Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Reality Check

Lately I have been doing some soul searching. My thoughts have centered on my faith and how uncentered I was for so long. When I came to believe Jesus Christ 15 years ago, it was a joyful reality, like being born. And my life changed outwardly. I became a church goer. I became a Bible-study attender. I became a "prayer". Don't get me wrong, I believe that I was really saved; But in reality, deep deep down I knew that I was still me. I was still ruled by the desire to eat cookies for comfort; prone to depression; critical; enthusiastic about starting but not about finishing; unable to rise up to the high standards which I had set for myself; wanting to just throw aside the body that seemed to weigh me down. And even in the midst of "Christianity", I began to search for that wonderful truth that would set me free. I searched in prayer groups. I searched in seminars. I read books. I prayed and fasted. I memorized large passages of scripture. But I continued to be in bondage to one degree or another.

It wasn't until I returned to a simple faith in Jesus Christ two years ago, that I realized He alone was the road to freedom. The path that He traveled was meant for me also. When He died, I died. When He was raised from the dead, I was too. This was different from the ticket-gospel I had embraced at salvation. This put more stock in the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, not only for my salvation, but for my sanctification. And it opened my eyes to the fact that there are a lot of the world's "self-help" ideas within the church, cleverly disguised with spiritual jargon. Since that point, Jesus Christ has become my lifeline, my only hope. I think before I had hope that some action that I could take would lead to deliverance and a miraculous change in my behavior. Like I could pray myself , or fast myself, or memorize myself into freedom. I am so thankful that I don't believe that anymore. There is nothing that I can do to be free from the sin that so easily entangles, not only because I am incapable of crossing the chasm, but because God has already opened the door of freedom. He will not make another way. The ONLY WAY to be legitimately free is to walk according to what God says is true, believing God. And to trust in that alone. I have heard it described like this: a precious, valuable gift is given in love, and when the receiver attemps to offer a paltry sum, it is insulting to the giver! "Just receive, my child!" I can hear God saying. We feel like we have to put up some kind of performance in order to be worthy to be in God''s presence. The truth is, we will never be worthy to be in his presence. Period. Christ is the only worthy one. It is only when we believe that we are really part of Jesus Christ, that the miracle of true fellowship with God exists. Halleiluia! God, You are so perfect.

Right now, I am in a state which seems degenerative. I've been noticing some character flaws that just won't seem to go away. I've been distracted by cookies and having some very stressed out Mommy moments. In general feeling like a failure. But I will never again wonder, "how can I be free of this mess I seem to have made of my life?" I know that there is only one answer, despite my itching ears. Jesus Christ. And I will hold onto him with all of my might, because without Him, what's the point, really?

"Buried with him by baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead." Col. 2:12

"And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:9-14

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