I had written that big blog series on the season of intense doubt and discouragement I went through.
I scheduled them on the blog.
They sat for a while.
And then one day I decided to re-read the posts. As I was making my way through what I had written, my chest tightened. My heart felt heavy. My pulse quickened. My mind raced.
What if I don’t really believe that? What if I have a relapse? What if I’m deceiving myself? How do I know if I believe hard enough?
Guess what? The Bible doesn’t say, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart so hard that joy never forsakes you, you will be saved.” It doesn’t say, “If you believe hard enough that your doubts instantly forsake you.”
It says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
God does not have some sort of divine Believe-o-meter that He holds me up to each day. Belief is not some sort of mystical feeling that I need to conjure up. I still wrestle with how feelings and faith intertwine, but I am 100% confident that God’s love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy are not dependent on my feelings.
I share this to let you know that I do not have it all together. But I also know that I can’t wait until I do have it all together. Because you know what? I never will. I will never be perfect this side of heaven. I might always have questions. I might even always have doubts. But I cannot wait to live my life until I am perfect or until I know I believe hard enough.
All I can do is walk each day, each moment, looking to Jesus. I have taken courage from Paul’s words in Philippians 3, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”
Looking behind does no good. As my Hebrews teacher in college said…..you can’t run the race looking behind you. It does no good to look back and long for the “good years” of my spiritual life. It does no good to fall down when I sin and stay there. It does no good to turn around and stare at all my sins. The race is in front of me. The race is today. The race is right now.
Yes, I will fall again. I will sin. I will doubt. I will grow weary. But I will not and can not wait until I am perfect to run the race. If God has brought me this far….I know He will not abandon me now.
And if you are reading this….I would absolutely love your prayers!!!
Part One Part Two Part Three
Part Four Part Five Part Six
Part Seven Part Eight Part Nine
Part Ten Part Eleven Part Twelve
Part Thirteen Part Fourteen
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Thank you for sharing. Been and am still on a similar journey from legalism. Hearing from people who were able to leave their extremism without losing their faith is SO encouraging because so many of those I grew up with completely left, including one of my own siblings.
I struggled with my own salvation for years, feeling so much guilt and fear, questioned by one of the most highly successful people in talking people out of their faith and still said, “yes, I am saved” but I still felt so heavy. One day, I too, just said that I am done. I have done everything I know how to do “it” right–did I pray the right words, or is it not the prayer but the faith, did I feel enough sorrow over my sin? Or the silly ones I was told, “If you are really saved, you’ll remember the name of the first person you led to the Lord”. “If you’re really saved, you will smile all the time. ALL the time”. “If you don’t raise your hand high enough at invitation time, I doubt your salvation”. “God has given me the ability to know if you’re saved just by looking at your face and someone here tonight does not have the right facial expression”, etc..But my salvation doesn’t even depend on me so I am done worrying about it. I put my salvation in His hands and He can worry about who is going to heaven.
“My” song was Jason Gray’s “For the First Time Again”. I felt like I needed to just forget everything that I had been told and just go back the that moment of salvation and start over. Like I had had “meat” (or so they claimed) stuffed down my throat before I had had time as a “new born babe” and now had severe indigestion because my system hasn’t been ready for meat. Time to reboot my digestive system and sew it with a new culture, one that was grace based not sanctified by works based.
Still working on it, but it is so good to know I am not on this journey alone and to be assured that I can do nothing to gain God’s love–or more of God’s love–nor can I do anything to lose it. It just is.
and that’s why we need to be reading the Word every day – to remind ourselves of His promises
We just can’t count on our feelings, can we? I’ve learned to make them a part of my faith and try to focus on the qualities about God I know are true, rather than each circumstance when I can only see in part. A good word here. Thanks!