Personal Effort, and Why It’s Useless.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: being a Christian is not about our own efforts.

I frequently mess up and do things that I know break God’s heart. I say I’ll never do something again and then, oh, so easily, I slip up and everything once again comes crashing down on top of me.

But today it was different.

After some crying, praying, and general being annoyed at myself it hit me that it isn’t about me. It never has been, not even a little bit. I’m struggling with something at the minute, something I’m not ready to share with the world but, after having discussed it with a friend last week I was on such a “God high”. I was so ready to be this perfect, sorted person again, someone who had no problems and was just in a great place with God, completely forgetting, of course, that as long as I live in this human skin I’ll never be “perfect” or “sorted”.

But, as the week went on, I gradually spent less time with God each day which has led me to messing up again today.

But I can only be annoyed with myself for so long. Forgiveness isn’t a “get out of jail free” card; God sent his Son to die for me on a cross so I could be forgiven. If I think that’s getting out free then I’m crazy.

Making mistakes doesn’t make me any less of a person. I’m still covered in God’s fingerprints, still made in His image, and nothing will ever change that. He still loves me and will continue to grow me until I finish the race.

The first thing I opened my Bible to after I’d messed up was this:
1 John 4:16-18
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” (NIV)

I think we forget that all that matters, the one thing that can truely change us, is the love of God. Without His love we are nothing, we were made out of love. If it wasn’t for Him we wouldn’t know how to love (1 John 4:19). He loves me through all my mistakes, all my screw ups, all my mishaps, and all the times I mess up. I am His creation and the outward actions aren’t important; my heart is what matters to Him.

I want to spend more time with God, on a daily basis. And not because I want to act out what I think my heart should be doing, but because I know I need Him more than ever. Without Him I become weak and weary and stop caring about the things that need to be important to me. I’d appreciate any prayers that I can remain strong in the Lord, and that I can put on His armour every day (Ephesians 6:10-18).

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