I’m a dirtbag. Yes, it’s true. Thankfully, Jesus offered himself up so that my dirtbag status could be revoked. Unfortunately, I keep working really hard to re-attain the official title of “DIRTBAG.”
I’ve always believed that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins but I don’t suppose I ever really understood what that meant. I just knew it was true. I realized this week that if you asked me “How exactly did Jesus’ dying on the cross actually save us from our sins?” I'd really have to think about it. Ultimately I'd probably have to answer that question with a very decisive, discerning “Because my Father said so!”
Guess what? I recently learned the answer. What’s funny is I didn't even realize I didn't know the answer until I learned what it was. Personally I don't think there is anything wrong with just believing something without knowing the details, as long as we are Spirit-guided. In fact, for me, Bible study requires and incredible amount of blind faith since I recognize I am simply unable to comprehend the meaning of most scripture with my feeble human brain, and that is okay!
I was so excited when this particular blind faith “gap” was filled in with perfect understanding. So excited I just had to share it!!!!
Back in Jesus' time, crucifixion was only one of many ways in which criminals were executed. Each crime had its own type of punishment. For example, in Jewish law if a person committed blasphemy against God, they were to be stoned. The actual offense Jesus was “found guilty” of was blasphemy. According to the Jewish rules of execution, Jesus should have been stoned to death. So what happened? Well, the Romans decided to take it up a notch for Jesus, so they up’d the charges to make a point.
Crucifixion was seen as the most humiliating way for a criminal to die. It was an extremely public, torturous, drawn out process but that wasn't why it was considered the worst way to go. It was the worst way to go because of what it meant... if you were crucified it meant that you were cursed by God. Did you just read that? Cursed by God! Your sins were unforgivable and you had no hope for salvation. God had thrown you away like trash, you were an embarrassment to His kingdom and He had no use for you. You were burnt toast, and not even the kind you can scrape with a knife and still eat... you were the kind that stunk up the whole house and went straight to the Glad bag under the sink.
Wow... the King of Kings, the Son of Man, the Great I Am, the Way, the Truth, the Light, Jesus Christ – Son of the Father was sentenced to death, physical and spiritual... cursed by God, no hope for salvation, toast in the trash can when in reality, He was perfection.
I look at myself in the mirror after reviewing the 10 commandments and I say “oh crap!” Jesus told us the two most important commandments are “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love they neighbor as thyself” (Matt 22:36-40). The night before his crucifixion, Jesus made a slight change to that second one... he instructed us to love each other the way He loves us... with perfect love. (John 13: 34) I admit it, I am a failure at this (and so many other things). I require much forgiveness every single day. If there is anyone who deserves to be cursed by God... it is me... tacked up on a cross for all the world to see and spit on.
I am left in awe when the puzzle pieces come together and I see the strangely beautiful picture that shows me I WILL NEVER BE CURSED BY GOD…even though I deserve it more than I can ever fathom. This is all because Jesus took that curse on my behalf. It is only because of His perfect love and obedience that I have the chance to start over at anytime, asking God for a clean heart and a renewed Spirit.
It is so disappointing to me when I think about how selfish I am. I am faced with choices to do what I want to do or do what I know is right by God. I have gotten better at making these decisions but boy do I still fight it and still screw up. Even as I type this I am thinking about something that I really want – justifying why it would be okay for me to continue wanting it when I know the truth is... God is shaking His head and hoping I make the right decision. I have to be honest and say one of the thoughts that passed through my mind was that I could go ahead and do what I wanted because I knew God would forgive me. Wow, if that isn’t “dirtbagging”... I can't believe I even thought that (well, I can believe it because I’m wearing my “dirtbag” badge right now.)
Right now, I feel so human…so weak. The prayer I pray is this... “God, give me the strength to do what is right. Give me the strength to trade my dreams for Yours. Amen”
Again I am in awe that Jesus took that curse for me; a thankless, selfish dirtbag who is sitting here hemming and hawing over something so ridiculous that it amazes me I'd even put my salvation on the line for a second over it. Thank you Jesus for having the strength, conviction, and perfect selfless love to trade Your dreams for God's… without pause. It is because of You, I am loved and forgiven, regardless of the fact that I am a dirtbag.