Where sin runs deep, Your grace is more
God has been teaching me a lot about how much attention I put on myself lately. It seems to come up in every conversation I have with my husband when he asks me what’s on my heart. Every book I read or chapter of the bible keeps pointing me back to how heavily I rely on ME. Even in the most obscure ways. Or maybe not obscure, but in the most covert ways. I don’t even realize I’m depending on my own strength until God shows me. Crazy how captivating sin can be.
For so long I’ve fought this urge to depend on myself because I knew as a Christian I wasn’t supposed to. I knew I was supposed to depend on “His strength” and on “what Jesus did, not what I’ve done” kind of thing. You know, those cliche things we hear from Christians all the time. But in my efforts to fight the fight against my good works, I’ve actually found myself more focused on them. It’s like when I say to myself, “Okay, whether your read your bible this morning or not, God still loves you”, I’m actually having a battle within over doing what I’m “supposed” to do as opposed to what I want to do. It’s not actually a battle over placing my good works above my faith in God. I’ve tricked myself into believing this over the years.
What I’m trying to say is there’s a deeper problem going on here than my “humble” attempt to not focus on how good I am at being a Christian. I’ve thought that’s been my struggle, but in reality, the REAL struggle has been a heart issue that’s been brewing for years.
In my attempt to not put much value or worth on my works, I’ve actually placed MORE value and worth on MYSELF and not Christ. Because as I try not to focus on what I’m doing or not doing within my Christian faith, I’m actually relying on my actions to sustain my faith. When my heart struggles between spending time with Jesus verse whatever else I want to do, that’s not me living from a foundation of faith. It’s still living from a works-based religion. If my heart is constantly battling what I want verse what I need from Christ, I haven’t actually beaten the battle of placing good works on the throne over God. If my heart is in such a place to even have those conversations within, I’m not focused on Jesus at all. I’m SO focused on me.
When I write, I don’t take time to think through what I’m about to write. I don’t believe in brainstorming or writing drafts. Never have. In college, I would sit down with three hours ahead of me and write 20 page papers. This is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because when I write things about Jesus or my faith or marriage or motherhood, it’s raw and real. A curse because sometimes I just don’t make sense.
So, I hope in all of this I’m making sense.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I think the struggle between sin and Spirit is something we will deal with until our King comes back for us. I don’t believe we’ll ever “arrive” until Heaven. So, in its right place, this struggle is something we all deal with to some degree. However, I do believe we can sin less. I do believe we can overcome sins through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:21). He is at work in us. He is sanctifying us constantly. “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…” (John 16:13).
Today I’m sitting in Panera, reading and writing and praying through all of this. I long for a pure heart so deeply. Sometimes it’s all I can think about. My prayer today is that in God’s kindness He would grant me a heart that longs for Him before anything else, and the wisdom to recognize my sin that is threaded so intricately in my being. I have to believe that just as sin runs through my veins, the Spirit of the Living God does as well. And He is far more powerful than any sin binding me captive.
He died to set the captives free, and I’ll spend my life fighting to live in that freedom.