I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m a messy, broken, struggling human. I’m aware that I certainly don’t have it all together. I often fall flat on my face. You know that scenario…the day’s going great, but suddenly something comes along that “trips you up” and you dive into defeat.
In fact, this made me chuckle as I just now thought about my recent experience that inserts perfectly here. Although it was thoroughly embarrassing and utterly humbling, it fits too well here not to share it.
Our family was singing and speaking on a week-long Caribbean cruise. (I want to take this time to say thank you to everyone who joined us…the time was quite special, and we loved having each of you there!) One day, we visited Cozumel, Mexico, and rented mopeds with some friends. There were eleven of us. Now I’ve safely driven many different vehicles in my life. From cars, mini vans, four wheelers, tractors, and trucks, to full sized vans, motorhomes with a trailer, and a 45 foot bus…You name it. And I’ve never had an accident with them. I am a safe driver. (Something you just may question after this!)
As I climbed onto the moped, I told my husband that I feel more vulnerable driving this scooter than I do our bus. I really should’ve listened a bit more to that check in my spirit.
We headed directly into busy and chaotic Mexican traffic, thankfully without incident. I knew that the most important thing I wanted to be thinking of was how to use the hand brake. I wanted to know how to safely stop this thing. We drove just a bit, but then my husband pulled off so we could decide where all we wanted to go. I began applying the hand brake, but forgot to let off of the gas with the other hand. How many of you know you can’t expect to stop while you’re still gassing it? No matter how hard you press on the brake! Yeah, lack of coordination must get worse with age. The crazy thing just didn’t STOP!
The next thing I knew I had side swiped another bike, ran up over the curb and totally wiped out on the sidewalk. The police saw it happen and came to ask if I need an ambulance. Thankfully, my pride was hurt more than anything. We drove for three to four hours, (including some crazy, city traffic!) and I finally had the hang of stopping this baby. (Insert laughter here.)
Yep. Some times things are going along just fine, when you unexpectedly nose dive into defeat. We all have those moments. It really doesn’t matter how strong of a Christian you think you are. Yes, we’re redeemed and a child of the King. But we’re still embodied humans. A work in progress.
So how do we find our identity in Christ while struggling with our sin nature? There are two extremes which seem prevalent in our world today. One side wants to only identify with what makes us feel good about ourselves, while the other side is a condemnation mentality, thinking of our Father as a harsh God ready to berate us at any minute. The enemy wants us to go extreme in either of these directions.
As a daughter of the King, I am greatly loved and highly favored by the God of the universe. And that’s a sobering, yet joyful thought. It’s sobering because I know I’m not always very lovable. Yet it fills me with great joy because I know His love isn’t contingent on whether I’m lovable at the moment.
In my humanness, I can identify with the apostle Paul as being a “chief of sinners” and I recognize my need for my Savior. The “old man” has been crucified, but the flesh must continually be put to death or it springs back alive again. If you are a Christian, I’m sure you recognize that you are still tempted to sin even after you’ve been born again. Why? Because the flesh is still alive. And because the flesh is still tempted, we need to stay aware of our tendency to fall into sin.
However, the biggest difference is that we no longer desire to sin. Yes, we will sin. But there’s a huge difference between a child of God falling into sin and an unbeliever deliberately choosing to sin. God sees the difference of whether you want to sin (and make excuses for it) or when you unexpectedly fall into sin.
Under the old testament covenant, God made it clear that if His people obeyed, they would receive a blessing. If they didn’t, they would be punished. This is the kind of logic we usually use in parenting. Do this, and you will receive a reward. Don’t obey, and there will be consequences.
Under the new covenant, God gives us a simple command. John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” It’s that simple. Yet, so hard because of our flesh.
Positive thoughts and words are life-changing and very important. But viewing yourself as a child of the Father and truly grasping His all-encompassing love for you will never be enough. In the same way, only fearing God and His judgement will never be enough.
So what is enough? What does God want from us? I believe Micah 6:8 says a lot in a nutshell:
“He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?”
Oh, the joy it brings when we recognize our worth in Christ, do things that are right and just, show mercy to others and walk in humility when we fail.
Satan is determined to trip us up in any way possible. If he can’t do it through pride, he will try it through condemnation. My friend, God never brings accusing, condemning thoughts. When He brings conviction it’s in a gentle, loving way. Never through harsh accusations.
When we intimately walk with God, we’ll see He’s not condemning and berating. He’s a merciful, gentle and loving Father. Ready to wrap you up in His warm embrace, look deep into your eyes and see your heart’s true desire to please Him. And He say’s, “You are enough. You are loved. And you are mine.”
I was telling myself that if I I can drive a bus, I can certainly drive a silly moped. And I was praying. But I still crashed. It doesn’tmatter how you view yourself as being God’s child, you will still fail. But that should never keep you from viewing yourself as God sees you.
Oh, the joy this brings! Your weapon of joy can then in return be used against the enemy of your soul. Neh. 8:10, “…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
accusation > condemnation > gulit > sorrow > defeat
gentle conviction > repentance > forgiveness > joy > victory
Let’s choose victory!
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)