I am a Christian. I am a disciple. I am a follower of Jesus. There are millions of ways to say that you have a relationship with God, but when is the last time you did anything about it? I have to ask myself that frequently – I can’t call myself a follower of Christ, if I’m not actually letting Him lead. It’s hard to get out of our own way. It is hard to go against the flow – and not just the pop culture flow, but the flow of the day to day, the flesh that says ‘do this,’ the magazine that says ‘this will give you good sex’, the tv show that says ‘this is what makes you a great wife.’ I call bull on all of it. We are living in a world that is not our own – this we know, and we also know we aren’t meant to fit in, but living here, living here is exhausting and I personally feel the weight of it all too often.
TIME FOR A RESET
David cries out in Psalm 51:1-12 – Have mercy on me, O, God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. ie. Hey guys, my name is David and I’m a sinner, a big ol’ heap of trouble, and I’ve made some major mistakes, but I know your grace is unconditional and your love is true, so can I get a reset?
Not only has David massively screwed up in his past, he was a leader. (#KingStatus) So if the leader of God’s people, can have sex with another man’s wife, and then have said man murdered to try and keep it a secret, and then cry out to God for forgiveness–I’m certain God’s forgiveness is there for us. We’re all fallen, in a million different ways, and surprise – even with God’s grace and forgiveness, we won’t be perfect in this world. David didn’t become this awesomely perfect being that never messed up after he cried out to God, but he knew where his hope was. He asked God reset his mind to focus on Him, and not his own desires. He asked God to reset his heart to seek the Father that created him. He asked God to reset his heart to walk in the light, no matter how badly he failed. And to tie it all up in a neat little bow, he asked God to restore his joy in that very salvation, and give him the willingness to obey. Guys, our God is a god that hope-fully restores, and that door is never closed.
So, step one to realignment, ask myself what do I believe?
I BELIEVE I AM A HOPELESS MESS WITHOUT HIM, BUT WITH HIM, I AM HOPE FILLED, HOLY (NOT HOLIER THAN THOU), AND RESTORED.
Fast forward to Paul dropping truth in Romans (8:1-5), when he says there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because Y O U belong to H I M, the power of the L I F E-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death…letting the Spirit control your mind leads to L I F E and peace.
HOLY SPIRIT IS GIVING ME LIIIIIIIIIIIIFE. (AND IT IS GOOD, THE B-I-B-L-E TELLS ME SO).
I mean for real, Spirit is giving me L I F E. I am made new, redeemed and complete in Him. There’s no condemnation for me, my past does not define me, and I am free to experience life the way He designed it. This means choosing to set my mind on the goodness that He has for me, and not the hurts of the past, fixating on the hell that I walked through, but definitely focused on the victory and redemption that has been provided for me. I am renewed, redeemed, and choosing to set my mind on His redemption, not my own righteousness or severe lack thereof.
Step two: Why do I believe what I believe? Because I’ve tasted that freedom and redemption, it is electrifying, motivating and and carries me when I think I am beyond my weakest.
So now we remember what we believe, why we believe it, and the challenge is to live that out. We’re all shiny and new, and BRIGHT and we have to hit the grind of living it out in the DARKNESS…because this world is a pretty dark place, despite the good that we get to experience. (Those are called blessings, btdubs). Don’t lose heart, though we aren’t the light, we have the light living in us. Over in 1 John 1:5-10, John writes, the light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it. Catch that? NEVER. We are literally walking around with an illumination inside of us that only He provides, but this slippery slope seems to be where we all too often get stuck. This is where we let the ‘church’ or ‘religion’ step in and give us our rules – so how do we do this? We study the character of Jesus and the Word – how he taught (with story), who he built relationship with (the least of these), how he spent his time (using His gifts/living out His purpose, residing in community, and resting and creating space for His Father to speak to Him). God is good, Jesus was good, but as a dear friend recently said – He wasn’t always nice. (Flipping tables, anyone?) That doesn’t mean we’re jerks, but it does mean its okay to say no. That we don’t just agree with everything, or disagree with everything. How do we remember to meet others where they are with love? We have to be relevant to the world’s current state, without conforming to it, and this seems hard. But I promise, the days I remember to submit my will to His, to ask what He wants me to accomplish and work from a resting state of His grace vs. the hustle that the world dictates for me…the burden IS LIGHT. I am filled with his truth, and have a supernatural grace for those around me that my own human-ness can’t even begin to grasp.
Step three: How am I living out what I believe?
WALKING IN THE LIGHT DOESN’T MEAN KEEPING OTHERS FROM JOINING YOU IN IT, AND IT DEFINITELY MEANS THEY CAN’T SNUFF IT OUT
Own it people, we have to own who we are, who we were made to be, and let it shine; because that is a reflection of our sweet Creator.