By Daphne Delay
"Lord, thank you for saving me from the grasp of hell... and the scars of hell."
Even as I spoke it, I was startled by my own words. But it was so true ... not only have we been saved from the very grasp of hell, but if we'll allow God to fully transform us, the scars of "hell on earth" fade from view, and except for a faint memory, become almost non-existent.
Before Christ, I had insecurity issues. Any morals or parental guidance I had were over-ridden by peer pressure and a desire to be accepted. Little did I know this was a snare of the enemy for greater torment because whatever sin I committed in weakness was then a perpetual source of agony as he used it against me as a mental stronghold of shame.
At the age of 21, I gave my life to Jesus. My heart became His home - but what a home it was! Full of guilt, condemnation, and self-doubt, my heart was a messy place. However, in one confession of faith, Jesus made a clean sweep of it; but my mind was filled with torturous memories of past mistakes (not counting the ones I continued to make as a babe in Christ).
But Jesus never gave up on me. The Bible says He loved me and gave Himself for me
"...that He might make [me] holy, cleansing [me] by the washing with water through the Word" (Ephesians 5:25-26).
My heart was His home, but it was His Word that cleansed me, washing and scrubbing on the interior of my mind until all memory of my previous ties to hell were erased - except for the necessary faint memory by which I recalled His grace and mercy towards me.
When I meditate on God's goodness, I can't help but think of the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus. They cried out in anguish begging for deliverance from their "hell on earth." With great compassion, Jesus acknowledged them and said,
"Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed (Luke 17:11-14).
The leper's oozing and painful sores dried up at His Word as they obeyed His instruction. They must have felt it instantaneously as I did when I gave my heart to Jesus. And without question the priests would be able to see they were healed - no longer the same. But the scars of their former condition would remain on their riddled bodies. Yet in many ways, their scars would always be a testimony of God's love and mercy.
But one leper separated himself from the others when he saw he was healed.
"He turned and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks" (Luke 17:15-16).
It's one thing to have outer pain, but it's often the pain inside that causes the most misery. I can't say for sure, but it seems to me this man turned to thank Jesus for reasons greater than outer scars. And in another amazing act of mercy, Jesus said to him,
"Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you whole" (Luke 17:19).
This man's scars were erased.
With each revelation of Jesus, my scars were removed too. If I were to tell stories of my former existence, people who know me now would have a hard time believing that's who I once was. When Jesus changes a person, He makes them "a new creation, old things having passed away, all things having become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I still wrestle with the flesh sometimes, but God's Word provides guidance for our moments of weakness; and more than that, His faithfulness remains, even when we are found faithless (2 Timothy 2:13).
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and CLEANSE us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
The scars of sin are erased by Jesus when we humble ourselves, admit our mistakes, and trust in Him for forgiveness. And if that's not amazing enough, when we yield completely to Him and learn His ways, He says, "Arise and go show yourself..." Jesus won't let us stay under a cloak of guilt and condemnation.
"Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed" (John 8:36).
Scars can be used as a testimony, but it's the testimony of no visible scars (inside or out) that brings God the greatest glory. May He be glorified in us.
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Daphne Delay is the founder of Mirror Ministries in Seminole, Texas. She is the author of Facing the Mirror: Finding a Self to Live With. Daphne has written over 200 articles for subscribers to Mirror Ministries and other publications, and she blogs nuggets of spiritual growth encouragement every week. Daphne is the wife of a senior pastor and the mother of three. www.mirrorministries.org
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