I mentioned my writing awhile back to someone new, and a friend joined in to tell the person a little more about my blog. Then she closed it with “but it’s just for a small bible study group right?”
I winced internally, because although I appreciated and even identified with her shock that I was so transparent in my writing style, it kind of took me off guard. No, actually my blog wasn’t just for those who have already come to Christ.
It was for believers and non-believers alike. It was for people who think that they have to have it altogether, and they don’t. It’s for those that thought they did, but realized they didn’t. It is for those who just outright know that they don’t have it altogether.
Because none of us do. We are human. We are broken. We are fallen, saved by Grace. We live in a fallen world, and nothing about us will ever be perfect here. And I think this gets lost in translation somewhere between the lost and the believing. I think that as Christ followers, we think we have to portray that we are perfect in every aspect of what we do—and that is not the case. If anyone that didn’t know Jesus personally ever picked up the Bible and read it cover to cover, they would come across so many broken, messed up people who loved God and loved Jesus with all of their hearts, but who did not have it altogether.
There was a point right after conversion that I thought I must be perfect—now. Because now, I have the Holy Spirit indwelling me—so that must mean that I have to be 100% perfect, 100% right, all the time—because the Holy Spirit is never wrong.
Well—There is some truth to that: The Holy Spirit is never wrong.
But this led in my mind to internal frustration when I would say or do the wrong thing and not even realize it—and I would start to doubt “is God even with me?” “Is the Holy Spirit really / still inside of me?” “why did I do/say that, if He didn’t stop me?” It took me awhile to realize that even as a new Believer, I was not going to be perfect. That I was a work in progress, and He was perfecting me, day by day, minute by minute.
I am still human and I still think with my human mind, which I don’t always have submitted to the Holy Spirit.
*gasp* Not always?
Well, *wincing* plain and simply, No.
It is a daily, continual process of renewing of my mind, and resubmission to my Lord constantly. I would love to live completely and entirely under the Holy Spirit’s direction and be able to hear and discern every word that He tells me. However, this requires extensive time in His Word and though I used to do this with regularity and intensity, I have lost a lot of that fierceness with which I dove into His Word.
I admit I am horrible about staying in His Word continually. Human fallenness. Laziness, pride. There’s a whole bunch of things I could contribute it to, but pretty much it all boils down to one thing: pride. Which is never a good thing.
But not only does He want me to live in continual submission to Him, at the same time, He also wants me to learn by just living, and doing, and acting on my own—and He will correct me as I start to even start to venture off-course.
Just imagine if you started out driving to someone’s house across the country, and at every step someone told you exactly where to go. (Hmm, GPS?) Well, after a while you would start relying so heavily on the person telling you that you stop thinking for yourself. He wants us to think for ourselves, but also along with Him. We are not intended to be robots, following every move He says—but rather, humans, indwelt by Him and guided ever so gently by Him.
Of course in my human pride, sometimes I start thinking I know better than Him—than God—and I head off and do things my own way.
As I start wandering off course, He acts like the rumble strips on the side of the road, jarring my mind into action. But if I ignore His warning, and I head even further off the pavement, I stop sensing His voice and His presence as much. Then I am all of a sudden in the soft grass where I don’t hear but the quiet whisper of correction…and next thing I know I am upside down in the ditch. Usually bleeding. At this point, it takes concerned citizens (brethren) to come alongside me and help me get back on track. It takes guidance from the Holy Spirit, whom I was ignoring the whole time—until I found myself hanging upside down in the seatbelt, in the ditch, with glass in my eye. If only I had listened—there was a blessing in that obedience that I missed. By disobeying, I only got myself in a heap of trouble, in pain, and miserable. And now it might take an extensive amount of healing to get me back where He was directing me originally. But nothing is ever lost—God will work all things to the good of those He has called. This does not give me the right to go out and blatantly disobey. He doesn’t bless disobedience. But, He can redeem me when I have ventured off course, gotten myself hurt, and cried out to Him in agony and despair, turning my ways completely back to Him once again.
Sometimes it is easier to just swallow my pride and ask for His help in getting my mind focused correctly so that I can be obedient, before I wander too far off course to begin with.