Today I was talking to my discipler about a song I was listening to (“I Shall Not Want” by Audrey Assad, which I’ve posted before). She told me that she liked that song because it teaches one to be appreciative of what we already have in life, to be content and not yearn for more.
I cannot describe how deep that feeling of yearning in my heart is. And sad to say, it is not always that complete and utter yearning for God. Yet this yearning, this wanting of more from this life, spills over into everything, seeping into all the cracks and crevices of my life. Each movement and action is heavy with yearning for what I do not yet have or have already lost.
But my life is not mine. It is not mine. I have been bought with a price. Every drop of Jesus’ precious blood that spilled on the ground of Calvary was like every agonizing shekel that Hosea bought to reclaim his Gomer, who should already have been his. I want to yearn for God, to love the things He loves and hate the things He hates. To yearn for what is good, not for the earthly desires of my heart. Deliver me, O God; when I taste Your goodness I shall not want.
Whatever happened in the past is over. Do not dwell on past mistakes. There’s no point crying over spilt milk. Everybody makes mistakes. It’s what you learn from the mistakes, and promising yourself not to repeat those mistakes that matters. When you miss opportunities, don’t dwell on it, as there are always new opportunities on the horizon.
Being able to smile when being slightly misunderstood is good upbringing. When you’re wronged and you smile with calmness, it is generosity. When you’re being taken advantage of and you can smile, you’re being open-minded. When you are helpless and you can do a philosophical smile, you’re in a calm state. When you’re in distress and you can laugh out loud, you’re being generous. When you’re looked down and you can calmly smile, you’re being confident. When you’re being jilted in relationships and you can smile it off, you’re being suave.
I think recently a lot of things have been causing me to re-analyze my faith and what I believe in. So often throughout my spiritual walk I have thought, “I believe in God, in Jesus, because He saved me.” And while it is definitely true that Jesus saves all who acknowledge Him as the way, the truth, and the life, why should we believe in someone just because they give us good things? The love I have for the people closest to me isn’t because of the things they do for me. It isn’t merely because I have been treated well that I am called to love those around me. In accepting someone for their faults and foibles, even when they wrong us, we love them merely because of who they are.
Why do people place their faith in God? Why do I? Somewhere along the first 18 years of my existence without believing in God, I felt that initial tug that there was something more, something lacking in the worldview I had built. And I clung to Jesus as a young child blindly clings to its mother, unaware of why it should but only that it is right.
I think for much of my spiritual life that feeling of it is right carried through, mainly through the blessings that Jesus granted me, the answered prayers, the gifts and promises of heaven and eternal life. It wasn’t until one day when I asked myself what if salvation is a lie and what if I have been deceiving myself all this time did I feel what it felt like to be wrenched from that feeling of being inseparably close to God. And I can guarantee that the only thing that kept my flame alive, just barely, was that unshakable feeling that this was not a lie. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t bring myself to not believe in God, to deny that Jesus gave up His life on the cross to erase the sins of man and to be brought to life to sit in glory at the right hand of God. Was it even possible to live for a God that wasn’t real? What was the point? Not only did the thought terrify me, but when I think about my sin, when I think about all the things I have learned in this short life of mine, when I think about the things that God taught the Israelites, what Jesus taught to His disciples, when I think of the Christian life as it should truly be lived, do I realize with sudden clarity that Jesus on the cross is absolute truth.
This is why we continue to live as witnesses of Christ, not to force people to believe they need to be saved from hell, but because Jesus said the truth will set you free. God has a plan and it doesn’t end with the cross. We are living out His truths each and every day as we wait for Jesus to come again. The Holy Spirit inside of me is real. And I think that these truths have become much sweeter after this realization.
I had a long chat with my mom today. I think I am very slowly starting to appreciate the relationship we have, and how hard she is working on trying to be a better mom. I really am grateful for that.
One thing that came up in our conversation was that my mom was telling herself that although she has done some bad things in her life, she still thinks she is a good person. It’s days like today where I am struck by the opposite fact. I am such a bad person, such an inherently sinful, imperfect person, one quick to anger and such a propensity to do evil. I do not deserve love, have such self-loathing, and yet He has lavished His love upon me, I have been given love so graciously. I deserve no rewards but have been given the gift of salvation. And yet, I feel like I have not changed, I am not letting the Holy Spirit do His work in me. How I long to just get it, to be able to throw off all my sin. How we all long for that. And how hard is it to battle all my pride and selfish old ways.
Decrease so that He may increase.