1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.”
So failing at obeying this passage right now. I’m not quite sure where or how it started but I have been pretty much doing the opposite. I have had a hard time praying, feeling like God is ignoring me anyway. Instead of rejoicing I have been moping and full of self-pity. Yeah. It’s ugly. In everything give thanks? Not even close. I don’t feel godly, and I am sick of talking about Jesus and not having the courage to truly live as though He is the only Truth that matters. My reality this week is brokenness and wondering how on earth I could be one of God’s chosen people. I have doubts. I sin. Sometimes I hate more easily than I love. Right now, I am dissatisfied with what God has given me. These things aren’t comfortable to say, but they are real.
Friends, being a Christian isn’t something I would have chosen. It’s God who chose me. I don’t know why He did, but He doesn’t always make sense to me. Sometimes I really don’t feel Him at all, and I wonder if we are all just nuts to follow this Jesus who lived for like a nanosecond in Earth’s recorded history.
This is honesty. I am not trying to be blasphemous or put my feelings above the truth of who God is. This happens every once in awhile to me, and I will bet I’m not the only one. When I feel like this, I don’t feel worthy to call myself a Christian or to tell other people about Jesus. I feel like a fraud. How can I lead other people to look at Christ as Savior when I don’t feel close to him at all?
During these times, I have to remember the times God has showed himself to me. When I can’t hear his voice, I will remember the time he SPOKE OUT LOUD TO ME. When my prayers seem to go unanswered, I remember the time I prayed for my vaccination to be free..it wasn’t..until they realized they had given me a child’s dose and had to give me another shot. They sent me a full refund. Or the dozens of other times He has showed me that He DOES hear me and is fully capable of acting on my behalf. I remember the stories I have heard of things that supercede rational thought and expectations-babies that weren’t supposed to live who do, real life demons cast out of people, and things that are just plain logic- the fact that the universe is so delightfully ordered, and the amazing mechanics of the human body. I reflect on personal experience: the evidence of CHANGE: my new life that has come through seven years of seeking out God and seeing him respond to me..through his Word, through answered prayer, through His people, and through the power of the Holy Spirit that gives me a desire to live for Him and not myself any longer. Though I see clearly my failings and more often than I like to admit the remains of a rebellious, prideful spirit..is it not a confirmation of the Spirit living in me that I agonize over it?
I have to take comfort in the fact that I am not okay with the shortcomings I see in my heart. I don’t always repent right away. Sometimes I want to nurse my bitterness or my disbelief. Right now I am loathe to let go of my funk..I want to sit in it for awhile..take a break from just going along with God’s plan. It is an internal war. I see why people argue God’s existence..it makes you feel more in control. I feel out of control. God chose me, my life is His. It’s not mine. Sometimes His plan in my life makes me sad. But I know that’s because I can’t see the rest of it yet.
Jesus proved He was God back then by rising from the dead. All the people around Him SAW it. Thats why history changed, that’s why the apostles’ lives shifted to being all about telling people about HIM. He has been God from the beginning, we were made to know Him: to worship and enjoy Him. This is true. It’s true when I don’t feel it and when I do. I hate feeling like this. But..it causes me to go back to the basics and put my faith in Him all over again. He died for people who didn’t love Him because He loved them. I know He is the only answer to the brokenness I can see in the world, to the brokenness that still flares up in me from time to time. I can honestly testify that most of the time I am content, truly content and so thirsty to know Him more. Most of the time I am really excited about who He is and what He is doing. Right now is not one of those times. Right now I need prayer and I need to be reminded of who He is.
Just writing this out helps. I’m sorry if it makes me look like a bad Christian. I am comforted by the fact that there were lots of failures in the Bible..and God loved them anyway. This does’t mean that sin is okay. I think we need to examine ourselves for the evidence of Jesus in us..if we claim to be His then we should look different..not outside only but we should see that difference in where our desires are. I do. I know that (even when I am being obstinate) Jesus is all I truly want, and that He has made me new. That is what makes me a Christian. I’m a Christian because God is real and He saves people. His love is not a result of anything I do..whether I succeed or fail from one day to the next. I want my feelings to catch up with this reality again. God, help me with my unbelief.
“A thousand times I fall, still your mercy remains.
Should I stumble again, I’m caught in your grace. Everlasting, your light will shine when all else fades, never ending, your glory goes beyond all fame..my heart and my soul, I give you control, consume me from the inside out, Lord. Let justice and praise,become my embrace, to love you from the inside out.” -Inside Out by Hillsong United