As a kid growing up in the church, I remember asking God into my heart multiple times so he could forgive my sins in case He didn't hear me last time. I don't know why I did that. I guess I just saw other people at summer camps and youth rallies having radical transformations and maybe I thought I did it wrong before.
As a maturing believer, I am now thankful for a life testimony that was gently held by the Lord. Yes, it is true that I don't have any "big" sins for which my God saved me from and perhaps that was holding me back in my walk with him. I am not saying you have to really mess up to be really saved. I am just saying that maybe I needed to truly see my need for a Savior to completely understand his grace in my life.
When I was a child praying in the quiet of my heart at those alter calls that the Lord would save me from all my sins: past, present, future, I guess I thought that was it. And it was. Jesus died once for all. In my mind, the act of salvation had occurred. The rest was on me to do and say the best that I could. It was my responsibility to make good choices that modeled what was in the Bible. I made being a Christian about me.
Something happened this past year though. God showed me my daily need for his grace. (note: obviously there was other growth in my process of sanctification between 10 years old and 30). He put a mirror in front of my face and asked me if I was ready to let him live in all parts of me. Was I willing to surrender my whole heart to him so he could mold and shape it for his glory?
I have never confessed my sin so much as I have this past year. Not even in those blanket prayers way back in my elementary school days.
When you live in the light of Christ, there is nothing you can do or say that is ever good enough to earn his love. His love is a free gift. And yet I feel so unworthy to even accept it. I ask him time and time again to forgive my selfishness and pride and need for control. That he would take away my ugly heart and ungratefulness and harsh words toward those I love.
I don't repent because I question my salvation. I ask God to forgive my specific daily sins in the moment because I know I am unworthy of his unending grace. His grace abounds and I yet I continue to fail. It is frustrating.
Just this week I wrote an email to a friend trying to encourage her in a personal prayer request she sent me. By the next day I was struggling in the very thing I had been praying for her about.
My Love and I were barely talking on the way to church. I sat in worship feeling broken. Why do I do the very thing I don't want to do?
I came before my Savior again repenting of my ingratitude of all he has done for me. My attitude implies that it is not enough. I need more. Oh but he is enough. He is more than enough.
We drove home with few words spoken between us. I want to ask forgiveness of my husband but why do I always have to be the first? Why am I feeling convicted all the time?
The day goes on and I reach for my God Calling to break through the sound of my own annoying voice in my head.
Yesterday's entry read:
"Think of Me. Look at Me often, and unconsciously you will grow like Me. You may never see it. The nearer you get to Me, the more will you see your unlikeness to Me. So be comforted, My children. Your very deep sense of failure is a sure sign that you are growing nearer to Me. And if you desire to help others to Me, then that prayer-desire is answered. Remember too, it is only struggle that hurts. In sloth, spiritual, or mental, or physical, there is no sense of failure or discomfort, but with action , with effort, you are conscious not of strength but of weakness--at least, at first. That again is a sign of Life, of spiritual growth. And remember, My Strength is made perfect in weakness."
How does he do that?! I have never been so thankful to feel like a failure as I do today. I really was comforted by my own weakness. I guess it just means I am growing nearer to God and seeing how unlike him I really am. I need him. Oh the joy in eucharisteo!
It is a heart-aching place to be though. I don't want to sin against God or my husband. But every time I acknowledge that failure, I can more fully accept his grace in my life. I can have a better understanding for my need of a Savior.
My life has been transformed. Perhaps it came in the form of a delayed reaction (like 20 years late), but it has been no less radical.