I think that many people in their Christian walk hit a point where they seriously question whether the hardship and internal struggle of this walk is worth it at all. I’ve been in that place. It came soon after I started taking my relationship with Jesus seriously. It went like this:
- For the longest time, I didn’t really know or believe God was real. Torn between a searching heart and a skeptical mind, I put the decision (and relationship) off for years.
- But eventually God’s knocking on my door became too loud to ignore. I started to dabble in this Jesus thing. Got my toes wet. I still wasn’t convinced, though.
- I spent a year researching and reasoning to satisfy my skepticism. Apologetics. Still one of my favourite areas of study today.
- Finally, I hit a point where I said “alright God, I’m all in.” I stumbled as often as you can, but kept on going.
- Eventually, Jesus led me to uncover deep shame. Things I didn’t even know I was holding on to. This made me realize just how incredibly sinful I am. A magnifying glass had been put to my seemingly clean heart and revealed it to be rotten and black to the core.
- I tried to fight it. I said I’d be better for Him- be holy for Him. But I just couldn’t do it. It was exhausting. I was so tired of fighting an impossible battle. I desired to go back to the blissful ignorance that came with not knowing the extent of my sin.
I was stuck between a rock and a hard place, with no way out. I could keep going forward, uselessly striving towards a goal that was always out of reach. Or, I could give up and embrace the sin I couldn’t escape from anyway. I could go back to the way I was. But I couldn’t really do that now either- I had become too keenly aware that sinfulness and Godlessness never satisfy the soul.
The Lord will not let the godly go hungry, but he refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked.
Proverbs 10:3 (NLT)
The cravings of the wicked will never satisfy. Even though my flesh wanted to look at the past through rose-coloured lenses, I knew in my bones that life is shallow, self-centred, and unfulfilling.
The Lord will not let the godly go hungry. But I wasn’t godly. I was stuck in sin that I knew wouldn’t satisfy me!
But there is a third option, and it is the only way to truly live. I am sinful. To the core. It’s my human condition. But guess what? Grace is big enough in spite of this. Jesus knows I cannot achieve sinlessness on my own and yet he died for me anyways! I had to redirect all the time and effort I put into striving towards perfection into realizing and being grateful for what Jesus had already done.
I had to take the focus off of me, my sin, my issues, my good deeds, my bad deeds. Put the focus where it belongs. On the overwhelming, jaw-dropping grace of our God. He loves us so much. Don’t lose sight of this. Come to your knees in gratitude.
Keeping my eyes fixed on Him and His love, I quickly find myself becoming who I had strived to become in the first place. Remember who He is (Love) and you’ll remember who you are (Beloved). Then you’ll act out of that Godly identity.
Once I learned I was trapped in His grace just like the murderer, the atheist, I sunk deep and rested in it. This gave room for me to finally tap in to ways I could bless Him back. There’s a beautiful humility in knowing how small you are in the sight of Living God. Now I can give my upmost for His Highest without it being in vain. Now I can run from sin and towards God with the strength and identity that Christ provides. I was missing the shift in my heart that could only be attained through knowing who I really was. He is our beautiful Father and we are His dearly Beloved. Always.
As John Mark McMillan sings, “tangled up in the great ridiculous way You love, it is the only way to live.”