My one defense, my righteousness. . .

I Need You via www.apaigefromourbook.com

Photo credit Phil Edon

The hymn, I Need Thee Every Hour has long been a favorite of mine. I remember sitting at our old upright piano as a child, playing it among many of my other favorite hymns and worship songs. Those times of singing such incredible, doctrinal truths proved to solidify my faith in ways I wouldn’t fully realize until I was older and in the midst of fiery trials. 

In recent months as we have been putting the kids to bed {they have a stereo in their bedroom for background music at night…. well pretty much 24/7} we have heard a newly revamped and very moving version of this sweet hymn, sung by Matt Maher and Audrey Assad. I think every time we hear it, Adam and I stop what we’re doing and just worship our Savior. Here’s why…

It’s easy to remember that we need the grace and mercy of Jesus when times are tough, but when life is going okay we tend to rely on self-sufficiency. Oh how quickly we wander from the truth that in order to walk in victory over sin, we need Jesus. We must rely on His righteousness, because we have none in-and-of ourselves. We forget that HE is our hope. Jesus dwelling in our hearts is the promise of living in utter delight for all eternity with our glorious God! Too often we let our eyes droop to present circumstances and our own feelings and emotions and we lose sight of our beautiful Savior. In contrast, the times when I am overcome with the most joy in my life are when I am looking at Jesus; when I am meditating on His character; when I am drenched in the knowledge of His unchanging goodness; when I am confident that His faithfulness is not removed by my faithlessness. 

I am an easily emotionally moved person, especially when it comes to music. I’ve come to realize that there is a difference in my heart, however, between a mere emotional response to a song {perhaps due to powerful instrumental or vocal climax} and uncontrollable joy that comes from a song permeated in Biblical truth. 

Absent From Flesh via www.apaigefromourbook.com

Photo credit Phil Edon

Haven't You Been Good via www.apaigefromourbook.com

Photo credit Marmit

Often when we are singing a hymn at church, whether old or new, I can barely get the words out for the tears streaming down my face and the lump that forms in my throat. The glorious truth of being loved {while still dead in my trespasses and sin} and plucked from the path where I was running straight to hell, humbles me to the point of weeping. Sometimes I find myself doing my best to hold it together, but why? There is no shame in crying for joy at my salvation from utter and eternal damnation. 

But  God, being rich in mercy. . .

He saved me. He took away my death sentence… that is why it is called mercy. Not because of anything I have ever done or ever could do. There is nothing that I can offer Him in return… that is why it is called grace. He credited Christ’s righteousness to me. Christ is my one defense before the wrath of a holy God.

We can run after experiences and seeking particular feelings to believe that our relationship with our Father is in good standing {And don’t get me wrong, we NEED to FEEL love for our Savior}, but our standing with God is complete. It was so the day we were justified. His faithfulness is not dependent on our faithfulness and it’s a good thing too, because we wax and wane. We are thrown about by our circumstances and the measure of our love is reliant on our feelings instead of our feelings reliant on the measure of His love. {Rom. 5:8} If we really want to be and feel in love with Jesus over and over and over again, all we really need do it LOOK at Him. We need to meditate on what He has done on our behalf at the cross {reconciliation with God}, what He is doing on our behalf at the throne of God above {intercession} and that He doesn’t. EVER. change. His Word stands true forever. When we place ourselves in proper proportion to the King of Kings, we see Him to be most incredible, most exquisite, most gracious, most merciful and most loving and we will love Him… because He first loved us. {1 John 4:11} 

May the knowledge that you have experienced the grace of God cause you to be humbled and to cling to Jesus with an indescribable joy that you have never before felt. May you find joy in needing Christ. May He truly be your one defense and righteousness.

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