Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Don't Give Up

It seems like every day I’m finding new things in my life that need changing. I realize another sin that I struggle with, another habit that needs breaking, another habit that needs forming. My faults and countless, my sins innumerable. I’m beginning to see how thoroughly human I am.
        It’s overwhelming, really. I am overwhelmed by the amount of sin in my life and my inability to fix it. Christ has freed me from the bondage of sin and given me the strength to fight against temptation, but that does not remove my humanity, which, by nature, is sinful. No matter how hard I try I will fail, more often than not, because I am not perfect. And I won’t be until I am welcomed into heaven.
It’s frustrating because I want to be perfect. I want to love wholly and truly, I want to be pure. I want to honor God in all that I do. But while I am alive here on earth, that is impossible.
My guess would be, if you’re a follower of Christ, you can relate. More so than the rest of the world, we feel the sharp sting of failure, because we know who we are failing.
And it hurts.
Some days you have to wonder, where is the point in it all? Why fight today what you’ll probably give in to tomorrow? There are times you feel tired; tired of fighting, tired of bolstering your defenses, tired trying and failing. It would be so much easier just to lay down and give up the fight, even just for a moment of relief.
Weary traveler, please listen to me when I say –
You are sinful, broken, imperfect, impure, and unholy. But you are loved by a righteous, perfect, holy, just, beautiful, and loving God, who humbled Himself and came to earth as a man so that He could die to free you from your addiction to sin.
You are still human; you will still fail. The addiction to sin was strong, and it still comes back to haunt you, tempt you. Don’t give in. Don’t think of yourself as the weak, helpless person you used to be. You have the strength of God in you. Don’t give up. Whatever relief or pleasure sin seems to offer is fleeting, gone in an instant. But the peace and joy that God offers never run out.
Don’t give up. Please. Whoever, wherever you are, you were created in the image of God. You are broken, but beautiful. Don’t become fixated on the moment. Think to the future – of the reward that awaits you in heaven. Of spending an eternity with those you love, worshipping your Savior.
Life is hard, and it will only get more difficult as time goes on. But it is not this life for which we live.
Life is hard. But eternity is bliss.

        “I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I wish to be. I am not what I hope to be. Yet, though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, I can truly say, I am not what I once was; a slave to sin and Satan; and I can heartily join with the apostle, and acknowledge, "By the grace of God I am what I am."
-John Newton


Monday, March 3, 2014


       One of the {many} things I’ve realized this past week is the lack of love in my life. I am such an incredibly selfish person. Everything comes down to me; what I want, what I feel, what I need. Even with people I truly love, I think more about my own comfort rather than theirs. And it is so frustrating, because I love this person, and yet all I can think about is myself. I am so human.
        I don’t want to be human; I want to be godly.
  In one of Francis Chan’s books (I’m embarrassed to say I can’t remember whether it was Crazy Love or Forgotten God. Probably the former), he shares an exercise that I found extremely convicting. He took the passage about love from 1 Corinthians 13 and swapped the word ‘love’ with his name.
I’ve inserted my own name and gender in the passage below, but go ahead and put in your own name as you read. You tell me if you don’t feel even slightly convicted.

        Mariah is patient and kind; Mariah does not envy or boast; she is not arrogant or rude. She does not insist on her own way; she is not irritable or resentful; she does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Mariah bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I don’t know about you, but I know for me that paragraph is a complete lie. I am not patient; I am not always kind. I envy, I want my own way, I’m irritable. I am the complete opposite of those verses.
But that is how we are called to be. We are called to personify the love of Christ. Not the I’ll-love-you-as-long-as-you-benefit-me love of the world, but the selfless, whole-hearted love that Jesus showed in giving up His life for us – condemned sinners, who dared to spit in the face of God.
Everything comes down to how we love. How we live, how we treat others... I pray that God would fill me with His love, thus enabling me to pour it out on others. And I pray the same for you.

“Love is patient and kind; 
love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. 
It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 
~1 Cor. 13:4-7 (ESV)