The message of Christianity is not ‘Worldliness is bad.’ It’s ‘Jesus is Lord.’ It’s not ‘Try not to sin.’ It’s ‘Think about Jesus.’
When you look to Jesus, you see that your urges to sin are suppressed on their own. When you look to Jesus, you see peace, love, joy, freedom, better than anything in the world. When you look to Jesus, you see you don’t need any worldly pseudo-religious substitutes for closeness to Him. When you look to Jesus, you see that in Him you are already dead to the world. When you look to Jesus, you see that in Him you are already alive. – Eric Pazdziora
And so now I am done. I am done with religion. I am done with trying. I am done with analyzing. I am done with doing my best.
I want Jesus. I need Jesus.
The answer is not more introspection. The answer is not to become more on fire. The answer is not to read the Bible longer or to pray harder. The answer is Jesus. Look to Jesus. Lean on Jesus. Become encompassed by Jesus.
I want to not only forget the man-made rules I imposed on myself at various points in time, but I want to throw off the chains I have wrapped around myself. The chains of guilt. The chains of unworthiness. The chains of lies. The chains of fear.
After taking a break and just soaking in the truth that God brought to me, I have experienced several victories.
One night after a particularly difficult day, a Bible verse popped into my head. This may not seem like much, but for me, it was huge. I didn’t have to stop and try to think and pull up a mental Bible verse index card. It popped into my head. I wasn’t trying. It was there.
And then, slowly, I began to want to read the Bible. I have not jumped into a regimented “daily reading” plan yet, but I am rejoicing in those moments where it is an actual desire. Not something I need to do to be a better Christian.
I started to pray. Sometimes it was purposeful, when I chose to pray. Sometimes it wasn’t, and prayers just formed themselves in my mind.
And I began to sing again. I used to always sing…..but at some point, I’m not sure when, I stopped. I have noticed over the past few months that my voice has come back. Suddenly I’ll find myself singing hymns, old and new alike.
I have not finished learning my lesson. I have not arrived at perfection. I still have to speak truth to myself. I still sometimes have that old familiar terror grip my chest.
But I am growing. I am resting. I can feel God wooing me to Himself. I can feel my soul slowly but surely heal.
I have been reminded that I cannot do anything to make God love me more. I can’t do anything that will make Him more pleased with me.
Why? Because when He sees me….He sees Jesus’ blood. Jesus truly paid it all. I do not have that sin in black all over me. I do not have those chains. Jesus’ blood covered. His blood cleansed. His blood made pure. His blood made whole. That is what God sees when He looks at me. He sees His child. His redeemed. His friend. His own.
My sin? It doesn’t make Him push me away. It doesn’t make Him love me less. He saw me in the midst of my unrepentant sin and He chose to touch my heart and draw me to Him. He saved me out of sin. Salvation is through God’s work alone. Sanctification is through God’s work alone.
And for that I am thankful. So, so thankful.
It took a lot for me to write this. And then to share it publicly. I truly hope that it has encouraged someone. There is hope. There is. I would absolutely love to hear from you and pray for you. If you want, you can leave a comment. Or you can email me privately at lifewithyou1222 (at) gmail (dot) com.
Part One Part Two Part Three
Part Four Part Five Part Six
Part Seven Part Eight Part Nine
Part Ten Part Eleven
This was exactly what I needed to hear today, this week, now.
Beautiful! So many of us do take our spirituality as a list of dos and don’ts, when it’s really a relationship, as you say. God gives us rules to help us and guide us, just as we give our children rules, but he wants us to obey out of love for him – and to love him so much that we do what’s right without even thinking about the rules. Thanks so much for sharing your journey! I pray it will bless many. We are never alone in our struggles. 🙂
Thank you for sharing this journey Bonnie, it has been very encouraging.
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