Not by Myself

Person Alone

God taught me something beautiful this week.

When I am struggling, when I have sin in my life, God does not push me away. He does not wait to help me until I put it all it all right.

If it were not for Christ, I would be hopelessly separated from God because of my sin, my mistakes, my failures—my self-seeking heart. There would be nothing I could do to correct those offenses. I would not even have the ability to seek after God.

But I am in Christ. That (up there) is not my reality. He conquered the power and the darkness of sin. His grace has made me a beloved child. His love for me is greater than I can ever know, and His grace is has greater power than evil.

Because Christ’s blood has made me right with God, my sin does not drive me away from Him. Of course, it does not please God, but He is there to show me how to overcome sin—in Him, through Him, for Him. He will never leave me or forsake me. His divine power has given me everything I need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3)—including this sin and these struggles.

I don’t have to find victory before I come to Him. Not by myself. I find victory in Him.

Remember these verses in 1 John 2:1-2:

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Yes, I will make mistakes. But I am in Christ, and this doesn’t change me back to my preconversion state—being an enemy of God. Because of Christ’s work on the cross, I can come boldly to the throne of grace to ask for mercy and help. I can receive forgiveness. I can receive strength to choose righteousness.

Not by myself. Only in Him.

~Rachel Sue

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When Faith

Woven

When words cannot describe the soul’s movements. When the mind can’t understand what is going on in the heart.

When I’m completely baffled by the way the world works, by the way that God works. When I don’t see how what’s in the Bible matches up with what I see in life. And when all the confusion makes me want to pull away and not even mess with trying to figure it out.

When I’m engulfed in guilt, but not knowing why—and just wanting to get it all right, but not knowing how. Why do I feel this way when I think about God? What’s wrong with me? What do I have to do to make it better?

When you can’t explain it, but it’s so real. When your heart relates something that your mind can’t really agree with.

When I want to be close to God and give glory to Him, but I don’t see amazing things in His Word like I think I should. Or I don’t understand it. Or when I’m drawing near I feel indescribably uneasy.

When I analyze to pieces everything that I do or say. Is it something to correct? Or should I just forget about it?

When a mere feeling taints everything in my life. When everything else makes it seems like I’m disqualified to be a good servant of Christ.

I know that feelings don’t always portray what is real, but feelings are real. They are a struggle. They are a prison that we need to be freed from. They must be overcome so that we can take another step.

But it’s better today. It’s not because I have a ten-step system that clears away all of that. There’s no handy set of perfectly clear directions for the Christian walk, like there is on a cake mix. Because if we had a bunch of directions on the box of our Christian walk, we would trust those instead of Jesus.

Jesus is always the same. He is changing me to be like Him, but there’s still lots of me left that doesn’t look like Him. There’s still lots of sin. And while my life might look the same to everyone else, inside it’s raging or crying or baffled. I still need Him to save me from all of this.

When it’s the worst, it’s time to seek God. And when I can’t feel like I can, I can trust what I already know.

When I remember, “Satan is the accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10). Satan would love nothing more than to make me forget that Christ is the one who cleanses me by His blood. Satan wants to convince me that I have to fix all the mistakes that I’ve made.

When I remember Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” If God needs to convict me about something, He will be faithful to do that. He is not the God of confusion. But Satan condemns unreservedly. And I am pretty good at helping him when I look inward rather than upward when he accuses me.

When I do sin—“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). My only way to be right with God—for salvation and after salvation—is  the blood of Jesus.

When I know that what He says is real—more real than my feelings about it. When I can pray that He would change me and cleanse my mind from all this junk. When I know that He is making it better. When faith looks to Him, faith grows stronger.

When I don’t have it all together, “in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).

Look to Him, to His Word, pray to Him. In our weak state of human feelings and inconstancies, He is our only hope.

~Rachel Sue

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