Leave the Grave Behind You
Recently, I read the book Unashamed by Christine Caine. In the book, she talks about the rubber band effect of shame. The enemy of our souls will use anything to try to lead us back into captivity. There are times that he will attempt to draw us into old patterns of thinking or behavior. He will try to lead us back to the very things that God has already given us victory over. Once we entertain his schemes, he will attempt to use shackles of shame to keep us on lock down.
For me, one of the main strategies that the enemy attempts to use against me is to alter my perception of myself. He will select scenes from my past to trigger old emotions. He will magnify every shortcoming and flaw. He will cause me to replay in my mind every way in which I missed the mark. If I jump on his train of thought, sooner or later I will discount myself and disqualify myself from the very good and precious promises of God for me. But as Christine Caine points out, I get to choose which train of thought I’m going to ride on.
I remember a day when I was in the shower where all of my deep thinking and reflection takes place. I started thinking about all my past mishaps and mistakes. As I continued to think on that, I felt a deep sense of disapproval in who I am. I was looking at myself through the lens of my failures and I didn’t like the girl I was seeing. I wrestled with the thoughts and started repeating to myself, “That is not who you are!” Suddenly, in my spirit, I heard the words, “Lazarus, COME OUT!” It wasn’t an audible voice, but rather came like an unexpected (yet welcome) intrusion to disrupt my train of thought. I recognized it as the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Lazarus, COME OUT.
So much truth was packed into those three small words. In John chapter 11, we find the story in which Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. It dawned on me that in the moment Jesus called Lazarus’ name, he became alive again, but Lazarus had to make the move to physically come out of the tomb he was in. The grave clothes binding him had to come off.
Jesus, by His death on the cross, has awakened our once deadened souls to life once more. He has handed us the key to victory over bondage and freedom from anything that once shackled us. He has made every provision and the very Spirit that resurrected Jesus from His own tomb resides in the core of our being. Yet, like it was with Lazarus, the choice remains with us to leave the tomb behind.
From time to time, we can be guilty of visiting our tombs. When we meditate on the past, when we rehearse our failures, when we focus on our shortcomings, we go back to the tomb. We are not dead. The life of God pulses through our veins. Our spirits have been made alive with Christ. But if we so choose to sit down in a dusty tomb and visit for a while, well…I don’t recommend it. It’s up to us to stand up with our own two legs, walk away from the tomb and leave it behind us. It’s up to us to choose a different train of thought and to agree with every life affirming promise that God describes in His word. It’s up to us to choose to see ourselves through the lens of Christ’s blood, rather than the lens of our brokenness.
It’s time to abandon the grave clothes. Depression, doubt, fear, insecurity, sin, it all has to go. To all the things that constrict us and bind us and keep us from moving ahead, it’s time to cut loose and be free! As we head into 2019, let’s choose to live fully alive, fully free and fully embracing all thing things that Christ has already done for us.
Come on out of the tomb. A bright world awaits.