Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Lately, I've been feeling far from God - for a whole myriad of reasons I won't get into. But much of it has to do with my own shortcomings. If you are like me, you pull back when you come up short. You distance yourself. As if, after being covered in God's grace you could still smudge him somehow with your dirt. He is a holy God, after all. And what does righteousness have to do with unrighteousness? (yes I know that verse comes from the marriage passage [2 Cor 6], but I'm trying to make a point here)
That however, is only one extreme.
The other, is in order to feel close to God, despite our failures, we lean on the love and grace of the gospel so much, that conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ Phil 1:27 looses all meaning. It becomes a gospel that is no longer transformative.
And since we don't live by a gospel of mere works, and we can't change scripture so that we ourselves don't have to change - then where are we left?
I wrestle with this all the time.
Because you see - God's grace blows my mind.
No really, it does.
I grew up as a pastor's kid and felt the pressure to be perfect - to set an example 1 Tim 3 - very heavily. It was easier to keep up a veil of perfection than really engage the gospel as something that transforms you. Because in order to be transformed, you have to start off as something else. And that's a tough one when you said a prayer at 4 years old.
I didn't do drugs. I didn't drink. I didn't sleep around. My life was pretty put together.
Even from an conservative standpoint, my life looks good. I don't even dance (shout out to the baptist heritage... well, actually, I have northern baptist roots). But that's more lack of talent.
Still... I've lied. I've stolen. I've said unkind things and disrespected my parents. My thoughts aren't always that great. I've insisted on my own way and acted ungraciously.
That's quite a few commandments right there.
On the one hand, it is by grace I have been saved through faith in Christ, and not because of anything I've done to earn it. I don't have any reason to boast Eph 2.
But I'm also a new creation. Dead to my old life and saved into a new purpose. Sometimes I really wish God would bend his plans to my own agenda (I really like my agenda). But if God is as perfect as I believe him to be... then... well... I have to surrender.
I have to stop backing away from him because of my own doubts and fears.
Regardless of how messy I am - he paid an awfully be price to be in relationship with me - so basically, all my excuses are out the window.
I need to draw near to him.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you James 4:8
And whether I'm equipped or not to participate in his plans, He is my strength Isaiah 41:10
I don't know about you, but I'm ready to stop pulling away. Forgetting what lies behind - my past, my expectations, my comfort - I press on towards a new life in Christ. One where I know my needs will be met, my joy will be full, my purpose clear and I will be loved completely.
I just need to stop expecting that because life is a little uncomfortable, God has abandoned me. Or perhaps I've failed him and therefore he has abandoned me. Because in reality, his grace is all I need. It is when I am weak, that I am strong. His power is made perfect in weakness 2 Cor 12.
God chose the weak and the lowly so that the whole world would know just what an incredible, miraculous, loving creator holds the world in his hands.