On January 16th we were able to gather with students from two other local churches for a combined youth service at our local after school center. I was very pleased to see our students mixing so well with others from different churches and backgrounds, most who they had never met. It was a great night and will definitely be something we do again in the future.
We had a team teaching from myself and a youth leader from one of the other groups. The topic had been put on my heart in November when we began planning and it was simple. To share how the Word of God was a gift to each of us, and to share personally a scripture that we felt God had given us as a gift in our lives and walk with Christ. I chose a scripture that God dropped in my heart while I was going through a very tough and challenging time in my journey.
One of the biggest obstacles in our walk with God is that we often try to earn favor or to work for our salvation. When in reality there is nothing we can do to earn our place in the Kingdom or to gain redemption. This often leads us to places where we struggle mightily with sin and shame, because we start to compare ourselves with other Christians or try to hold ourselves to an impossible standard of perfection. This was the moment I was living through at the time God gave me this jewel to meditate on and to bring me hope.
Isaiah 61:10 (NLT)
I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!
For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit
or a bride with her jewels.
What God showed me that day was something that I had always known, but never truly understood. My salvation was a gift! It was never something I could never purchase or earn or secure myself. My position in God’s grace and mercy was given to me by Him!
Isaiah said it “He has dressed me with the clothing of salvation”, I never did anything myself except to ask for forgiveness and to confess my faith in Jesus. And BAM! God gave me new clothes.
I love the way The Message says it “explode in praise”. Having so much joy it cannot be contained. I still struggle with this, I am only human, but I can always open this gift when I need to. And so can you.