the good, the bad and the ugly

“Since a broken world is all we’ve ever experienced, we can’t begin to appreciate how far things are from the way God intended them to be.”

-Andy Stanley

I’m sitting here thinking about the blogs I’ve written and specifically the ones where I’ve opened up and shared about my past and the hurts I’ve had to face. I think the last blog I wrote in which I’ve had some people reach out to me and tell me to keep hanging on. This blog is to serve as a follow up.

I realize just how far I am from God and yet how close I am. I realize how far I have fallen from God when I sin and yet he lives in me. I realize that what he speaks is truth and yet I live in a way that is contrary to his word. I realize there are times I feel so close to my Savior and times I pursue him and nothing else in the world matters.

I think sometimes that I feel I am not measuring up to the standards God has called me to. Sometimes I’m a bit too hard on myself and sometimes I am like that with others. On this journey called life, I am realizing that God is faced with the good, the bad and the ugly.

Romans 8:28
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

• The Good

Here’s my honest assessment. While life isn’t exactly the way I thought it would go, things aren’t nearly as bad as they could be. I’ve thought a lot about the times when I thought things were going well. I remember spending time with my roommates, taking college courses and learning about theology and serving in the church. Life was good. There is a specific time I think about too because remember thinking to myself, while in that moment, everything is good.

It’s like I’ve lived out my “glory days” as a believer and the rest is downhill. Life has simply got more difficult as the days go by. That’s just wayward perspective though. Life isn’t always about where you are but where you are going.

We need to be devoted in our pursuit of God.

• The Bad

Psalm 139:23-24 (ESV)
“Search me O God and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any grievous way in me, and LEAD me in the way EVERLASTING.”

I am a great sinner. I have often seen myself as someone who can identify with Paul when he said that he was the “chief of sinners.” He knew how bad he messed up. That was an honest assessment of his carnal nature. He knew there was nothing good in him. What a testimony.

I want to wear my heart on my sleeve and share that same thing. I’m a total screw up. I have spent so much running from God and staying away from the person he has calling me to be that I sometimes wonder why he still pursues me.

I am a great sinner and this is the only thing I ask-that God search me inside and out and speak softly to my heart and reveal anything in my life that does not honor him. When I am convicted, may I act upon that conviction, standing in the grace of God, throwing off the sin which entangles me and rest in the love of Christ.

We need to radical in our obedience towards God.

• The Ugly

I’m taking the gloves off for this one and going out swinging for the fences. Spoiler alert: this may very well offend people. Sometimes Christians act more like asses than God’s children. Not joking about that. Yes, it’s pretty intense language but let’s face the facts-we backstab each other like crazy. One theologian once said that Christians are the only group of people who line up their firing squads in circles.

I sometimes wonder if we know anything about grace because we limit that grace to others. We often care more about under understanding of God than the relationships God wants us to pursue. Christians, we are not perfect but we are being made perfect.

This past Sunday at church I heard a story of a man who came to a shelter and needed a place to stay. He was given a room and he stayed and then he would run off and get caught up in his old habits. He would crawl back, time and time again. Every time he returned he was met with love and grace.

Years passed before he finally gave his life over to Christ. He is a changed man because he was forgiven, seventy times seven. Forgiveness is the greatest miracle of all and somehow it is the hardest to give away. Not for God though! He freely gave his only Son Jesus, who freely gave his life for us.

We can love one another because Christ first loved us. We can forgive one another because Christ first forgave us. We can serve together because Christ first served us.

We need to be unconditional in our love towards one another

Lamentations 3:21-24
“Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him.”

I don’t how God works things out but he does. I don’t how God is working in people’s lives but he is. I face trails all the time and Christ overcomes every one of them. I face pain in this life and Christ overcomes. I endure hardship because I sinned and Christ intercedes for me. There is disunity in the Body of Christ and God is still over all, through all and in all.

Life is a mess and God is still in control and he is still working everything out in accordance with his plan. Life is a struggle and everything that I have faced, everything I am facing and everything I will face, God is going to use to lead me to become the person he desires me to become. All he asks is for me to trust and obey. Life is hard but God is bigger, God is greater, God is stronger.


 

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