You know that battle you’re in? The one where you need a rebel heart? Sometimes it gets ugly and you take a cheap shot and find that you’re bleeding through your tears. You search for the enemy and his location. Only you don’t see an enemy, you see yourself.
You see yourself wielding a weapon that kills your spirit and cuts out the good. Sometimes the good shines too much of a spotlight on your bad. The enemy of your soul tries to tell you it’s better to be bad than a mix of good and bad and you believe it. So you take your weapon and wound yourself. But not only have you cut the good out, but you’ve re-wounded the bad and your heart continues to bleed out. And your mind tells you that you’re worth nothing to nobody.
These types of heart wounds take place when we forget that we live a both/and kind of life.
We are the murderer and the acquitted.
The Guilty and Innocent
Without the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross and the unfathomable grace God give us, we are nothing more than destructive, sinful people. Our crimes, so to speak, are not limited to only hurting ourselves, but they spread out to those around us. There are times when the wounds in our hearts hurt us so bad that we find psuedo-relief when we hurt someone else.
The Refuge Series in my attempt to remind us that there is a place for our murderous and wounded hearts. “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer.” 1 John 3:15
We don’t have to actually commit murder to murder. Hate in our hearts is murder. Without Christ our hearts stay wounded and broken. We are a mess. A mess that seems impossible to fix.
In the Old Testament, God created cities of refuge for all people who committed a crime of passion. This humanitarian option took vengeance out of the hands of the people. The elders determined innocent or guilty.
The catch? The person that found refuge couldn’t leave the city until the high priest died. In Old Testament times the High Priest bore the sins of the people (can you imagine that burden? It would make me cranky, crabby, and law-making). so this refuge actually became like house arrest. If the person left the city of refuge, he was fair game for his enemies, but safe if he stayed.
So how does this apply to us? I’m not a murderer you might say. And I would agree. But how many times have you used your words to cut off the life God wants to grow in you? How many times have I done it? Too many to count. How many times have we followed God until we grew uncomfortable, and then quit the growing process? This is like cutting off or murdering the life God grows in you.
Our City of Refuge
God is our city of refuge. But he’s also our High Priest. And Jesus has already paid the penalty for our sins. So it’s a both/and kind of life.
We run our guilty hide straight into God’s refuge. He protects us from our enemies, which is often ourselves. And Jesus has already fulfilled the payment for forgiveness of sins. We confess. We get a fresh slate. Wiped clean. Brand new. When we leave the city of refuge, our enemies can’t touch us. Because we’re covered in Jesus’ righteousness.
This is the kind of refuge I need. I need it when my life blows shrapnel into my heart. I need it when the words I speak to myself destroy the good thing God is doing in me. Do you?
Do you need to run to God’s refuge today? Not because of some outward force of enemy, but because you keep sabotaging your Christian walk? Do you feel like you’ve messed up too much and God must be sick of you?
He’s not. He’s waiting with arms open wide to offer you forgiveness and grace and the strength to grow.
Run to Him. He is your city of refuge.