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| written by Beth Nicoletto | 3 comments

How magnificent it is that a small piece of metal can move such a large carrier. Other than the nuts and bolts of the thing, a ship’s rudder is one of the smallest pieces that make up the whole.

The strength and fortitude of a ship does not come from the engine, steam, fire, or gas that make it run. No, instead it comes from the tiny rudder in the very back – obscured from sight, but mighty.

For there is no power in just going – the power lies in which direction the going goes.

Likewise, the tongue is such a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. (James 3:5) Speech: the most common way with which we communicate both to ourselves and to others – speaking into the ears, the lives, the souls of ourselves and of others, everyday. What do we say? In which direction are we letting our tongues guide us? Who, on a boat cares whether or not it goes or stops, but rather in what direction it moves is what matters. There is no glory in running your race in the wrong direction.

It comes as no surprise that the good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45) What is it that you hide in your heart each day? Do you hide the lies the enemy so desperately wants to embed in your mind that you believe it in your heart? Or do you treasure and ponder the freeing words of the gospel of grace that promises to transform you into the likeness of Christ from the inside out?

Perhaps you need to learn to preach the gospel to yourself, everyday, using the truths in scripture to combat those lies that so often drag you down, and remember that what God says, He means. Perhaps you ought to take heed for this next year and begin playing the tapes of scripture in your mind and heart. Perhaps this year you ought to use your tongue for the good in which Christ intended, preaching to yourself the words He wrote to you, saying:

Even though you were conceived in iniquity and brought forth in sin (Psalm 51:5) God knew you from the beginning of time, He knew the very amount of hair on your head, and He knitted you together, stitch by stitch (Psalm 139:13). You were wonderfully made with intention and love, and He has called you by your very name (Isaiah 43:1).

He saw you in your struggle – your hurt, and your pain – and in the greatest act of Love the world has ever seen, He became your Savior, and is beckoning you to a life of freedom and space. He is your Rescuer and He will do what He promised if only you let Him (Psalm 18 :16-19). Through His redeeming death and resurrection, He rescued you from your former life simply because He delights in you, and wants you to live freely and abundantly (John 10:10).

And it would be enough for Him to simply rescue you from your past, your present and your future – from the wayward ways you go each day, even in the small – and provide The Way to be in intimate relationship with Him (John 3:16), but He didn’t stop there. No, that’s not how He works. Because He is an upside-down, backwards-first kind of God, and He took it a step further and said, “Even though it was your sin that put my Holy Son to death, come and join my family, receive His inheritance of eternal life, be free from your bondage of that which enslaves you and stand with Me in Glory as my own child, whom I love” (Romans 8:17). Not only has a holy God acted on your behalf and provided the ultimate Sacrifice for your inability to measure up (a sacrifice by death would only do), He adopted you in as a child of God, in whom He is pleased because of Christ in you (Eph 1:5). We are sons and daughters of the God Most High, in intimate relationship with Him, could there be anything greater?

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Indeed, because of what Christ did on the cross for you in the propitiation for the wretchedness inside you, oh yes, it is inside all of us (Romans 3:23), you have been saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and you my friend, are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). You can forget what is behind you and strive for the gift of an abundant life in Christ as He sanctifies you to become more like Him (Phil 3:13, John 10:10). That is a life worth living.

Because now it is no longer you who lives, but Christ who lives in you (Gal 2:20) and you radiate Light wherever you go (Matthew 5:14). You have the power within you to infect and fragrant those around you with something so sweet, so unbelievable, so impossible, that those who see, smell, taste receive an invitation to experience Almighty God (2 Cor 2:15, Rom 1:20), because the joy we receive from Christ is infectious.

I am confident in this, my friend, the good work that God has started in you, He will one day complete (Phil 1:6) and whatever has happened to you, or is happening now, or will happen in the future, may not be good but will be used for your good and His glory (Rom 8:28) because our God is in the business of making old things new. He paves a new way – streams in the desert – and His purpose is larger than our perspectives will ever be (Isaiah 43:17-18) and He has a plan for you to prosper and have hope (Jer 29:11). In your victories and sufferings trust that what the Lord is doing is rooting a faith deeper and more intimately connected to Him.

So as you journey on, running, walking, stumbling, or maybe even stopping, know that He’s vying for your attention – don’t take your eyes off the true Prize, my friend, for your reward is in Heaven (Heb 12:1-2). Let’s not disillusion ourselves with the place over the person – Heaven is not your greatest reward. Instead we find Hope that one Day we will be in the very presence God, our Savior and King, and Christ is our reward! May you throw off everything that hinders you and press on toward Christ, the ultimate Goal and Prize (Phil 3:14). May you continue to be strong and courageous, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut 31:6). He is with you in your victories and is with you in your suffering, you are not forgotten.

Most importantly, in the midst of your striving and achieving and failing, remember that it is because of His gracious loving-kindness that you were saved and redeemed and let me give you some Good News friend, there’s nothing you can do to make God love you any less or any more.

His love for you is not contingent upon you, but upon the holiness of His Son’s sacrifice for you. Will you rest in that today? Rest in the fact that wherever you are in this very moment, He loves you. He loves you because you’re His daughter, period. Whether you’re too skinny or too squishy, not smart enough, not tall enough, not selfless enough, not sober enough, not kind enough, too judgmental, too unmotivated or simply too busy, He loves you, friend, and has saved you a seat at His table.

Come just as you are.

And remember it’s not what you bring that’s important, but Whom – and because you are His, you are enough.

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Beth Nicoletto is passionate about living missionally and strives to shepherd and challenge others to continually grow in their relationships with the Lord. She is Co-Founder and Editor in Chief of SelfTalkTheGospel.com, a website dedicated to helping readers combat the enemy’s lies with the truth found in scripture. Buy her a cup of coffee and she'll likely sing your praises forever and ever. Follow her on Twitter and her blog.