"My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." 1 John 2:1-2
Maybe you are like me. When I fail, when I sin against God, I beat myself up exponentially, and I pour heaps of condemnation on myself. I tend to think that I am the worst person in the world, that I am not qualified to do anything as it relates to ministry, and I find myself depressed. More often than not this depression or view of myself translates to a poor attitude, and I become easily frustrated, one failure tends to lead to another. Maybe you don't experience this, it is my hope that you don't. I have a tendency to be extremely hard on myself, I demand perfection and unfortunately, I'm not perfect and won't be on this side of eternity. I so often feel like I let God down because I am not perfect.
How arrogant can I be? How prideful can I be? How easily can I be deceived into thinking that I can and should be perfect, and even worse, that I can do it in my own strength. How silly a thought.
Why did Jesus come? Why did Jesus live a sinless life only to be crucified for the sins of mankind? Why did God raise Jesus from the dead? Why did God give us His Word? Why does God place His Spirit inside the believer? Why does God take the time to point out what needs to go in our lives and help us correct it? The reality is, the answer to all of these questions boils down to the holiness of God, the depth of His love, the reality of sin and our desperate need for Him.
Now before I am taken to task or considered a Graceist (all grace, no need to change or strive after the things of God because I am His and I can do as I please etc.), I fully believe that we should be striving after the things of Christ and that as Jesus stated "Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). Here is the thing though, we are in all in desperate need of God's grace and though we are to strive after the things of Christ we are not going to be able to do it on our strength, and we are to learn from God's grace that which we would learn from discipline. This is a life long process that God is working out in your life. One of my biggest problems in all of this has to do with my past and my earthly father. I was never good enough, I was a failure and there was no grace. I have a tendency to place the characteristics of my earthly father on my Heavenly Father and this is a grave error. See when I fail, I immediately hit what I stated earlier in this article because my earthly father would tell me these things and the enemy whispers them in my ear (or at least those seeds have been planted). It is very hard for me to understand, and receive, God's grace. I constantly think I am letting him down and I am a disappointment . The reality is that when God called me and adopted me into His family, He knew/knows my issues, my ins and outs, my flaws, my strengths, etc. because He is God, He is my creator, He is my Father.
I for one am tired of hating myself for what Christ died for. He died and rose so that I may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10) as my faith is in Him. I am saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). I am in desperate need of Jesus, I cannot do this on my own, I absolutely cannot, no one can.
Praise God for what is shared in His word that we have an advocate in Christ Jesus. When we fail, instead of beating ourselves up, we need to run to Jesus. John 3 states that those who practice the truth come to the light, and this demonstrates that God is at work in that persons heart (John 3:17-21). We have an extraordinary blessing as believers in Jesus, our debt is paid, we are free in Christ. I need to remind myself often that I am not alone, that the Spirit of God resides in me and I am covered by the blood of Jesus, and Christ has provided a family of believers to walk with so that we may do life together, united in Him.
May we be a people that run to Jesus and cling to Him, always. The Scriptures below are ones that I often meditate on and pray through, I hope that you find them encouraging.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10
"Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:13-14
I would love to chat more about this, leave a comment and lets chat! God bless!
Below is my new single Blind.Sight. This song is a bit of my testimony as well as dealing with some of the realities I stated in the article above. The chorus is simply "I'm so sick of myself, sick of my sin, oh Lord I need Your help, I'm thankful that You, see Your work through, You finish what You start"
I hope you enjoy what you hear!
Joe Bragg is the Ministry Director for Kalamazoo Youth For Christ. Joe also has the awesome privilege to lead the youth ministry at his church, where he was previously the Executive Pastor. Joe and his beautiful wife Stephanie have 3 wonderful boys, a shaggy dog and a cat that thinks he's a dog. Never a dull moment!