I am a Christian, in the sense that I believe Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. However, for the better part of my Christian walk I have been doing it wrong — Christian living that is. Let me tell you how I know.
We took a new foster placement two weeks ago today. She is a doll, although… she is every bit of a 2-year-old and has tried some less than endearing terrible two antics.
It is a pleasure to serve her.
A few days ago, we had another diaper clad visitor in our home, a sweet visitor that was our last foster-love for 18 months who has since returned home to her birth mother. We are blessed to still get to see her and we are so proud of her little family and their restoration story.
So, on this evening we had three under three – all three in diapers. A smell was creeping from the play room. I walked in and inquired, “Who stinks?” And my five-year-old, Sam said, “They all freeee stink mom! It’s too many babies, you’ms livin’ your life all wrong.”
And it is a lot of babies.
But Sam is wrong… I finally got it right.
No, not the foster care thing. That’s hard. And the last month, even though we are delighted in the repair of our sweet love’s family – it was sad to say goodbye.
Still, we worship a God of restoration. And we are either people of restoration – or we are not.
I thought I was doing Christian living for a better part of my 45 years, I have believed in Christ, but until a few months ago I didn’t believe Christ.
I didn’t believe He knew me.
I didn’t believe He cared.
I didn’t believe I was forgiven.
I didn’t believe in the completed work of the cross.
So, I worked tirelessly, fearfully – to appease Him and make Him love me and know me and cut me some slack. When anything bad happened, I figured, “He’s mad again. I’ll have to try harder.” I tended to my sins and constructed law upon law to conquer it. I made a list, and laminated it, and checked things off and added more. This was Christian living to me.
And when anything bad happened, I constructed a new list, and I laminated it.
I tended to my list with boundless piety. The list, whether I succeeded one day and failed the next helped me stay engrossed on my sin and the law and distracted me from the entirety of the cross… and my Jesus. The list, or law highlighted my sin – it didn’t cleanse it.
The result was a wound up, hyper hysterical, hot mess. I was anxious. I was sad… and I was angry. No matter how many virgins I threw into the volcano…. Bad stuff still happened. I was altogether run down and broken. The opposite of someone forgiven and saved. The opposite of what Christian living should be.
Still, I professed a wisdom about all things right and wrong. These declarations afforded me a pompousness – a self-righteous stench that allowed me to believe I was better than those who struggled with sin, “worse than mine.”
Alone in my room, I believed I was no better. But from my luxury car with my first world problems I sighed and cautioned, “tsk-tsk so glad that my sin doesn’t stink as bad as his… or hers.”
But in August, I fell into the arms of Grace and the real Jesus and began to experience what Christian living really was.
I believe Him.
Believing Him changes everything. No, not that He existed. Not simply that He lived, died and lived again… but that He completed the work and left it hanging on a Cross on a hill.
I believe He knows me.
I believe He cares.
I believe I am forgiven.
I believe in the completed work of the cross.
So, I rest in the fact that the blood worked – I cannot appease Him and make Him love me and know me and cut me some slack, because He loves me perfectly – right now, today. I need only believe. When anything bad happens, He is there to comfort and protect me. He loves me, and He expects nothing in return. His perfect love, casts out all fear and worry. I needn’t tend to my sins, or construct law upon law to conquer it. I have thrown away my list – but not my laminator, because I was born to laminate. He made me a doer, and He knows that’s how I roll.
And when anything bad happens, He is there for me – to comfort, bind up and protect. That is Christian living.
These words seem small – altogether simple. But, before, I was the one making them impossible.
In my walk as Christian, I believed.
In my walk as Daughter, I am complete.
It’s a good day to fall into the arms of the real Jesus. A great time to start doing it right.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God. 1 Corinthians 8:1b-3