Oops. I egged my sister on to an argument we didn’t need to have. I avoided sharing the gospel with my friend after a wide-open opportunity. I chose that sin again, and it’s becoming a habit. Days like these, I find myself wondering if I’m really God’s child. Does He really guard my salvation? Can I really still relate to Him?
When I look at Scripture, I find some verses that nearly convince me that I’m not saved, that the life I am living could not possibly be the life of someone who belongs to God.
“For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people!” – 2 Timothy 3:2-5 (HCSB)
Aren’t there days that I wrestle with all of these? Then is there really hope for me as a believer? Yes! This is the message about Jesus Christ – the Gospel of Grace! Our God hates sin, yet He is faithful and compassionate.
“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” – Lamentations 3:22-23 (HCSB)
At a time when Israel is experiencing God’s wrath toward their sin, Jeremiah writes this hopeful verse in the middle of a sad song. God never takes our sin lightly. It is disgusting to Him. There is hope for us though, because He is faithful to love us and show us mercy. Through the cross of Jesus Christ, all of our rebellion is forgiven, and we are free to enjoy God’s love even after we have failed Him.
If you’re struggling with sin and sin-related meaninglessness or depression, it is worth examining your heart to see if you really believe what Jesus said, and if you’re really trusting and following Him. But don’t stay discouraged. Turn to Him, give your sin over to Him and enjoy the relationship that He is maintaining. He doesn’t place the whole responsibility of the relationship on you because there is no way you could maintain it, but He does call you to walk with Him and obey Him because of what Christ has secured for you.
Faithful to the Self-Made Saint
Other days I do just fine though. I spend time in God’s Word and prayer, I encourage my friend who is struggling with depression, and I share the gospel with the person who sat next to me on the bus. Days like that, it feels easy to connect to God.
But I need to be even more careful on these days. When I start to relate to God based on my own accomplishment, I am disregarding the cross. Even on my best of days, I sin and fall short and am utterly unable to relate to the infinite, holy God of all creation.
Even in my arrogance, God is still faithful. The life and cross of Jesus Christ is still applied to me in the eyes of the Cosmic Judge. He remains our faithful Father, forgiving us and humbling us to teach us to rest in what He has accomplished for us.
What Does This Change In My Life?
I am still learning and re-learning what I just shared with you. There are still days I find myself on both sides of this struggle. There are a few helpful (and critical) habits I’m learning I need to develop more throughout this year.
One is to constantly remind myself of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and pray through it. It reminds me of Who God is, why my sin is more serious than I ever feel it is (even on my worst days), and why Christ’s grace is greater than I can ever imagine – both in forgiving me, sustaining me, and giving me new, hope-filled life.
The other is that I cannot choose to do or neglect my time in God’s Word or prayer based on how I feel that day. On days I feel good, I need it to humble me. On days I feel bad, I need it to lift me up – not based on who I am, but based on God’s faithfulness. So if you’re anything like I am in this, make the effort to daily spend time with Jesus.