For the past several days, I have been in tears several times and until this morning, I wasn't sure why. I kept feeling a heaviness on my heart and an utter despair. Lately I have felt unsure of whether I am making any difference in others' lives and whether or not my motives are even true.
You see, I have a problem with pride. And I am okay (sort-of) with admitting this. :) Though my heart is sincere, I believe, in wanting to serve Christ and to be a "good Christian," there are times that I believe I can do it on my own. And when I fail, I am frustrated beyond belief and end up wondering what sin in my life is keeping me from following the "rules" this time.
Have you ever felt that way? Wondering why, even after spending gobs of time reading the Bible, praying countless hours in the day and all through the night, having 5 quiet times, worshipping hours upon hours, fellowshiping with believers, serving God through some type of ministry, etc... you feel empty still, or that you can not do enough?
I decided to ask God to examine my heart. Let me just warn you - He is faithful to do what we ask of Him. :)
I said, "God, I feel like giving up. Has nothing really changed in my life after experiencing your salvation 7 years ago? I am still the fake, unloving person with junk in my life that I've always been? I am a seminary student; I shouldn't still be doing things wrong. Lord, I need you to do something better with me."
This morning, I cried out to Him some more, and He answered. God said to me: "Sara, have you forgotten why I came to save you? Self-sufficiency always leads to self-righteousness, but My sufficiency leads to true righteousness. Let me live MY life THROUGH you. My Grace is enough."
Wow...what an epiphany.
So many of our efforts in being a Christian end up leading to complete disappointment when we feel that we don't "succeed." We pray our hearts out for the Lord to work in our lives, yet when things are still going wrong in some way, we think that we didn't pray enough, aren't good enough, or often, we even question our salvation. We wonder what we've done wrong, and we ask God why? We say we are sorry for whatever it is we've done wrong, then we rededicate our life to Him and promise to "do better." Its a continuous cycle of motivation --> condemnation --> rededication.
Somewhere along the way we (I) have forgotten that we are saved by Grace, and that this Grace cannot be earned no matter how hard we try because it is the gift of God! We ask Jesus to come into our hearts and lives by accepting this gift of Grace, then the rest of the time we live under the law, trying to keep a lot of rules so we can be good Christians.
The fact of the matter is, we are never going to be "good Christians" in our own eyes. We can never do enough good works, do enough praying, do enough reading our Bibles, to earn the love of Christ and His acceptance. And we can never be "successful" if we try to do it on our own.
For me, this is where my issue with pride comes in, thinking that because I am a Christian, I can keep all the rules on my own. Then I expect others around me to keep the rules, and I end up living under the Law instead of under Grace and witnessing to others NOT the Grace of God but the Law of God.
Today, I have surrendered my heart to what God wants to do through me, even if I look weak and insufficient in my own strength. I have decided to let the power of Jesus' righteousness run through my veins, instead of me trying to do it on my own. Today, and every day from here on out, I have chosen to walk in Grace, believing that Jesus Christ loves me, accepts me, and can use me despite my shortcomings and flaws.
Are you walking in Grace?
"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." - 2 Corinthians 12:9