There was much to repent of.
A time, not long ago, which laid the truth of my life out before me, exposing the very real and very factual ways of who I was, had me on my knees and begging for forgiveness.
It had me killing myself.
Each morning, I would wake up to another day of inadequacies. Another day of feeling like I was the worst sinner on earth. Miserable days would pass, infused with the realities of self-hate, unworthiness, and the thoughts of being nothing more than a total mess of a human. I felt like I was only taking up space in a world that only church-going, saintly men and women were worthy of claiming. I felt as if I had to be perfect.
But, what was, “perfect”?
I spent the long days, months and years, beating myself into submission. Draining the very life from me. Reaching out to fulfill a standard. Reaching for something that was, always, just out of reach. I was never good enough. I was never good enough for God, myself, others, and especially not good enough for the church leaders. I was always failing everyone. Perfection was an endless race never won. It became a marathon that had no finish line.
I was, on top of everything and most of all, living in constant fear.
I began to fear others in ways that I had never experienced before. I was starting to shun myself for not doing the proper things in life. For not doing the proper things at church. The “correct” ways of being were pounded into my head at the sermons, in Sunday school, in the office of the Pastor and in everyday life. I feared God. I feared Him because the fear of Him in others was making them crazy as well.
Thank GOD ALMIGHTY I was able to step away.
I began to see just why Jesus had become so tormented by the Pharisees and Sadducees. I began to see just how many of them now live within His Church of today, and how many of them run the unbiblical churches men have built for themselves. It was because of these false representations of the Lord that I nearly gave up on faith. It almost happened. But, the Lord had something to show me.
He showed me, “perfection“.
He showed me the answer to that question I had about the true definition of perfection. As He guided me to take a step back from the church, He taught me some key elements of His nature. He had things to reveal to me that I was not learning within the institutions or the organized, money-robbing buildings of gold.
He showed me that only HE is perfect.
Why else would God die in my place if it were possible for my to perform at such a level that I could somehow earn His favor?
This one, single realization has released me from the damning grips of religion, shuns from the modern-day Pharisees and Sadducees, the fears, failures, and the constant rejection I would feel at every meeting in the unhealthy environments. It was through His FINISHED WORK that I realized that I do not have to be perfect- for others, for myself or even for God.
I only have to seek a relationship with my loving Father.
People are screwed up. They can drain the life from you, and, in many ways and many times, the religious are the worst. They are guided by men instead of led by Holy Spirit, and that can be a treacherous thing.
I encourage you to seek His counsel. I encourage you to observe the relationship you have with the Lord. Is that religious life; the life of appeasement, a hinderance to your walk in His love? Was that finished work of the cross not enough for you? Do you still feel as if you have to work your way into Heaven? Do you look at your own life and see fear, instead of the blood that was shed for you at Calvary?
As I look at how much my loved ones love me through my failures, and how much the good father loved his prodigal son, and just how much God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, I see just how much the world is tainted with sin, even in the Church. I see just how much the greed of man has weaved its way into the places men have built, even though the Lord says that He is now within us and no longer dwells in temples made with human hands…
(Read Acts 7:42-50)
“Stephen upbraids the Jews with the idolatry of their fathers, to which God gave them up as a punishment for their early forsaking him. It was no dishonor, but an honor to God, that the tabernacle gave way to the temple; so it is now, that the earthly temple gives way to the spiritual one; and so it will be when, at last, the spiritual shall give way to the eternal one. The whole world is God’s temple, in which he is every where present, and fills it with his glory; what occasion has he then for a temple to manifest himself in? And these things show his eternal power and Godhead. But as heaven is his throne, and the earth his footstool, so none of our services can profit Him who made all things. Next to the human nature of Christ, the broken and spiritual heart is his most valued temple.” – Excerpt from Matthew Henry’s Commentary
Folks, be blessed on this day the Lord has prepared for us, and give thanks to the Lord for saving us. Through Christ, alone, we are able to embrace the grace He has provided.
Do you embrace it?