Our Nature in Christ: Healed

“But he [Jesus] was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his stripes we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:5, New International Version)

(For starters, let me begin by saying that this first paragraph is a little [very] graphic and made me squirm)

“These ‘stripes’ (or wounds) were administered by whipping the bare backs of prisoners whose hands and feet were bound, rendering them helpless. The phrase ‘by His stripes we are healed’ refers to the punishment Jesus Christ suffered—floggings and beatings with fists. Whips made of braided leather with pottery shards and sharp stones affixed to the ends tore the flesh open with each whip. When we picture this terrible, inhumane form of physical punishment we recoil in horror. Yet the physical pain and agony were not all Jesus suffered. He also had to undergo the mental anguish brought on by the wrath of His Father, who punished Him for the sinfulness of mankind—sin carried out in spite of God’s repeated warnings, sin that Jesus willingly took upon Himself.” (GotQuestions.com)

Can I be honest? I am a very visual person so picturing Jesus in these beatings definitely made me uneasy. However, it also made me think of His love for me. I love the author’s point that Jesus had to “undergo the mental anguish brought on by the wrath of His Father.” The first time that I read that, I literally had no idea what that meant.  I was praying and trying to figure out how God measured sin in physicality? Then, the Holy Spirit revealed that He took on the fullness of shame, guilt, and condemnation.

Let’s be real for a second here. The shame, guilt, and condemnation from disobeying God for myself can be bad, and has even proven to be crippling from time to time in my life. In the past, I’ve had panic attacks from being so overwhelmed. I cannot even BEGIN to imagine what it is like to take on the shame, guilt, and condemnation of EVERY, SINGLE person in the name of love.

Just take a moment to take that in.

______________

“Some have taken this [verse] to mean that every believer has the right – the promise – to perfect health right now, and if there is any lack of health, it is simply because this promise has not been claimed in faith. In this thinking, great stress is laid upon the past tense of this phrase – by His stripes we are healed. We can say that God’s promise is perfect, total, complete healing, but we must also say that is is not promised to every believer right now, just as the totality of salvation isn’t promised right now. The Bible says that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8), we are being saved (1 Corinthians 1:18), and we will be saved (1 Corinthians 3:15). We have been healed, we are being healed, and we will one day be healed. God’s ultimate healing is called ‘resurrection,’ and it is a glorious promise to every believer. Every ‘patch-up’ healing in this present age simply anticipates the ultimate healing that will come.

What Christians must not do is foolishly ‘claim’ to be healed, despite ‘mere symptoms’ that say otherwise, and believe they are standing on the promise of Isaiah 53:5. What Christians must do is pray boldly and trust God’s goodness and mercy in granting gifts of healing now, even before the ultimate healing of resurrection” (Guzik).

I LOVE this latter section!!! Haha! I have struggled with everything that the last two paragraphs refer to. Today, I even asked Holy Spirit, “Uhhh, are we sure that Christians can’t claim healing despite symptoms? I think it’s faith!” But I love the rest of this article and this quote from Charles Spurgeon, “‘With his stripes we are healed.’ Will you notice that fact? The healing of a sinner does not lie in himself, nor in what he is, nor in what he feels, nor in what he does, nor in what he vows, nor in what he promises. It is not in himself at all; but there, at Gabbatha, where the pavement is stained with the blood of the Son of God, and there, at Golgotha, where the place of a skull beholds the agonies of Christ. It is in his stripes that the healing lies. I beseech thee, do not scourge thyself: ‘With his stripes we are healed’ (Spurgeon).”

I love the humility of this.

Resources
https://www.gotquestions.org/by-His-stripes-healed.html & https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/archives/guzik_david/StudyGuide_Isa/Isa_53.cfm

Our Nature in Christ Series

So, until this year, battling for my identity in Christ was really hard for me. A few years ago, a leader from a small group gave me a list of 90 items that refer to our nature in Christ. I never looked at it too much, but honestly, I’ve needed it. I tend to get caught up in my feelings, and while I read my Bible a lot, I don’t think I always take time to really digest the Word in relations to my identity.

So, I decided that I think that I want to deep dive into that list. Instead of simply saying each of these things out loud, I’m going to unpack them, and I want them to come alive as the Word promises, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires,” (Hebrew 4:12, New Living Translation).

