Recently I’ve been thinking about who I am. Am I who I want to be? How do other’s see me? I’ve been taking a self-inventory if you will.
I’ve become aware over the past few years that to some people, I give the impression of having it all together. To them I appear as one who struggles with little, a poster boy of what being Christian means. I appear at peace.
Some of my friends know otherwise. They know how I’ve struggled. Like when I seek to resolve conflict, I become pushy while seeking resolution. I’ve struggled with confidence, and insecurities, some dating back to middle school. I scrutinize myself under a fine microscope, comparing myself to the life Christ lived himself, to Paul, and others. I try to hold myself to a high standard because as I face hard questions Christianity presents, I seek to answer them the way I feel God would have me.
But I fail so many times at being where I want to be. I don’t find myself compassionate enough to the homeless and the hungry. I’m not humble enough to admit a mistake to an arrogant co-worker. And so I berate myself, and say I’ll do better.
Paul says it well in Romans 7:14-25. “I have desire to do what is good but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing.”
I am reminded like the Lost Son in Luke 15 that I cannot work to bring about my own redemption, I cannot earn my own restoration, cannot work enough to restore what I’ve lost and continue to lose. Last year God taught me much about having faith in Him, this year it is about faithfulness to Him.
And in light of all this, Paul’s words finally lose the sound of being cliché, and a truth hammers home for the first time. “Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-Through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Only God’s grace through Jesus can save me from myself, and only His grace can take me where I want to go. I am powerless to do anything except to throw up my hands, admit futility, and receive God’s grace.
By the same token, I’m finally accepting that I cannot force growth and maturity as a Christian. I have to surrender and accept growth from God. I am a plant that is dependent upon rain, sunlight and, nutrients in the soil. I cannot control them, or place them on a cycle. I must receive what comes.
I must surrender, even as my human nature fights to have responsibility for my growth and my sanctification.