Alaskan Sunset over the Pacific, on the ocean between Glacier Bay and Seward
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11b NIV
When we strolled out on the ship’s deck around 10:30 p.m., seeing the ball of orange setting into the Western horizon was a favor indeed. Most days were wrapped in clouds blowing brisk winds or pressing a chill into the summer arctic air. This day started frigid in Glacier Bay, heads covered in knit snow caps, hands warmed by mittens, bodies bundled in parkas layered over tee shirts and sweaters. By day’s end, we were stretched out on chaise lounges basking in the warmth of the sun.
The Lord had been our shield against the morning’s chill and our sun to warm the afternoon.
Yet, when I looked at this Scripture in Psalms, I bristled at the idea of “those whose walk is blameless.” My immediate reaction was to say that this Scripture could not apply to me. My walk is full of potholes and pits into which I have fallen and laid there wailing about how I had failed again. When I look at myself and my relationship with the Lord, I see so many areas where I have sinned. Where I have chosen my way over His way. Times when I have been angry. Times when I have procrastinated. Times I do not spend in prayer or reading Scripture. Times I have failed to chose a loving response to my husband or my children. And the list goes on.
Unless I can become perfect, I believe the enemy’s lie that I cannot be counted among “the blameless.” When I first became a Christian, I floated on a cloud of perfection. Everything about life seemed wonderful and it looked like I had found “my dream come true.” Until I discovered that I could and would still choose sin. I was crushed. Falling apart like the glaciers.
The tidal glacier crumbling as it advances into Glacier Bay. This movement is called “calving.”
So is there hope for “imperfect” Christians? How can I become “blameless.”
Praise God, he has provided a remedy for our failings and a promise that we are blameless and we will remain that way by the power of His Son.
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” 1John 1:8-10 NIV
So, if I try to be perfect in my own strength or pretend to others that I am perfect, I’m deceiving myself and making Christ out to be a liar. Then, I shall gladly, well maybe willingly would describe the felling better, tell others about my imperfections so that the work Christ has done in me will be glorified. It’s a similar idea to what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9.
The solution to my bristling lies in realizing that my righteousness comes from Christ’s work on the cross for me, not from my human efforts to be perfect.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.” Galatians 2:19-21 NIV
My final peace comes from a Scripture the Spirit placed on my heart years ago in my struggles:
“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy–to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”Jude 24-25 NIV (See also Colossians 1:22-23)
The clouds part, the sun shines, and the favor of the Lord sets on those He has made blameless.
Has the Lord become your sun and shield making you blameless in His sight? May you have His peace this week.
From My Heart to Yours,
Linking with Spiritual Sundays and Scripture and a Snapshot