I really needed the lesson we had tonight in Bible class. It is titled “Anyone Who Comes To Christ Will Certainly Not Be Cast Out”. Today was another day where I was guilty of one of the failures I find most horrid and shameful in my relationship with God. I couldn’t seem to help thinking of the verses that would condemn such actions and it brought me pretty low. I also tried with all my might to rebound and apply the doctrines I know so well and it was a struggle. It was a struggle because the guilt would come at me again and again and the doubt that God could really feel the same about me after I had displayed such weakness (especially toward Him). Lucky for me this was the topic I was already going to talk about. You see, this has been coming at me in several different forms over the last couple of weeks. If it’s not one horrible failure it’s another, and not the usual ones or the more “moral” issues, it’s the sins I fear the most. The ones that relate directly to my relationship with God and causing me to question if it is really even possible that I am a believer going forward. How can one such as me, weak and untrusting, positively reckless in my capacity for evil, be special to God, beloved and encouraged to go forward? Under my recent state of mind, in the more low moments I wonder if there is any reward left to receive.
Despite these feelings, I am convinced that this is a very important stage in the Christian way of life. It’s not just some attack by evil forces to get me discouraged. I think it’s a training zone that all must pass through. It is in this place that only failure can give me confidence. Sure, I am quite confident in my standing with God just so long as I haven’t had a noticeable failure but as soon as I mess up big time I have no confidence in my standing with God until the sting fades. I have always heard the phrase “being right with God” and automatically put emphasis on self. I think to myself, I must stay right with God to have a good relationship with God so that must mean I have to please Him with my behavior and unwavering faith to have continuing fellowship and have Him be proud of me as His child. Only under those terms, God would have to chuck me, because I continually fail and He would have to be proud of me and then disappointed and finally just give up when I’ve finally done something bad enough. These thoughts are anti-doctrine, anti-grace and spiritual insanity!
The confident believer is confident not in their relationship with God but with God’s relationship with them. When God called me beloved and approved He based it on His faithfulness and love, His Justice that is already satisfied at the cross. My spiritual inadequacies, failures, sins whatever… were taken out of the way long before I was born. Just as God is free to give me eternal life because of the cross, He is also free to maintain an unchanging relationship towards me based solely on His own performance, that of Jesus Christ. Even when He needs to discipline, He isn’t disappointed in me. He is maturing me, propelling me forward in love. He just waits patiently till I’m willing to accept the grace for the worst of me and the hopelessness of my ability to put myself in good relationship with Him. It takes rebound(1John1:9) in the face of guilt and for guilt, especially for the guilt. The self thrashing and guilt is the greatest barrier to getting back in fellowship. At some point, one I think I’m closer to, that jump back into fellowship and confidence in God’s approval of me will be like breathing.
And, if I’m ever going to be effective in spiritual battle and perseverance I can’t be without confidence. That is what this training ground is for. If I can maintain great confidence in the face of shattering failure. I will be ready for what God wants to bring in my life. He can’t put me in battles I am not ready for. Great spiritual battles contain great failure and without the ability to know exactly what God is thinking of me, without absolute confidence in God’s relationship with me, I can’t fight. He wants me to be in the game so I can share in His victory. He suffered unimaginably to give this worthless creature all the blessings for time and eternity that He has prepared. Everything about me that goes on into eternity is part of Him. It’s His eternal life I’m going to live, His blessings, His righteousness.
Thank You Lord.