I concluded my last blog post with these words from Larry Crabb which have encouraged me on my daily walk with God:
You will not completely stop sinning. Repentance is required every day. But redemption, regeneration, and reconciliation-the wonder of grace makes it possible for the sinner and the saint you are to enjoy God’s love and spread it around.
Struggle as you must. Fail when you do. Repent quickly, celebrate grace, and keep on, resolute in your thirst to know the love of God more and more deeply.
Each day is a new opportunity to love God and others more! Yet, our brokenness and past failures stalk our thoughts and attempts to desire God more. We all daily face the reality that we are not what we want to be and that progress is slow, hard work. Sometimes writing encouragement blogs and creating videos is a painful job. I press ahead because I know that if just one person is encouraged then it is worth it. The hardest part is accepting that often, I won’t know if there is any impact. It’s easy to get caught up in number of views instead of trusting that God will work in ways that I may never be aware of.
In my introduction video, I explain that as we are on a journey of faith likewise we are on a journey of desiring God. I believe that faith and desire are together! As your faith and dependence on God increases so will your desire for Him! We see this in Abraham as he gradually comes to trust and obey God more with each “stage” of his journey. When God instructs him to sacrifice Isaac, he doesn’t delay but acts in faith. I believe that Abraham was able to obey because he desired God more than God’s promise(s) to him. He knew that God would fulfill His promises. God required that he would trust and obey. Abraham failed, repented, and kept trusting God. Can the same be said of us?
Failures and Setbacks in our life/faith struggles
You’re not alone in your struggles and difficulties! As I have written numerous times before in this blog, to walk with God is to struggle with our fallen nature/sinful desires. Every human is fallen and broken. This is central to properly understanding the Gospel. We all have sinned and fallen short. No one is righteous, not one according to God’s Righteous Judgement. And Paul makes it clear that even when we desire to do good (obeying God’s righteous laws) we still do evil.
Some of my favorite men of faith (New Testament) were dismal failures. Think about Peter and how he betrayed/denied Christ. Peter essential did the same thing as Judas the betrayer. Yet Jesus restores him in due season and entrusts him with a greater task. Peter becomes the most influential leader of the early church. John Mark is another great example of someone who fails but later proves helpful to Paul.
God doesn’t define or relate to us according to our failures! He relates to us through His Son’s Redeeming work in our lives. That’s the wonderful truth about grace and redemption: It’s not about us or our goodness or even capability for goodness! It’s all about God’s grace and how we accept and apply His Abounding, Unmerited Loving-kindness to our lives. Jesus didn’t die to make us good, religious humans! He died to restore us into the proper relationship with God the Father and God Holy Spirit. It’s all about Jesus and His mercy and goodness! It’s not about our feeble attempts. For an example in our lives, consider how and why your mother or father (or significant other) loves you. Mothers and fathers love their kids not because of what the child can be or do but because the little human is their offspring! Significant others love us because of a relationship-the shared good memories, fun times, and bonding.
When we fail, we tend to focus on ourselves instead of looking up to our Heavenly Father! I am certainly guilty of this myself. We become too concerned about ourselves and what we have done or failed to do instead of trusting in God to work it out. Guess that’s part of our fallen nature–we hide and lie instead of clinging to the One who perfectly loves us!
My advice and prayer for you is that you will cast yourself into the arms of Jesus! Let Him embrace you in your moments of darkness and brokenness. Then as He restores and heals you, share His love and care for others around you who need you! To be loved by God is to love others and proclaim what God has done for you.
May God’s abounding love and grace encourage and uplift you! In Christ Alone can we stand and find true fulfillment for our lives!