I find it interesting how human beings continuously run in circles that have no end. Trusting in God the one moment and clinging to identification through an idol the next. Resulting in the primary trust of their own self. The loop is continuous amongst the vile, feeble and weak human nature. I write that I find it interesting, yet Paul is clear that it is inevitable of our nature in the flesh.
It is sickening and heart breaking to think how many times throughout the day my mind goes through this very circle. My mind will dwell upon the flesh more than it will the Creator of the earth. My heart longs to please man more than it does to bring glory to God. This is a result of allowing my present, ever changing circumstances to be the very place of my affection. This is ignoring the truth that God never changes, he will always be the same.
I am looking at the last few months of my senior year of college. I am still, after all these years, clinging to the things that I can achieve on my own power. I am still seeking my value, acceptance and worth in things as little as my ERA, my GPA and how I feel loved by others. Things that are of the world, attributing nothing in eternal value. After these years I thought I would able to stand tall and proclaim that I have overcome this vicious cycle. Yet after four years I can confidently say that I have not. I still awake every single morning to my multitude of idols apart from Christ. I know what the word of God says about me, yet no matter how hard I try I am on this constant circle of dangerous thought.
It is incredibly important to note that I cannot view this sin with the lighthearted nature of that once I graduate I will not have this problem. This is inevitably false because this is not just a circumstantial sin, this is a deeply entangled root that will grab ahold of the next stage of life. My fight for perfectionism and acceptance will reapply itself no matter the situation, a change in circumstance will not cause it to mute.
The root is that my unbelief lies in what Christ accomplished on the cross. I have heard it countless times, have read it daily, and have shared it more than I can remember. However, if I truly believed it, I would no longer be spending my days trying to earn my worth and acceptance through my own hands. I would be able to rest each day knowing that I have been purchased and adopted by the precious blood of Christ. I would understand that I am justified through the death of Christ, which is something I cannot have accomplished myself. I would truly understand that I cannot earn anything in eternal weight by my own hands. So why do I continue to chase after the wind, longing to acquire more through my hands?
The truth is, my circumstance is always going to change. The problem lies in that I am not secure enough of who I am in Christ to embrace the present in the security provided through Christ’s blood. Nothing that I do can add to or diminish God’s love for me. Yet there is a disconnect from this truth and my heart’s deep pressure to strive for man. My character is changing, God’s is not. My plans are feeble and wavering, his are sure and steady. I am incapable of finding my own way, but he is unchanging and his promises firm. Everything about me will change except the truth of my forgiveness, salvation and adoption.
“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” -James 4:14
The key is not to pursue my own way with the mindset of bringing glory onto God. To truly bear the Holy Spirit is to experience the transformation of my thoughts and deeds to align with those in accordance with the word of God. In comparison, I am mist, absolutely nothing. My self-measuring mechanism needs to radically collapse into the sovereignty of God and the peace that depends solely on God’s will and favor. Therefore, the work of my hands cannot continue this vicious cycle of seeking to glorify my own name today or tomorrow.
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith- that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible may attain the resurrection from the dead.” – Philippians 3:7-11
My greatest obstacle in this is the dependence I put on my own resources. My finite nature cannot to lead to a man-made self-sufficiency. Instead, all confidence that I possess in my flesh must be demolished in the light of Christ’s righteousness. Everything that I accomplish in my time frame as a vapor is rubbish, absolutely nothing in comparison to eternity. My salvation is not earned by anything I accomplish, but solely what Christ accomplished that I cannot. Nothing that I do can justify myself before God. My comfortableness in my to-do lists, my unattainable standards and in my false identities must be shattered. The distractions need to be refocused in light of my citizenship in heaven, and not an earthly acceptance in accomplishment. I cannot be dependent on others for contentment, but my contentment must rest in the gospel and oneness with Christ. My eyes shall look above and beyond my circumstances, set on the one who’s ways and plans are infinitely perfect.
I crumble under my constant failure, but I am stabilized in the gospel. My circumstances are being used to soften my heart and grow in fuller understanding of my weakness, finite nature and complete utter dependence on God. I cannot be satisfied by the acceptance and praise of man, or a worldly sense of perfectionism and accomplishment. Yet I am learning the powerful peace of being satisfied with the Lord alone as my portion. I am learning what it means to rejoice in my weakness, for it is evidence to others that I cannot stand on my own. I long for my circumstances to not cause me to question his goodness, but to give thanks with a grateful heart for God’s tedious pruning of my ever sinning heart. No matter my failures, my circumstance, my shortcomings, my weakness and my lack of acceptance from the world, His grace is sufficient for me. I rest in that Christ is compassionately completing his work in me.
My identity is not found in between the white lines. His grace is sufficient.
My worth is not based on my ERA, opportunities or record. His grace is sufficient.
My purpose is not found in a yellow ball with red laces. His grace is sufficient.
My acceptance is not determined by my GPA. His grace is sufficient.
My value is not measured by my future after graduation. His grace is sufficient.
My worthiness to be loved is not found in my fiancé, but in the work of Christ on the cross. His grace is sufficient, He alone is my surpassing worth.
How well I am loved by others is not cultivated by my performance, appearance or possessions. His grace is sufficient.
For I am healed, restored and forgiven. Christ Jesus has made me his own and completes his work faithfully in me. No matter the circumstantial changes, Christ is my sure and steady anchor. I am a vapor that fades in the morning. I am the grass that withers as the breath of the LORD blows on it. The Lord stretches out his canopy and allows me to dwell in the shelter of his wings. I am a lamb, that my shepherd carries in his arms. (Isaiah 40). Nothing I can do on my own will ever compare, for there is no good in me apart from him. His grace is sufficient for me.