I have often heard that it is almost impossible to kick a bad habit without replacing it with a good one. If all you are doing is striving so hard to not sin, focusing on developing your will power more and more every day so that you can avoid that stumbling block, you inevitably trip over it again…and again…and again.
When we see others who bounce back quickly from adversity and wonder how they are able to see God’s hand at work in that challenge; it is easy to forget the hours and hours they probably spent in the “spiritual gym” preparing for that moment. It is easy to forget there was probably a lot of suffering in that spiritual training ground, that resulted in a lot of perseverance being developed, that built a lot of character, that paved the way for that ability to hope.
There is one person I never even wanted to pray for healing for at all. Me. I didn’t deserve it. There was more I could personally be doing to heal my back that has given me issues since high school. I could work out more consistently, do my stretches, get adjusted, etc. I wasn’t worthy of healing. I hadn’t been doing my part, why should I expect God to do his? It would almost be unfair for me to ask God for something that I clearly hadn’t earned.
I love being able to share Christ with folks that are struggling in their life and already know they are missing something. So many of them are ready and willing to hear the truth. I love planting seeds in this fertile soil that Jesus talked about in Matthew. I struggle, however, having the desire to go after the intellectual skeptic. I am nervous chasing after the person I know is going to try to pick my argument apart. I have complete confidence in my own faith, but will I be able to articulate it well to them? Will I be able to answer their questions effectively enough to win them over? What if they ask tough questions I am not equipped to answer?
Jesus wants an army of followers willing to reach out to others in all of our brokenness, not trying to put on a mask of perfection, but vulnerably saying, “Yeah, I am messed too. I continually fall short. I am trying to be more like Christ every day, but every single day fall short in some way or another. I am so thankful that God loves me exactly where I am and was willing to come along side of me with all of my faults, baggage, and hang-ups. I am so thankful that Jesus willingly paid the price for me, knowing that I would trip and fall over and over again, despite my best efforts."
Shame is natural. Shame is human. It is the #1 weapon of the enemy. We all get that knot in our stomach putting ourselves out there. Every time I go to post a blog on social media anywhere, Satan whispers little lies in my ear.
There is a reason this is called the great commission and not the subtle suggestion. When Jesus rose from the dead his message was clear; go tell the world!
How much simpler would life be if our main focus, our most sincere desire, the center of our prayers, was to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of our lives?
If God put that much intricate thought into a simple lampstand, how much more thought and care has he put into creating you and me? How much more love and attention went into each of our strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and shortcomings? If God was this into the details of a lampstand, how much more did he carefully create each and every one of us?