So, join me! I’m sure most of it will be notes that I find from online resources, but it’ll still be awesome, and hopefully it’ll help you too!

Blogging Thus Far (Advice for the Weary Blogger)

It’s easy to start playing the comparison game without realizing it. While social media platforms can be positive, uplifting resources, they can also break down self-esteem and hinder growth. It usually starts the same: scrolling through different apps to catch up on the lives of friends, acquaintances, and role models. One thing leads to another, and all of a sudden you’re looking at so-and-so’s recent tropical vacation and feeling down and out about your own life. It’s a slippery slope that can bring out negativity and hatred. I think Joy Sussman puts it best: ‘The blogosphere is a big community — there’s plenty of room to support each other.”

-Danielle Williams

Assistant Senior Managing Editor

I picked up an issue of “Artful Blogging” this past weekend, and I have not put it down! (Seriously, you will not regret buying it!) I think the editor puts it perfectly: Whether we have a desire to blog, or sing, or produce, or whatever, there is always that pressure to outperform the “competition.” We have all fallen captive to the lies of “But, look at that blog! I don’t know if I could ever get to that level. It’s probably easiest to just keep dreaming about what I want to do.” My favorite thing about this magazine issue is that so many of the bloggers talk about having to deal with that pressure of overcoming the “Competition” mindset. They talk about getting to their “sacred places” of learning to execute their vision regardless of what it looked like to the world, a place where their blogs felt like home to them. A place where (as one of the featured bloggers expressed) “Your own corner of the internet is your own.”

Over this past week, this issue has inspired me to really do some self-evaluation in making sure that my blog is reflecting the real me, and not who I think will sell. Now, I am definitely not a pro at blogging, but there are some things that I’ve learned during this process of blogging that I think are cool to share whether you’re blogging for the first time or needing to go back to the drawing board:

1. Before you even pick the platform, decide what you want your blog to represent. Whether it be all about you, certain aspects of your life, your walk with God, your career, or your hobbies. Whatever it is, let it be consistent, and something that you’d be passionate about posting about for a period of time.

2. Stick to being you. What makes you you? What is your thing? Go with that! YOUR thing! Your blog doesn’t have to be super over the top because another blogger’s is. I find that some blogs are pretty, but I’m so distracted by the pretty that I never read any of the content (That is just me, though! If you like glitter and frill, GO FOR IT! BE YOU!) You don’t have to impress. You just have to be you. People can tell when you’re genuine, and they’re drawn to it. God has made each of us uniquely different. So, stick to what you know. You are enough.

3. Pick a platform. I’ve found that some platforms are not free, but the freedom to express yourself is awesome (i.e. Squarespace). Some are free but require some work if you do like the girly, frilly things. However, If you’re willing to put in the work and do your homework, you can use websites like WordPress or Blogger and have an amazing blog without it costing so much.

4. Be okay with NOT being perfect! If you wait until you get it together, you’ll never start. So many blogs that I’ve read say that bloggers got their start by just doing it. They made many mistakes. The beginning content was horrible but a year later, it’s so much better than they’d ever imagined. It was through the act of beginning that they got to where they are now.

5. Don’t be afraid to grab inspiration from other people. Obviously, don’t copy, but you can use small pieces from other blogs to test what you do and don’t like. There’s no end to what your piece of the internet could look like. I love that we’re not all the same, nor do we all have the same interests, but we can draw people into our interests without them having to change who they are.  Personally, I’m not a fan of sweets, but recently I found a food blogger that I LOVE. Yes, her food looks great and her blog is cool, but I’m drawn to grab inspiration because I can tell that she genuinely loves her corner and that it expresses her.

6. Pray! Lol! I have to ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom all of the time on what to post. “Is this a good idea? Is that fully developed as a lesson in me before I post about it? What are my motives in saying that? Does that look good? What about this?”

7. Don’t forget to express yourself! That’s the ultimate goal, right? How do you see your world? Use photography. Use paint. Use charcoal. Use your words. Use dance! Use them all! Just don’t forget the most important part of your corner is that it’s YOUR. CORNER. We know our worlds. Show us the world through your eyes.

*Bonus*

Maybe take some time away from social media for a few weeks. It’s hard to operate in your lane when you’re constantly comparing it to another’s. It’s okay to get away and to quiet your life for a little while to gain fresh vision and a new perspective. Some time away never hurt anyone!