We surge through our days at a lightening pace, leaving God trailing far behind. We can only grow if we stop, listen and follow when he beckons us. The path may not be clear at first but keep walking in faith - God unveils his plans to those who let him lead.
”A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
I went to Meghan’s house yesterday for a little one on one time! I came with my bible at the ready, knowing that we had a lot of worries to thrash out. See, when I reconnected with my faith two weeks ago, I kind of half acknowledged that I may still feel anxious about petty things. I was just so excited to get to know God again; it didn’t occur to me that I would REALLY need to prepare myself. I was seeing God through tunnel vision, blocking everything around me out. It’s as if now that I don’t have as many spiritual worries, my body thinks something’s up and replaces all that empty space with pointless worries! It ranges from silly boyfriend worries, to exam results to friendships to faith to EVERYTHING.
I feel so much better now though. Meghan and I prayed together, and talked everything through. We asked God to give us peace. To help us believe firmly that everything was in his control and nothing could fall through his grasp. Once you focus everything on God, it really does feel like a weight has been lifted.
Megz and I were feeling positive. We felt that God had been stirring our hearts and reminding us that the future doesn’t have to be uncertain if we trust in the present. We realised after a lot of time speaking and talking to God that our heads are wayy too far into the future. It’s a blessing that God showed us this just as our results loom. We wanted to express our thankfulness and glorify God, like he deserves!
Megz is pretty talented at photography. So, we came up with some themes and decided to capture some images we felt could portray the average person’s struggles in their faith. We also took some to remind us of the moments we most treasure with our Saviour - mediating on his word, praying, experiencing nature, and feeling free! I didn’t bother to do my hair and we didn’t plan any of the photos – we just talked to God as we roamed around with the camera (Megz couldn’t resist wearing a polka dot dress though :D)
It’ll be nice to look back at some of the photos and remember what they meant to us. Others may take something else out of them, and that’s exactly the point. We wanted to spend a bit of time enjoying ourselves with God and reflecting on everything we had been learning the night before. Someone else may interpret the message completely differently. God speaks through the same thing in so many different ways.
It was a lovely bonding experience with a Sister in Christ. All editing was done by Megz. She was incredibly patient with me and my severe lack of camera skills :P All in all, looking at the photos reminds me that God will free our hearts of all burdens if we simply embrace him and ask. I hope seeing the photos on my blog every time I log on reminds me of his incredible grace and perhaps, speaks to someone who may be on the other side of the world.
I wish I was the kind of person who could appreciate nature all the time! I’m surrounded by beauty, yet rarely do I even stop to notice. If there is one thing I usually stop to stare at, it’s a red sky! It never fails to capture my attention! I have this glorious image of Jesus surfing the red stained clouds to reclaim his people! It fills me with awe, especially because I get the best view of it from my bedroom window. It feels like a personal display for me from God, and even though I know everyone else can see it, I think God knows it reminds me of his presence so he sends me one every now and then to keep my chin up. It reminds me I have faith. That I believe in heavens existence and my existence in it someday. Above all that, it reminds me that I may be a speck on this huge earth, but God never forgets me.
Looking at Gods character, next to our own, can be pretty daunting. Sometimes when I think of how inferior I am next to God’s greatness, I feel like I’m climbing an impossible mountain as a Christian. We’re under the rule of complete and utter perfection - how can we even come close to that? I know I certainly can’t and I become discouraged daily because of it. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve woken up with such enthusiasm, ready to take on whatever God decides to throw my way, and then end up going to bed absolutely drained and disappointed in myself. What starts of as a fire slowly resorts to a flicker when I realise how amazing God is in comparison to myself and my selfish desires. We shouldn’t be disheartened though- instead, we should take heart IN such unconditional love. When we measure God’s love for us, it’s unquestionably the greatest love we’ll ever experience because God doesn’t judge his love for us based on our imperfections. If he did, we wouldn’t stand a chance after we depart this world! The Bible states:
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans Ch5: v8
Even when we were riddled with imperfections, our sinful natures couldn’t overshadow Gods great love for us. Such love can NEVER be equalled or belittled, for God made Jesus the object of his wrath, so that we didn’t need to suffer - "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the Righteousness of God”. (2Cor ch5: v21) This is why Jesus is the only gateway to heaven – because God inflicted his wrath on Jesus, who represented our sinful ways on the cross so that we could have a chance to see Gods Kingdom some day.
Basically, we can access God and all his beautiful qualities of righteousness, holiness and perfection through Salvation, and all because God loved us. We disobey him, lack faith in him, doubt him, and yet he continues to love us.
Maybe you feel like you don’t deserve that Love, and your right - you don’t, I don’t, none of us do! But isn’t that what makes it so powerful? When we accept the gift of Salvation, we can utilise Gods love to lead a wonderful and fulfilling Christian life. He may love ALL his children, but he cannot love our sin. He loves us in SPITE of our sin but it doesn’t mean it can be ignored and we can all be granted a place with him forever!
So what should our response be?
“The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news” - Mark Ch1: v15
This verse epitomises the step that must be made when you accept that God loves you and wants to welcome you a place in heaven. If we do this, our faith is justified through a trusting and loving relationship with God. Karl Graustein calls it being “credited with Gods righteousness” – we can deny our sinful hearts control of our future in eternity!
On a final note, remember that we are saved not by ourselves, but by Gods grace alone – “he saved us not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” Titus Ch3: v5
Get rid of the false sense of security in your life if you profess to be a Christian yet don’t feel you’re experiencing the actions, thoughts and motives you should be having as a true follower of God. If you don’t feel like you’ve grown at all, or even have the desire too. Especially if you find yourself serving everyone around you BUT God, yet feeling as though you’ve fulfilled your Christian duty.
I’ve had to do a great deal of soul searching in this chapter of Growing up Christian. It isn’t nice for any Christian to be made to question the validity of their faith but it’s essential to move forward with God. Don’t ignore this crucial step in your walk with God like I did for so many years. It’s only now, after years of being a Christian that I’ve properly thought about the danger of False Assurance. Now I can move on and feel confident in my relationship with God, and while we may not be deserving of his love, we deserve to know our Savour if we truly wish to repent.