I recently read a quote in Jesus Calling, a daily devotional book, that really encouraged me. It said, “I have chosen you less for your strengths than for your weaknesses, which amplify your need for Me.” Throughout this whole year, I’ve seen again and again just how many weaknesses I have. There aren’t many sins listed in the Bible that I don’t struggle with. I struggle daily with greed, jealousy, anger, sexual sin, drunkenness, gluttony, all kinds of idolatory, selfishness, gossip, prideful thoughts, judgmental thoughts, hateful thoughts, and many others that would take too long to list. I also routinely battle doubts, anxieties, fears, feelings of inadequacy, feelings of depression, feelings of guilt, and even feelings of guilt when I don’t feel guilty but feel like I should. Aside from all these things, I can also be pretty hypocritical at times. I don’t naturally enjoy sharing the gospel, or serving the homeless, or putting others first, or even going to church. There have been many times when I've stolen, lied, or cheated when I knew I could get away with it or when I knew it would make me look better. It's much easier for me to be inappropriate around non-believers than it is to share about how much Jesus loves them. I naturally just live to please myself and do what makes me feel good. I make my life all about me. I used to think I was a good person, but the closer I've grown to God, the more I've realized that I'm not a good person. Not even close. Even when it looks as if I’m doing good things, my motives are a lot of times more for selfish reasons than motivated by love. Like it says in Isaiah 64:6, even our righteous acts are like filthy rags. Recently, I have been feeling just like the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 1:15 when he says that he is the worst of sinners.
As I’ve been realizing just how much of a broken person I am, it's been very easy to get down and discouraged. I’m starting to see just how helpless I am apart from Christ. When I control my life, I literally can't do anything of eternal value (John 15:5). Thankfully, God has also encouraged me through this process of humbling. I've been reminded that my salvation is not at all based on my performance as a Christian, but totally, 100% on God’s grace. That is such an awesome thought! With this in mind, I've told myself to worry less about doing things for God, and instead, to focus on being with God. Spending time with him in prayer, spending time reading the Bible, spending time thinking about God's character. And then trust that He will work in my heart and change me from the inside out. This is the good news of the gospel: that God has done for us what we could never do. No amount of church attendance, prayer, giving of my money and time, mission trips, or good deeds will ever get me even one step closer to Christ. All that is needed is to trust that Jesus' sacrifice is enough and to have faith in Him. Once we realize this, and this is only by the help of God's grace, do we become like the man in the parable of the hidden treasure in the field. Once he found the treasure, he joyfully sold everything he had to buy the field because he realized that nothing else mattered, not comfort, not success, not money, not anything.
My prayer is that God will open my eyes so that I will treasure a relationship with Him so much that everything thing else in life will just fade in comparison.