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Exposing My Weak Christianity

“I may grow and mature in God, but I will never get to the place where I don’t deserve death or anything more than a kick in the teeth from a holy, perfect God. The way(s) I fall short may not seem like much to you or it may seem absolutely horrible. Either way, it doesn’t matter. We put degrees on sin, not God.” –What I Deserve, written June 28, 2010

Do you ever have words haunt you? That’s what these words have done for me. I wrote these particular words almost two years ago, but I haven’t been able to forget them.

The majority of the post I can still stand behind, but those words convey something I didn’t really see or want to admit: that I have had a low view of what Jesus has paid for me.

I’ve had this war raging inside me for several years because revelation of the Holy Spirit and God’s word itself testifies of one reality–that we are overcomers and sin has no hold on us–while culture, religiosity, and bad theology says “we’re bad, always will be, and we’re going to work as hard as we can and barely be any better.”

Someone actually called me on this in the comments in that post, but I played it off at the time like I was just going for “dramatic.” If that we’re true, I’m sure I could have let it go, but here we are.

It sounds good, maybe even spiritual, at first glance. “I am nothing without God. No matter what I do I will never deserve anything from Him.” Both are right statements, but what motivates me to say them?

Is it because I am overwhelmed with His love and compassion for me? Blown away by the mercy that reached out to save through Jesus’ blood and brought me to the Father’s table to receive an eternal inheritance?

Or is it that I feel like a miserable failure who messes up all the time and I don’t really believe that I can possibly overcome? That I am more focused on sin and shortcomings than my position in Christ as a new creation who is living in fellowship and life?

The idea that Christians are only sinners with a little bit of knowledge or understanding that other people don’t have is to miss the point of the Gospel. If you made Jesus the Lord of your life, your old self died and you were born again. It’s not a metaphor. It’s a spiritual reality.

We treat our confession of faith in Jesus or the Holy Spirit as a little “help” against our sinning ways when God has provided the answer. He has given us the antidote to the poison.

As long I continue to believe I have the identity of a weak and powerless person scraping by until the one day I’m with Jesus and free from this sinful nature, I will be dominated. We take a curious view of the “weakness” described in Scripture. We take it to mean we don’t have anything of value, but you can look at Jesus who was strong and at the same time completely submitted and dependent on the Father (displaying weakness). He died and rose again so I could have the same strength.

It doesn’t mean that I won’t choose to sin, but it’s not because His grace isn’t sufficient or Jesus’ blood didn’t fully cleanse and purify you.  If I choose to play video games sometimes, it doesn’t mean I’m controlled by them. In this world, we face temptations and we are learning and growing, being groomed for Kingdom reigning for all eternity.

I have struggled with identity for all my life in various ways. I believe it’s why I have been so drawn to the Father’s heart for orphans. I don’t want others to struggle and I can’t say I have it all sorted out, but I know I’m advancing.

Still having trouble with this? His love made the ultimate sacrifice and daily makes the difference. I obviously can’t cover everything running through my head and heart in one post, but read just a few passages of what His word says about you.

How about you? Have you had words you spoke about God haunt you? Have you fallen into this trap of “professing strong but practically weak” Christianity? I would love to hear your thoughts.

24 Comments

  1. I think we all are guilty of this in some form or fashion- I know I have many words that have haunted me, some of them not my own.

    Thank you for your honesty- it is refreshing.

    I feel like saying:
    God is good
    All the time
    And all the time
    God is good!
    TC Avey recently posted..A Passion For SoulsMy Profile

    • I guess what I’ve been taken aback by is how ingrained it is. I didn’t see that I was speaking out of both sides of my mouth, but I suppose that’s why the Father gave us the Holy Spirit--to expose these things! Thanks TC.

  2. I know you read my last post, but I wanted to comment with a little of it because I feel it goes with this post.

    “If we live with the inevitability of lack, we deny that the great Jehovah Jireh can provide the way out of the lack.”

    He has provided a way out of our carnality. It is our choice to take the necessary steps to move out of it.

    I’m definitely with you. I forget my identity and struggle with sin more than I’d even like to think about. The good news is that the choice is still available today. In my weakness He is my strength and that means I have more strength than I could ever need to break free from all the lack that tries to hold me back.

    • That’s really it. It’s not the idea of His provision for absolutely everything, it’s the experience that He wants us to have. We get this right and everything else flows from that relationship with Him and who He made us to be. Thank you, Philip.

  3. I am guilty of the “I am nothing without God” mentality, and I hope to remain so. My motivation?

    He is the vine and I am the branch… I cannot survive or be fruitful without Him.

    God has made me somebody. He has paid the price for my salvation and perfection. That is not in question… But to fulfill His purpose for me, I must remain in Him and He in me. I am dependent upon God.
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..Overcoming the Consequence of AfterthoughtMy Profile

    • That’s exactly what I mean, Dusty. Why would we ever feel we need to be down on ourselves when He considered us so valuable and grafted us in so perfectly? We never, ever have to experience anything less than dependence, but it flows from that love relationship, honoring the Father, submitted to His will and heart. I know I have falsely believed my dependence was there because of my wretchedness and failures, but He took care of that on the cross. My dependence now is one of love and trust because I want to carry out and display that perfect love to everyone I encounter! Thank you so much, Dusty.

  4. The motivation is the key. If we say that we are nothing without God because we understand our dependence upon Him, that’s correct. If we say the same thing because we think that we are worthless, then there’s a problem there. This train of thought doesn’t make sense if we look into the Scripture, as you explained.
    Good food for thought, Jason. Thank you for that!
    Cris Ferreira recently posted..Easter was not an afterthoughtMy Profile

    • It’s sad how subtly these ideas get in and persist. Thanks Cris.

