Growing up as a good kid who always did what was expected of me, there is another attribute of myself that I am running from and have been running from my entire life. I tried everything I could to cover it up and pretend it wasn’t there. The fact is I have a rotten heart. On my own, I am in full rebellion against God at all times. My flesh, what makes me who I am, my personality and desires all constantly scream against God.
Each day I would try to do better. To be kinder. To be more sensitive to others. As a Christian, those are things I should be doing anyway, right?
Isn’t that God’s will for us – that we be more like Jesus and less like a sinner?
The past few weeks have been quite a journey of self-discovery for me. As I have stated before, the self I was finding was not what I was expecting and more disheartening than encouraging. I did not find a sense of peace from the self I discovered. What I unearthed was a crafty, duplicitous, conniving, malicious and conceited monster. And I can be honest and tell you that I am not enjoying these things. I grew miserable and very aware of how unlovely I am.
Thankfully, Romans 5:8 says that Christ came and died for me knowing full well my potential for evil. While I was still a sinner, before I could try to clean up my life and do good, He came and died for me.
My Father brought to mind Philippians 4:13. Let me remind you of the context. Paul was struggling with one of those “respectable” sins we look over so easily. He had learned that even with all the riches of his upbringing (3:4-6) or after losing everything, He could be content. He would not complain. Is complaining really that bad? I mean, it’s not like I am rebelling against God or anything.
I believe my misery stems from the fact that even as a Christian I am still not ok with being a sinner. As I read through Bridges’ Respectable Sins and Ephesians with our team, I see more and more how deeply rooted my sin lies. In my heart I want to just be a good person without needing God every day to do anything good.
What God has reminded me of is that, yes, my sin, no matter how acceptable it has become in society and even among Christians, is always labeled as sin. It is, in its essence, rebellion against God. I had just found that my heart had become desensitized to rebellion in its most subtle forms.
But praise God I can come to Him as I am! Do I have bitterness and strife in my heart? I can repent and know that He hears me and wants me to come. I can come to Him with my heart, no matter how selfish and proud and repent, knowing He will forgive me. And this is the grace of living a truly broken life. Knowing how thoroughly stained I am with sin and not running from His exposing light.