I don’t know about you but I am someone who can be incredibly hard on myself. I expect to give my all in everything I do, and when I physically, emotionally and mentality can’t keep this up I’m disappointed and feel like I have failed. I want to be loving, encouraging, gracious and helpful in all circumstances but let’s face it, I’m human. I get tired, grumpy, cross and make mistakes on a regular basis. It’s easy to get into the negative cycle of focusing on all my flaws and failings and to feel like I will never be good enough. What an amazing relief to know that I don’t have to strive for perfection and that I don’t have to do any of this in my own strength. The Bible says ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ (Phil 4vs13) Being a Christian isn’t about human perfection but believing that we are set free and made clean by Jesus’ sacrifice (John 3vs 16-17). I believe that He became sin for us, to bridge the divide between us and God. It can’t be done by human endeavour.
Something that I have to remind myself on a daily basis is that I am a ‘work in progress’. I know I have a long way to go, but that is okay. I find it helpful to look back and see how far God has already brought me and the way he has taught me about being more loving, gracious, merciful, gentle and a seeker of wisdom. Over the years I have felt God refining me and although I love the song “Refiners fire”, the reality of being refined is incredibly uncomfortable and painful.
However I have seen how God has been gently stripping away insecurities, fears and strongholds and teaching me about having a reliance and complete trust in Him. I rejoice in the ways that he has already led me and the incredible things He has done in my life. He completely healed me from ME/CFS, He led me out of depression, He ministered and brought healing and joy when heartbroken in miscarrying our first child. He has encouraged me and blessed me with a wonderful loving husband and a precious son. This life is a journey, and day by day I pray that God would give me the strength to walk in his grace, love and forgiveness, and to be transformed by his love daily.
Walking in God’s freedom is a decision and something that I have to choose to do each day. It can be so easy to pick up the chains that He has freed me from. I am so good at beating myself up when I have made a mistake, and even when I have asked for forgiveness, to go over and over my mistakes and allow guilt to cripple me. Yet what does it say about sin in the bible? ‘Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped, out’ (Acts 3vs 19). Also In Psalm 103 ‘As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our sins from us.’ In a nutshell, when we truly seek God’s forgiveness, He forgives us and chooses to see our sin no longer – the slate is wiped clean.
This can be so hard to fathom as we see tend to view forgiveness through human eyes. It can go something like this… you tell someone you forgive them, but then constantly remind them of their mistake and how wonderful you are for forgiving them. Okay, so I might be slightly exaggerating but that’s how it can feel. I have asked for forgiveness but live in fear that God will remind me of my sin….that is walking in chains. He has forgiven me completely, so I need to choose to walk in that forgiveness and the peace and freedom that comes with it. Yes I will make new mistakes and fall short on countless occasions, but thankfully he is a loving and merciful God and I am saved through His grace alone!
I pray this encourages you this week.