  5. Yeah, you could say I live in a haunted house or my soul cage is a haunted house…
    We all profess strongly in times of strength. It’s when we are weak and fall that the reality of our weak flesh begins to haunt us.
    It’s a fine line between hope or confidence in God and arrogance of the flesh. The latter always leads us to the edge of the cliff… and provides enough momentum to make sure we go over…
    floyd recently posted..OUR REFLECTIONMy Profile

    • I actually don’t think it’s as fine a line as I once did. My confidence in the finished work of Christ, that my old self is dead and my new self is alive in Him doesn’t automatically translate into a sinful arrogance. Scripture definitely tells us to guard against any thinking that promotes a “freedom” that gratifies our sinful desires, but that arrogance doesn’t come from acknowledging who we are in Him. We are led away by our lustful desires, God is not tempting us (as James says).

      I think about David. He was under the old covenant and didn’t have access to the Holy Spirit as we do, but when he heard Goliath mocking Israel, he responded. It wasn’t arrogance to say that he had defeated the lion and the bear and the Philistine would fall just the same. He knew God and that translated into an opportunity to see Him glorified through a weak vessel. God wasn’t upset with David about his bold statements, He was honored through his belief and action.

      Anyway, I promise I’m not trying to be argumentative, but I’ve really been reexamining these things in light of scripture and I’m seeing something hasn’t been lining up in my thinking about this. Thanks so much, Floyd. I love the conversation!

  6. If we all got what we deserved from our Lord, we would be totally consumed. It is because of His love and mercy that his provision has saved us from destruction. Daily he heaps upon us His benefits! Not an afterthought but totally planned.
    Hazel Moon recently posted..A New Career at Age 60 (repost)My Profile

    • Yes! He has plans to prosper us and not harm us, to give us a hope and future! Thanks Hazel.

  7. I’m certainly in that mix even though I’ve been involved in church all my life there was a time when I was younger I really didn’t like to go to church. You see my blood family some are still involved in the hindu religion and they painted a real good picture of what is a real sinful lifestyle but at the time when your a young kid it looked like fun. But as I got older and wiser I learned my savior likes to have a grand party as well but his is better ! Thank God for Holy Ghost and its power !
    andrew singh recently posted..Christmas-Winterland Photo ExtravaganzaMy Profile

    • That is such a lie of the enemy! It has ravaged generations, but we’re showing the reality of His presence and truth and like you said, there’s nothing better than the Holy Spirit and what He brings. Thanks Andrew.

  8. My pastor actually has the word “Perfect” tattooed on his wrist, as a reminder of his status in God’s eyes.

    it is a struggle, ala Romans 7
    David Rupert recently posted..Why God Shouldn’t Give Me What I WantMy Profile

    • That’s an idea, David! Tattoos have always been out of the question for me because I don’t think I would want to endure that pain. :)

      There are struggles for sure, but the more I’m learning about Romans 7, the more I believe that Paul was talking about his pre-conversion experience as he talked about how he “does what he doesn’t want to do.” He cries out, “wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” But Paul has been talking in the previous chapters about how Jesus has set us free. Many believe he’s using an historical present tense (past events told in the present to create a more vivid image). I once argued against this very position, but I have to say, I’m seeing it now. The evidence of the rest of Scripture makes it clear.

      Thanks David.

  9. Hi Jason,
    I have a hard time wrapping my mind around this one too. Because I am so ‘human’ I have such a hard time seeing how God can love me even when I am not obedient to Him. Or how He unconditionally loves an atheist, paedophile, rapist or murder.

    I think part of my problem is that even when I let go of the sin I have done and have repented, others in my family keep on reminding me of just how sinful I truly am. Or say one of my kids is out of line and deserving punishment they turn around and say well what about you? You did this or that!!

    This trips me up because I can only look at God from my human perspective and while trying to understand His deep, endless love for me my mind will come to a barrier and it is like I am floating around and around not grasping the idea of His total complete love for me.

    Good post, thank you.
    <

    • I can totally relate. I truly believe we will be experiencing and contemplating His amazing love for all eternity. We get the opportunity to experience it here as well (inasmuch as we allow Him to change us and we surrender to and receive it). Thanks for your thoughts.

  10. If it wasn’t from Him … His kindness, internally-buriedness, forcefully placing His visions in front of my face and heart … I would never have been in His “life”. Because of Him, I have everything I ever wanted and almost everything I imagined. His faithfulness is all that has counted. My willingness to walk in His path and be a servant forever is only because HE put it in place for me. W/o Him, I could do nothing, ever.
    Joanne Norton recently posted..JAIRUSMy Profile

    • I don’t mean to say in the least that we don’t need Him or would ever come to that point. We are grafted into the Vine. Take us away from the Vine and we’re toast. Jesus said He did nothing without the Father. He lived submitted and He grew in favor with God and man (incredible statement!). Being born again (like being born) is the beginning. To mature into a healthy adult, you have to have a good family life with all the love and support that provides. Progressing doesn’t equal self-sufficiency or arrogant independence. If we lose sight of Who He is and the price He paid, we’re sitting ducks. In perspective, He invites us into such a beautiful, flourishing, fulfilled life in Christ. Thanks Joanne.

      • Maybe I misread something… being side-tracked by my rushy brain today… so I agreed what you wrote before and I definitely agree with your response. If I said something that didn’t make sense, just roll your eyes and forgive my misunderstanding. I have a great deal of respect for you, so definitely like to read your posts.
        Joanne Norton recently posted..JAIRUSMy Profile

        • No need for eye rolling, Joanne. :) I thought maybe I had not conveyed something properly, but I’m glad we’re on the same page. Thanks again.

          • Quit causing problems Jason

          • It’s harder than it looks to quit. :)