true foundation in the gospel.
I failed in devotion because my foundation was not secure. My foundation was the ministry. I didn’t know how He honestly felt about me. I didn’t know what was truly accomplished on my behalf. My devotion was based on my performance and the finished work was a false grace teaching to my legalistic mind. I was trapped like many of you in ministry who will read this. I learned a message to preach to crowds, not a lifestyle to live with Him.
Plain and simple. Devotion empowered my ministry, that was the lens I had. But when I took the leap of faith to walk into the wilderness of His jealousy the mask of ministry performance ripped from my face. I was naked and exposed waiting for the lightning bolts to strike the imposter I had become. I was a hypocrite, unsure of my salvation, waiting for God to throw me away. I was waiting for my legalistic beliefs to be true…He was disappointed, ashamed, and wanted nothing to do with me.
When I let go of all I knew, I had nothing to bring before God except for me. What would I talk to Him about now? I had no trophies to present Him, no accolades of ministry performance, and no one telling me how great my message was. I had no confidence because I could no longer hide behind my performance. This was the most challenging part of my process. However, it was precisely the plan Yahweh had in mind.
The truth is that I viewed what I did for Jesus as my salvation. Now without anything to do, I knew I was not enough. With zero confidence and my pride broken I knew I couldn’t approach God with my history, I needed a revelation of Him. I opened the gospels as if it was my first time. I read with the intent to discover Jesus. After three months of pouring over the gospels, I had my born again, again experience. Jesus walked into my little office area, and I experienced supernatural repentance. I was no longer praying from my head; this was coming from my spirit. I was repenting for things that I didn’t even know was in my heart. I felt clean, innocent, and like a child.
The Gospel came alive to me at that very moment, and my devotional lens would never be the same. I didn’t come before God with my righteousness. He loved me because of Jesus. I didn’t have to go before Yahweh with my works, but I stood on the faithfulness of Jesus! He died not just for me, but as me. Now I could approach the Father not as me, but as the Son. With confidence restored my devotional life would never be the same. How could this be?
THE BLOOD OF JESUS
It was my sin, my shortcomings when I missed the mark that kept me approaching the throne of God. But now Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” By faith, I’m forgiven past, present, and future. When I fail, I confess it, hit the delete button, and move closer to the One who can keep me.
On those days when I don’t feel the close, I have a promise from Ephesians 2:23 that says, “But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Proximity has been achieved by the blood. This is a reality that we must anchor our faith when our emotions try to shake us.
There are 30 different references in the New Testament concerning the blood of Jesus on our behalf. Here are just a few examples:
- My debt is paid once and for all (Hebrews 9:28)
- I am justified (Romans 5:9)
- I am spared from God’s wrath (Romans 5:9)
- I am cleansed (1 John 1:7)
- I have the power to overcome the accuser (Revelation 12:11)
- I am no longer under the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13)
But the verse that has become my foundation for approaching the throne. It is found in Hebrews 10:19-22 “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
The blood of Jesus is my escort into the Presence of God. His blood gives me the confidence to enter the Most Holy place with boldness. Bold because I come through the blood of God’s dear Son. This is a new and living way that gives us the ability to draw near with a sincere heart with full assurance of faith. I no longer have to consider my sin. I have been washed and cleansed, and I can draw near!
I pray that each one of you will inherit the revelation of the gospel! It is the only foundation that can propel you authentically and confidently into the very throne room of God! May you never again look at your righteousness, performance, or behavior. The reason you are to pray in His name is that before the throne you come in His name! Today thank Jesus for His blood and the confidence it gives you each day as you draw close in the life of devotion.