Hi friends. I hope you’ve all had a fantastic Summer!
First off, I want to start by thanking you for sticking with me while I’ve been on a bit of a pause from writing. The short version of the reason behind it is that I’ve been taking lots of extra time with Jesus and in His Word since coming back from Colorado and continuing my discipleship training. I completed the training at the end of July and those 100 days felt like such a whirlwind. I learned SO much and the thought of even beginning to try to unwrap it all to share with you feels overwhelming. I have such a desire to share lots of it with you and look forward to doing that slowly over the next months.
Secondly, I just want to be super honest with you about how challenging it sometimes is for me to write. While I have my days of just being totally divinely inspired and whipping out my laptop to write a post in a couple hours and hitting ‘publish’, I also have weeks or months where this isn’t the case. The last few months have felt like the latter. I have a growing list (literally) of topics and scriptures that are on my heart to write about, ways God is teaching me and growing me, but then I’ll have trouble even knowing where to start and how to get all the thoughts down on paper. On top of that, I have times where I’m tempted to go back to all my old posts and change them or even delete them because I start having new understanding on old topics… you have no idea how frustrating that can be! So, what stops me? Well… stick around with me because I’ll actually be sharing more on this today.
First, a couple questions for you. Have you ever had an experience where you’ve walked away feeling ashamed or discouraged because you know way less than you thought you did? Have you ever felt frustrated because you feel like you only have a partial glimpse rather than the full picture? Have you ever tried your best to change a bad habit or make a lifestyle change but then realized quickly, and much to your dismay, that it wasn’t happening instantaneously? My answer is YES to all three of these when it comes to my spiritual walk.
If you haven’t already figured this out about me, I’m what some might call a “go getter”. I see something I want to attain and I go for it. I want to accomplish something and I figure out what my step 1, 2, and 3 need to be to get there. I organize. I plan. I love to read and learn and figure things out. So you can imagine that it’s more than a little frustrating for me when I realize that my walk with Jesus isn’t something I “arrive” at. When I was at my discipleship training one of the leaders said, “Never start to believe the lie that you’ve arrived! This isn’t about reaching a destination…it’s about a journey. Even after this training you are merely a step into a journey that will stretch out before you. This is only the beginning and it will never end until the Lord brings it to completion.” Wow. Brand new information? Not really. And yet, it was a bit challenging to accept that reality.
Interestingly, I’m actually slowly growing to LOVE this about christianity. If godly life were something to attain or achieve, then that would imply that I’m somehow the one doing it by my own willpower, ability, strength, and desire. What I’m learning is that while I’m absolutely not called to a passive life, I AM called to an abiding life. What does that mean? It means I need to surrender myself to Jesus, cling to Him, enter into oneness with Him, and then allow HIM to do His work in and through me. Simple, right? ….not so much. That surrender piece can sometimes be the toughest part.
This might be a weak example, but I’m going with it anyways. Have you ever had to explain a big task or project to someone? Imagine you have to give them the step by step instructions and there are lots of little, complex details along the way. Things could easily get messed up if not done correctly and it needs to be done in a very particular way. Now would it be easier to entrust the instructions to someone else and leave it to them, or would it be easier to just do it yourself? You probably came to the conclusion that it would be both easier AND faster to do it yourself. Now I’d love to encourage you to examine yourself and see if that’s the same mindset you sometimes have with your relationship with Jesus. When I was totally raw and honest before God I realized a while back that I had a tendency to take this approach. When faced with situations, challenges or necessary life changes I was quicker to take things into my own hands than to entrust it fully to Jesus. I struggled through trying to do it in my own strength rather than allow Him to magnify His own strength.
One of the most profound takeaways I’ve had from my discipleship training is to daily remember my position and who does the work. It means preaching the truth to my heart that I am IN Christ. All throughout scripture we see our relationship with Christ being described in this way. What does that mean to be “in” Christ and why is it so significant? Well here are a few analogies:
Clothing. Is it the same to be near clothing….on top of clothing….beside clothing….and in clothing? Absolutely not! The only way clothing can really serve its intended purpose is if you are IN it.
A Tower. If someone is pursuing you with fiery arrows and you see a tower to run to, would you hide beside the tower? Behind the tower? or INSIDE the tower? Of course you’d want to seek refuge inside it! That’s the only real way to stay safe.
An Airplane. There is a law called gravity which is impossible for us as humans to overcome in and of ourselves. However, if we enter into an airplane we enter into a higher law, called aerodynamics. If we apply this spiritually, the law of gravity is sin, the airplane is Jesus, and the law of aerodynamics is His grace. We must enter into HIS work to be able to conquer and overcome the otherwise impossible law of sin. But it’s not something we can do in and of ourselves.
