Note: This article was inspired by a question brought up during a conversation I had with my university colleague. Thanks to this question it opened many more insights on living an authentic Christian life.
Right after sharing my testimony to my classmate from basketball class, I was given a question that peaked from her curiosity. It went something like this: “It seems like you’ve had a share of what your life purpose is and a sense of God’s will. What’s more to it? Is that the highest climax a believer can ever achieve?”
Your story of righteousness and eternal life doesn’t stop at the part when you remember what God did and how much intervention it took to save you. I say this because in the early stages of being born of the Spirit, it is easy to depend on that testimony as your source of joy and as the thrill that compels you to share the experience with others whom you care about. As much as it is refreshing to recall and be encouraged with the transformation that you experienced in the past, there will come a time that a testimony will come as an unfinished chapter especially when the Christian starts to realize that more intense difficulties are ahead. This no doubt encourages us to seek God continually to add meaning to the rest of our lives in every kind of season to overcome.
#1. Repentance Saves.
Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”—-Luke 5:31-32
I remember thinking that doing kindness is good enough to cover up the struggles I had with self-pity, anger, and resentment. But doing these acts without knowing the sole reason for the struggles, created so much disillusionment in me. I would always lie on my bed at night thinking about how I could make up for my foolishness—-how my actions have hurt other people, and myself and later after so much of what I went through, I had realized God got hurt as well.
Why the disillusionment, you ask? Well, you really can’t live by agreeing to something without letting go of accumulated baggage first. It only creates more pressure. Imagine hearing a piece of truth and being convinced of it for the wrong motives or reasons. Something in us; our attitude and nature has to change.
Recurring bad habits are simply a result of self-denial of your weaknesses, which God can turn into something more than just an evidence of shame or mistake. These habits don’t just disappear without turning back from them and not merely ignoring them. For a while I had denied that I needed intervention in my life, thinking that problems would go away on their own. Depression despite the anxiety of feeling looked down by others, the pressure of doing well, and trying to avoid being a burden, did not stop God from seeing potential in me and neither does God lose sight of that potential in those going through similar upbringings. All it takes is for the patient to continually seek encouragement and guidance from the Doctor, and heed the advice. Even a little faith, trust, (the size of a mustard seed) is enough to start a relationship with God. Continue that relationship, and faith will grow.
#2 No condemnation in Christ.
The common reaction of the struggling person is to run to God when things get tough as there is none nearby to understand or empathize the gravitating burden. It is no wonder that a hardened heart cannot truly experience grace until one’s life is nearing the edge, but it doesn’t have to reach that far to experience transformation. Faith and obedience, what God tells you to do, go hand in hand. Nudges apparently do not mean much to you unless you heed it immediately and if you dread the nudge, sooner or later it will ring like an alarm when problems become overwhelming. Just like mistakes, sin hardens the heart as hard as stone. While raising defenses seem tempting, and surrendering to forgiveness, a “no way” option, choosing to allow yourself to be forgiven by God will reshape your focus into the present, as if your past struggle had not happened. Raising defenses doesn’t necessarily push away someone who is always patient with you. God is ever so willing to even help you understand what you are going through when you start your relationship with Him.
“I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake
and will never think of them again.
Let us review the situation together,
and you can present your case (testimony) to prove your innocence.”
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.—-John 3:16-18
#3 Life will hurt, but that doesn’t mean life is meaningless in itself.
Bad days don’t necessarily mean a bad life.