All of who I am is wrapped up in identity in Jesus Christ. Jesus is as real as anything we can see with our natural eyes or sense with any of our senses. In my attempt to really articulate why we need Jesus I think it's best to refer you to my sister's website and a page she has on the subject. Check her out at Why Do I Need Jesus?
For purposes of this blog I figured I would just give you a inside peak of who Jesus is to me instead of getting into a huge theological dissertation.
I grew up in a Christian home. My family was far from perfect but I am thankful my parents taught us about Christ. At an early age I accepted Christ into my heart and was baptized. I believe at that moment my fate was sealed forever with Jesus Christ. However, like countless others I had much to learn about life, my own faults, and desires that were (and sometimes still are) counter to God's will.
As I grew up theologically I could give you all the right answers. I knew my bible stories. I could quote enough scripture to seem spiritual enough. I could recite the sinner's prayer, the Lord's prayer, sing tried and true hymns, and had a bible along with my yellow highlighter pencil to go along with it. I wore my cross, had my WWJD bracelets, participated in the choir, went to vacation bible school, and really didn't cause to much trouble. I loved God, well enough so it seemed. I prayed and I think sincerely tried to be a good Christian.
So, I know you are thinking OK where's the story here? I know it's coming she screwed up somewhere right?
Absolutely! Why you may ask? Well I didn't really know God intimately. I was too busy trying to be right instead of knowing that I was already in right standing with him through Jesus Christ. I tried so hard to be good that I missed the goodness and mercy of God. All this trying just leads to two things - self-righteousness and condemnation. I was self-righteous, easily pointing out others faults while ignoring, justifying, and making excuses for my own. I am reminded of the following scripture:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean." - Matthew 23:25
I was so busy trying to do all the right things on the outside while ignoring the hypocrisy brewing on my inside. So here comes my late teenage years. Thank God for teenage years. Why? Because after they are over and you have done your share of stupid things you realize how absolutely imperfect you are. I tried to lead a double life even into college. Going to church like I normally do but still living like everyone else. And no I did not do drugs, go to wild parties, drink, steal, or do much of what you would categorize as extreme college rebellious behavior, but I was still just like everyone else. I pretty much stayed with my husband, I looked down on others often speaking unkindly towards them, I held people at standards I could not even keep myself, I was insecure, I had the fear of man, I was manipulative at times, really the list goes on. And since much of this wasn't blatant crazy behavior that's where the deception comes in because you think you are ok just cause you are a little bit "better" than everyone else.
If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. - Galatians 6:3-5
So fast forward to today. What has changed? Well towards the end of college I really started seeking God more. I was tired of all the outward stuff because I felt so miserable inside. I needed relief from myself and really started crying out to him. Was it an overnight thing? Absolutely not. Through years of truly seeking after him he has gradually torn down the idols in my life and shown himself to me. Has it been easy? No. It's hard to really hate your sin especially when you like it. But we are called to hate our sin and we can only do it by the power of His Spirit. Trying won't get you there. You will just hit a dead end and be left feeling condemned for how far you are from reaching the mark. And that's just the point. You can't reach the mark. That's why Christ came for us all. All of us are sinners even the so called goody two shoes with a boat load of skeletons in her closet.
OK I am rambling. I don't even know what point I am really trying to make. It's just that really knowing Christ changes everything. He can change the whole way you think and give you peace from your striving. He is faithful and just to forgive us of all our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. The more you know him and he bails you out of things, gives you peace in impossible situations, and melts your heart with his mercies, you are more willing to let go of your created self and find your identity in him.
I hope these ramblings have helped someone out there. If you are tired of trying just wave the white flag, surrender, admit who you are, and leave it up to him to change you.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. - Philippians 2:12-13
Be Blessed :-)