Now once again…why does position matter? Well long story short, when I accepted Christ I entered into His work. We see this type of language all over Colossians and other parts of the New Testament. He died, I died to self. He rose again, I became a new creation. He ascended to the right hand of the Father, and scripture tells me that I am IN Christ! So where am I? In Christ Jesus, seated at the right hand of the Father, having access to ALL things by the Father! Everything I need for life, godliness, victory. All strength, wisdom, grace, patience, joy…. every spiritual blessing. If you really stop to meditate on that for a while it will leave you in awe. The fact that the King of the universe, the Almighty and powerful God, not only saved me but desires Oneness with me and promises to be my provision for absolutely everything. It’s incredible. I get to reckon with every single promise and truth in Scripture as mine in Christ. I would highly encourage you to do a whole study on that concept of reckoning with truth and spend some time digging deeper.
Back to what I started talking about at the beginning of this post…
When I now look back at posts I wrote two years ago, one year ago, even just four months ago, I see that I’ve grown and changed since then. This used to be a big point of frustration for me as I would look at them and just become super critical and think of all the things I would change if I were to write it again. But you know what I realized? It’s a wonderful and beautiful thing. It’s an indicator of growth and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in my life.
When I look back at my thoughts on the topic of Justice, for example, I realize that there is so much more to add about how Jesus’ greatest act of justice was His ministry of reconciliation. I could also find ways to revise almost every other post. Does it mean that the other stuff I wrote was wrong? No. But I’m humbled to recognize that anything I ever write on this site is imperfect because I am imperfect. Don’t get me wrong, Jesus has inspired each post and He has spoken into my life in a very real way on all of these different topics- things like anxiety, revival, feelings, grace, boundaries, etc… but my understanding is incomplete.
The Word of God is alive and active, speaking, convicting, transforming. It’s so incredibly complex and God has chosen to add each single book and story and word is with purpose and intention. There’s an unfathomable amount to learn and understand, and I’ve barely even touched the surface. That is equally thrilling and crazy to me. I’d love to (hopefully) do a short series sometime to share more about what I’m learning about studying my Bible. But in the meantime I want to leave you with a couple of reminders.
Firstly, weigh everything against the Word of God. All else is secondary. Anything a pastor says, a trustworthy friend or mentor, Christian book, or, yes, even my blog, is secondary. Each of us has our own understanding of the Word of God, which can be coloured by our experiences, biases, environments and level of maturity and understanding. I do my absolute best to share more of Scripture and truth than opinion, but I’m still imperfect. That being said, my second encouragement is for you to always go to Scripture yourself and dig deep!! Embark on the exciting, never-ending journey of learning with Jesus. I try to always include challenges and questions throughout my posts in order to encourage you to explore more together with Jesus. At the end of the day my desire is much less about giving information and much more to inspire you to go deeper into a relationship with Jesus.
Lastly, I know there are others out there who are struggling with the daily grind of Christian living and feeling like they’re just so far from perfect. Maybe even struggling with feeling like the journey of growth has been too slow. My encouragement to you is to join me in this prayer.
Jesus, I need you. I’m so humbled to be reminded that I can’t do this life without you. I’m weak and unable and imperfect. Lord, you promise in your Word that when I ask anything in Your name you hear me and I will receive. Right now I ask for a revived joy and passion for learning. Rather than being dragged down by discouragement and feeling like I have so much work to do, I entrust all of it into your hands. It’s not my work to do, it’s Yours. I surrender the areas of me and my life that are in need of more of your sanctifying work. I ask that you would renew within me a steadfast spirit to continue persevering and moving forward in this faith journey. I want to run this race with victory, and I know I need your provision to do that. Jesus I am alive in You and dead to sin! Thank you for that reality. Thank you that you are my intercessor and that in You I have access to everything I need from the Father. What a gift of grace. I’m so undeserving. Continue to work in my heart, my mind, my life. I desire to keep growing and learning. Guard me against becoming overwhelmed at everything I have yet to learn and understand, and instead give me an excitement and joy each time I come into Your presence. Give me a joy for the journey- joy to be present here where you have me right now, seeing the beauty and grace in each day with You. You are the Perfect Teacher. I love you and want to know you more. Amen.
One Comment Add yours
Thank you Jen for spreading joy, sunshine and tremendous hope for the future generation unto my pathway! I’m grateful and amazed how God is using you/ changing you to impact all age groups, including mine. Looking forward to future blogs that will give more insight into the disciple course. and no, i can’t imagine the week at camp, but what a testimony! Stay encouraged and i’ll continue to pray for you!