If we are so obedient, then why do we still have problems?
There was a time early on within the beginning stages of my newfound walk with the Lord that had me scratching my head. I mean, I had started attending church regularly, read my Bible, went to Sunday School before church, read the Bible at home with my family, contacted my pastor often when I needed help and prayed constantly. I was being obedient. I had given up friends and family who were what I considered to be a bad influences.
Yet, I still had problems?!
The continual physical, mental and financial problems remained. I was still mean and angry. “What am I doing wrong?” I would ask myself, as well as asking the Lord in prayer. I really started to believe that I wasn’t good enough for the Lord. I started to believe that God hated me for not being better. That He was not pleased with my efforts.
The good decisions I had thought would make me into a quickened stand up man within the eyes of the Lord, only made me turn into a different kind of monster. Perhaps a saved monster, but not much different than I had been before allowing myself to go all in with my faith in Christ. I became not only a jerk who thought I was better than everyone else, but also a crazed guy who would beat myself up after every single failure. Since everyone else was also failing within my home, I would beat them up too. Beating people with Bible verses and my righteousness. The pastor at our church also spent his time beating people as well. After several months of feeling that my ways were “of God,” and not recognizing my ignorance of the confused shepherd of our church, I began to see the hurt that I was making in my home. I then recognized the pain our pastor was causing. I was making my family miserable. The pastor was making us miserable. The consequences of my actions within my misguided righteousness were destroying my marriage. So, since I was failing God by beating everyone, and since I couldn’t be perfect, and since I tried so hard and kept failing, and since the pastor was killing everyone’s hope with every sermon he preached, I seriously began to believe that all of us were going to hell! The pastor, me, my wife and the kids. We were all failing God, and His wrath was taking its toll because we were obviously not doing an excellent job!
So I thought, for a period.
I started to take a real hard look at the church. I would spend my time comparing the pastors’ teachings to Scripture. I went deep into a study of His Word.
A visiting teacher appeared at my garage one day. He was a man who was simply walking past my home one evening. He seemed to be a bit physically and mentally challenged, but I soon learned that he was a walking Bible.
Paul and I decided to have Bible studies together on Tuesdays. I promise, I could ask the guy anything and he could take me right to it in His Word. He could explain it within context and depth. I spent time just listening. I spent time learning about how the Lord actually loves us, instead of Him being mad at us like I was learning at the building called church. He taught me many things about Jesus, and what we should look like as we walk with Him.
Paul was in my life for only a few months before he moved away. I believe God sent him into my life at the right time, for good reason! His lessons gave me the incentive to keep learning.
Since I had a better understanding, I soon began my own study. I know Holy Spirit led me to the right people, articles and understanding within those several months of deep study and prayer. I was determined to know what I was lacking.
I soon found that what I was lacking was the understanding of His grace.
It took many long years of research and study for my aching heart to realize that His grace is exactly what the apostle Paul had said it is when the Lord had allowed a thorn to remain in his flesh. “Sufficient.” The Lord went on to tell him that “His” power, not Paul’s power, is “made perfect in weakness.” Paul went on to say, “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
This verse opened my eyes to my own truth several years ago. All of the efforts, the constant struggle to be a flawless, obedient, strictly by the book Christian, were impossible. I still failed, every single day. Everyday, I would fail at something.
I am fully aware of the context when the Lord had allowed Paul’s thorn, but I am simply relating it to the truth of my walk with Him. The truth is, His grace is sufficient. His grace is enough. I have been reading His Word for years and have given up many sins. I have prayed without ceasing. I have laid many hindrances at the foot of the cross, and I’m still failing at times. But, through His grace, I am learning. Growing. Confident. Secure in my place within His Kingdom. By the grace of God, I’ve already become righteous in His eyes. This is because when the Lord sees me, He sees Jesus. He doesn’t see my failure, He sees my perfection in Him! He sees The Son in me. When I see my aching heart when I fail, He sees me though. When I become the guy who beats himself up, He becomes my loving counselor. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
We have problems because of the sin within the world, and within us all. But, we also have a loving God who wants us to run into forgiving arms each and everyday. He wants us all, all of us, to relate to His ways of love. He wants us to realize that beating everyone with His Word is exactly what the devil enjoys. He wants us to get back up when we fall. He wants us to understand that His grace is enough. He wants us to say we are sorry, and try again. He wants us to understand that He understands our pain. He wants us to grow in His Word (Bible/Jesus). He wants us to listen to Holy Spirit. He wants us to call upon Him when we are hurting. He wants us to know that He loves us so much. So much, that He died for us.