I have known Jesus as a Christian for a really long time. I don’t have a time stamp on it because He’s always been a constant Presence in my life. Our family may not have always gone to Church and jazz, but ongoing conversations about God were mostly normal in our household. So, I always knew He was there. When I decided to “accept Him into my heart”, I was maybe 9? I can tell you the overall story, but I won’t lie, details are fuzzy. And I faltered. I fell in and out of faith, so to speak for years. Until the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Then fear drove me into the arms of Jesus. And I’ve been extremely weak and flaky in my devotion ever since.
Let me explain. I love Jesus y’all. I do. With everything inside of me and nothing and no one can tell me otherwise. However, I didn’t have one “big” moment of salvation that transformed me inside out and right side up suddenly. I don’t have Saul/Paul’s testimony. I’ve been steady in pursuing Him but my life and my emotions and my mindsets, they’ve taken time to renew and refine and grow. And for a really long time, I legitimately condemned myself for that. I felt like apparently, I was a worse-than-others individual because the Bible and God didn’t seem to “stick” enough to make me this quiet, meek, submissive, Proverbs-31, nothing-ever-bothers-her kinda woman. In my own eyes and in my own perspective, I just never seemed to measure up.
And I wonder how many people today are like that? I wonder how many people feel the same way I did. I beat myself over the head with religion for a long, long, long time y’all. I felt like I had to be at every service because if I missed the move of God, I would miss my suddenly moment. I felt like I had to pray more, fast more, be more because if I didn’t, I would miss it. The “suddenly-aha-moment” when God would finally make me a “good Christian.” (Yes, there were a lot of “quotes” on that). I gave up everything that I felt made me come alive in the name of Christ so that I could be counted among the faithful ones. I molded myself to become what I felt, thought and perceived a good Christian to be.
And years later. I didn’t recognize myself. Not in the “wow, God is glorious and He has delivered me” way. No! I didn’t recognize the girl in the mirror. She was weighed down with responsibilities and activities and there was a constant and nagging battle in her heart. She never seemed to measure up to the impossible standard of a Good Christian. I was tired y’all, and I was barely surviving. I had very little light shining in my heart or through my life. I just… I was bones y’all. I was a walking sack of bones.
“Son of Man, can these dry bones live?”
And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”
I am delighted to inform you that I’m not that walking sack of bones anymore. I’m free and alive and every day I learn the meaning of “life abundantly” a little more. I haven’t arrived (not even close) but I realized that God is a creative God and a God that knows me so deeply I cannot even begin to fathom or really understand it. And, if that’s the case, then He knows I love Him and He knows who I am and even better, created me to be who I am. I am quirky and a little confusing and I have a hard time sorting through my thoughts and emotions and separating the ones that are real and not (thank you blog readers for allowing me to do this with y’all.. haha) and I love to be loved and it’s hard when I perceive that I’m not loved and I’m incredibly sensitive and fragile even though I bark loud. He knows that! He delights in that. And those things that I felt made me a subpar Christian, He… He breathes life into and He makes those things grow sinews and skin and then He breathes life and redeems them for the sake of His glory without taking them from me, because it’s who I am. It’s my story… But, He redeems and He sanctifies and then He gives me this story to tell of how His goodness has been my good and then suddenly.. I know that He is God. (Ezekiel 37 progression y’all, read and let Jesus wreck you)
And I think that is what being a good Christian is. Knowing God. Not out of some sermon or impersonal Bible story… I love Bible stories y’all, not against them… but without that rhema revelation, they can’t sustain intimacy with Christ. Not out of duty or responsibility and discipline in spending time with Jesus. But I think that being a good Christian is just knowing God in the way that Scriptures declare all the way through…
“Cease striving and know I am God…” (Ps 46:10a)
“Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and ause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel.” (Ezekiel 37:13)
“I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 37:6)
When He demonstrates who He is in our life and shifts things all on His own, without striving or trying, when He just comes in and transforms and changes everything… that is when we know God. And knowing Him in that real, personal, honest way is what endures. That’s when we become “good Christians.”
And last note y’all…
“… fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author & perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:2)
A little bit of Rhema hit my heart today on this, and I pray it hits your heart too.
Jesus will cause faith to grow in us. We don’t. Our actions and activities, they do nothing. Scripture is filled with moments where God promises His people that He will cause everything that hinders love to be removed. He is fierce with us guys. Our weaknesses? They’re not gonna stand before Him. He is fierce in bringing us to Himself. We just have to let Him, and say yes. That’s it. Legit. So. Cease striving. Know He is God. And believe that, even in the middle of your weakness… You are indeed a good Christian.