When I was in middle school, I allowed myself to express my anger unhealthily to my brother. When I was in high school, I took a shortcut and did not fully participate in the “5k final” we had to do for my P.E. class. When I was in college, I partially lived a double life my first quarter, mesmerized by and trapped in sin. I constantly fail to communicate my feelings which leads to unfair resentment and lasting brokenness. I constantly live in self-righteousness that easily goes against everything Jesus has ever stood for. I constantly paint myself as “one who could never do wrong” and as a result saying “I’m sorry. Do you forgive me?” seems foreign to me. The messy, inevitable, and undeniable truth is that I will never be free of inescapable disappointment from the world.
One question that has overtaken most of my thoughts begins with this: If people saw the way I acted, would they honestly be moved to follow Jesus?
My innate pride shouts, “Of course!” Yet as I have been reflecting on it, the more I am reminded of the sin that I am constantly tempted by. Why do I quickly respond the way that I do? Why does that question seem almost rhetorical?
With the amount of heartache and frustration that exists today, I do admire the push to spread lovingkindness, support small businesses, and tear down unjust actions. I deeply admire the easily attainable news and information that fills my social media. Thank you for sharing your favorite small businesses. Thank you for educating me on racism. Thank you for providing ways to reach out and donate to others. Thank you for sharing with me where you stand even if I do not fully agree with it. Thank you for inviting me into your viewpoints.
I can only really speak for myself, but one area that I have been struggling with is this unending temptation to prove how good I am. Not to automatically force blame upon social media, as I need to be accountable for my actions, but part of it is related to my image on social media. “Retweet this, share this on my story, don’t forget to like this and follow this page” but if I’m being honest about my insecurities, this is all me saying “Hey, let me prove to you all that I am a good person. Please approve of my actions. See how I do this and don’t do this? We are on the same side, don’t worry!” And well, let’s be honest, I live unashamed by the gospel. People know this and without even asking me, I’m sure there are a lot of assumptions made about my beliefs became I am so adamant about my love for Christ.
As I have been thinking about my quick response to the question posed earlier, I realized that my answer has been to the wrong question all along. I have been asking this: If people saw the way I acted, would they honestly be moved to follow ME? “Be like me” is the self-righteousness that lives in me. “Do exactly as I do and live the way I live.” I’ve mentioned before that I am a 1w2 on the enneagram or for short, I take a lot of pride in my morals. I am only brutally honest because of the overwhelming guilt I will feel if I lie to you. That’s a great summary of who I am yet there is no justifiable reason for my flaws. The problem that exists is the pride that I allow because I believe that I am naturally a good person with high morals.
The problem with that kind of mentality is we, or in this case, me, I become the judge. I decide who is good, who is bad, all according to my standards. I am deeply flawed and filled with inescapable disappointment due to my very human nature. Who is to say that I have earned more simply due to my “moral high ground’? Who is to say that the 21-year old college student gets to be the judge of right and wrong? We all sin. We all fall short. Oh man, if we truly got what we deserved, none of us would be alive right now. Romans 6:23 reads, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I was humbly reminded in a sermon last weekend of the intentionality of John the Baptist when he continually says, “I am not the Messiah.” I, as well, am not the Messiah. I am not here to tell you to be like me. I pray that you do not deal with the insecurities, pain, and sin that I deal with constantly. I pray that you do not hurt people the way that I have. I pray that you do not have to constantly hear Satan’s lies. I pray that you fully understand what it means to be created by God, loved by God, forgiven by God, and promised salvation by God through faith. It is a beautiful day to give your life to Christ if you decide to do so.
With eyes on my life, there will be an inescapable disappointment. I am not worthy of any sort of glory. I wish I could embody the compelling character of Christ. I am not the Messiah. With eyes on who Jesus is, you will find tremendous glory in the love, grace, mercy, and compassion of Christ.
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Colossians 1:15-17
It does not matter what you have done or what you have not done. You are loved simply because you are a created being. You are loved simply because God chooses to love you. He knows everything about you and He chooses to love you regardless. “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:17 You do not need to be perfect. You do not need to earn your salvation. Friend, if the Bible is true if Jesus is who He said He is, do you realize what this means? Do you realize that this would change absolutely everything?
If people saw the way I acted, would they honestly be moved to follow Jesus? I honestly do not know. I would like to hope so, but also, I realize the pain and hurt I am capable of causing and have caused. I do hope that I can point people to see who Jesus is for who He claims to be, take the Bible as it is. I pray that I can do the work God calls me to do and to live a life that honors Christ every single day. It is less of me and more about Him. I pray that my pride does not get in the way of furthering His Kingdom. I pray that I can love God and love people every single day.
Though every day is a beautiful day to give your life to Jesus, I am not forcing you to do so because of a feel-good message. In fact, that’s a good reason to not trust Christianity. Be skeptical, be very skeptical, but I encourage you to begin to question everything. How did we get here? How does the universe have order? Who is this Jesus? What non-Christian sources point to or against the validity of the Bible? Ah man, if Jesus is proven to be who He said He is, do you realize that this changes everything? I invite you to seek truth. May you find the tremendous glory in who God is.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they communicate knowledge. 3 There is no speech; there are no words; their voice is not heard. 4 Their message has gone out to the whole earth, and their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun. 5 It is like a bridegroom coming from his home; it rejoices like an athlete running a course.6 It rises from one end of the heavens and circles to their other end; nothing is hidden from its heat.” Psalm 19:1-6