My experiences growing up and in the military taught me that obedience usually involved authority figures sternly demanding that I surrender my will to theirs, usually under threat or punishment. It was all too natural for name to project this paradigm onto God at first. This distorted view of God caused me to see the Gospel as a kind of "good cop, bad cop" scenario in which God, as an angry Father, would have preferred to wipe out humanity, but relented when Jesus talked Him out of it on the cross. While I was grateful that Jesus rescued me from Hell, I was also intimated to draw close to that kind of Father.
Thankfully, God blew up the "punishing" paradigm for me through a powerful revelation of the cross He gave me while I was in the discipleship school. This revelation came to me in the midst of an internal conflict that had been intensifying with each passing day. I had a growing hunger to know God, but a sense of conviction for my sin was also increasing. The more I wanted to know Him, the farther away I felt. My soul was at war. I finally decided to fast and pray that God would give me a deeper revelation of the cross. I was a young Christian, so I really had no idea what I was doing, but I was so desperate for a breakthrough that I was willing to do anything.
One day while sitting in a rather boring class on biblical finances, I suddenly had an open vision of Jesus on the cross. I was shocked. I had no idea of how horrific crucifixion actually was. Jesus was hanging there, absolutely shredded from head to foot and covered in blood. My first instinct was to look away, but I could not escape it. As I looked upon His mangled face, our eyes met... and I felt an acceptance and love so intense my mind could not logically comprehend it. His eyes were like seas of passion inviting me into deep intimacy with Him. I was completely overcome by the realization that his desire for me was the motivation for His sacrifice. He was the one warring against the sin in me, because it diluted my affection for Him and separated me from experiencing His incredible love.
Before I had that vision, I knew sin was wrong, but I had no idea how much power to had to affect my relationship with God. I realized I had been minimizing my sin comparing it to the sins of others. I had been thinking, Well, at least I've never done anything as bad as so-and-so. But in that encounter, I was completely undone by the revelation of God's judgment against sin was purely motivated by His incredible love for me. Jesus willingly bore separation from the Father and all its consequences - the physical pain, the emotional shame and the spiritual bondage - so that He could destroy my sin and the sins of the world once and for all. His love and sacrifice bore my sins away.
EXCERPT from Outrageous Courage
Order your copy today here