If you are expecting something about the Christian walk and how we cannot rely on our feelings to tell us how we are doing in our walk with God then this is probably not it. I intend to touch on that but will be going a lot more into what I have been going thru and have learned the past little bit.
As I am somewhat confused how to write this bear with me. I suppose I will begin with what is sure and solid, namely the goal of the Christian life.
Our purpose is both in a sense simple and easy to live out and in another sense extraordinarily difficult. Easy because it is as simple as being radically in love with the creator of the universe and giving him the glory He is due as such. Not much to that. Love God first. But the complexity is seen when we realize that this is contrary to everything in our natural human nature. We are born and most of us live our whole lives with a completely self-centered outlook on things and the thought of living for God in a deep real way is the furthest thing from our minds. I can say from experience as can any genuine believer who spent time in the ‘church’ prior to salvation that even while I was outwardly conforming and tried to convince myself I was cool with God there were many areas I held out on Him. I was still on the throne of my heart. But God changed that in regenerating me. And that brings us up to the present.
I know that what I go thru is not anything new. All believers have been thru it and many to a much darker place than I. I am a young man just beginning my walk with the King compared to many of the Christians I know. Nonetheless I wanted to share this in the hopes of encouraging you to go on.
Have you heard the song by Keith Green, ‘Grace by which I stand’? If you have not then please listen to it. It sets the musical and emotional tenor of these thoughts.
There are times when we feel like we could reach out and touch the hem of God’s robes. He is right there and we feel enraptured with his love. We are in love with Him. Nothing could convince us that He is not there. We know Him.
Other times though we do the same things there is a huge difference in our feelings. We are reading the bible. We are praying. But those intense feelings of love are absent. Not that our love for Him is absent but that we just don’t feel it as we did. Human weakness I guess. But we are not where we wish we were.
Then there are the other times. Times like the present for me. Thru our sin we are separated in a sense (Hear me out. Not entirely but in one sense.) from our God. We have rebelled against God in some way and now there is a cloud there where there should be close communion. This does not have to be what we would consider ‘big’ sins but most commonly is just a failure to place Him first and seek His face. We are so caught up in our silly lives that we don’t seek to know the King in a deeper way. And so we go on and on and just keep on pushing back that nagging conviction. Then we wonder why sin so easily trips us up. This is sometimes the story of my life. My lack of deep communion with God creates an inroad for sin and when I fall it often creates an attitude of fear in approaching Him. A vicious cycle.
What we do is when we sin in some area is instead of falling on our faces and repenting and then getting up and going on we wallow around for a while before God beating up on ourselves. As if by our self-depreciation we gain brownie points with God and He will be more likely to forgive us. This is a full frontal attack on our King and His salvation. I will explain later.
I am crying as I write this. I do love my God. I am thankful for what He has done for me. But my arrogance in snubbing Him and my persistent selfishness in mindset beats me down and drags me thru the mud. How can I spurn the God I love? How can I do such wicked things to Him and those repeatedly?
Such thoughts often go thru my mind. As often as I in tears have to run back to the altar of my heart in repentance one would think I would get a clue and stop sinning. But I am a human and naturally I think rather hard headed. Divine truths take a lot of time to sink in and at times a few hard falls help out the situation.
Though a soul tormented by regret over sin can hardly see thru the dim light there is a grand beauty to what we are going thru. We see in the scriptures that the King of kings has a path that He is leading us down and He will use our failures and sins to ‘grow us up’. It may sound weird or even blasphemous to say that God uses our sin in His grand plan but I think that this is scriptural(if asked to do so I can provide scriptures to show this). He teaches us thru this to throw ourselves into His arms. We are ever more convinced of the sufficiency of our King to be all that we want and need when we fall and then run back into His arms.
I want to briefly comment here on why we sin. We are made to love God and live in communion with Him. True we have fallen and are corrupted in many ways when born but we are still hard-wired to love God. Before conversion our corrupted hearts run from God and try to fill that void of love and joy with other junk. We throw away our lives pursuing money, sex or any other thing that catches our eye in a vain attempt to be at peace and happy. But what we won’t do is turn to the one who can really solve our problem. This is because we hate Him and His demands on us. And this is the problem that God solves for us in regeneration. He takes out our old stony hearts and gives us hearts of flesh so that we can now see ourselves and Him for what truly is. And this is why the true believer can walk above sin. He has a new heart and a new nature. So why do we still sin? Remember we are made to find our joy in loving God. But when we take our eyes off of God and stop loving Him as we should our old habits of sin creep up. We use them to fill the void made by not looking to God for pleasure. Essentially I think every sin is rooted in our not finding ourselves in the love of God. We turn to them to fill the hole that only God can fill. And so on the other side if we by His grace keep our hearts set on loving Him then we are filled with His joy and there is no room for sin. Strength is found in being consumed with God. And remember, as mentioned at the beginning, feelings are not the standard for that closeness. It is deeper than emotions though they should follow.
Two more thoughts. These may seem disjointed but bear with me.
1. Remember how Christ was on the cross and bearing both the physical torment and also the full wrath of God for our sins. And yet while enduring this suffering He thought to plead for the men crucifying Him. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” His love is such that while He was suffering more than anyone ever has or ever will He still thought of the men for whom He was dying.
2. Anyone who has been with me a while has heard me read from or speak about Micah chapter 7:8,9. It has hugely blessed me and I hope will encourage you. Micah is hear speaking from the perspective of Israel but it can be very easily applied to us.
Mic 7:8 Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me.
Mic 7:9 I will bear the indignation of the Lord, Because I have sinned against Him, Until He pleads my case And executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness.
Note these things. Israel has fallen. They are sitting in darkness and bear the indignation of the Lord because they have sinned against Him. Yet thru all this the Lord is still their light! Though he is angry with them he is still going to plead their case and execute justice for them. Justice? Justice??? Justice is going to hell for eternity. But it says He will bring us to the light and we will see His righteousness. How? We have been corrupted by sin and justice demands punishment.
Christ!!! This is how He brings us to the light! The King of glory Himself took our sins and our slate is wiped clean. Now justice says that we are free and can see His righteousness!!! Glory to the King!
So while we have sinned and rebelled against the King, when we are down in the dumps over our sin, when we cannot seem to fight our way out of the shrouds of darkness, remember, the Lord of glory is fighting for you. He has executed justice for you and you are clean. Throw aside the weight of sin and live in the reality of the truth. Rise up O man of God! Have done with lesser things! Give heart and soul and mind and strength to serve the King of kings!!!
This is why it is close to blasphemous to wallow around and beat up on yourself after falling. You are trying to earn something before God. You do not think that he will immediately take you back in and that you need to spend a period of penance. You are thinking that He has stooped to the level of looking at you and your works and requiring something of you in order to forgive you. This is doubting the sufficiency of God’s work of salvation thru Christ and challenging God’s truthfulness. He has done the work. Fly to Him. If up to you to do something you will never be right with God.
Well I will wind down here now. I believe I have shared my heart fully. I pray I have encouraged you if you are going thru one of the dark times. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
All for the one who gave His all for us!!!