Joshua from Virginia wrote in response to my recent Breaking Free blog, show how that process has not been easy for him. I love the issue he raised and how he responded to what I wrote. Grace is not something we get for a day or two, it’s something we need for life. We will stumble and fall but as you can see in this exchange, God transforms us faster when we keep relishing grace, not as we stew in condemnation.
It’s a nearly unbearable heartache to go through this again. I mean, I know I have nowhere else to turn but Jesus, but I hate the thought that I’ll have another spiritual catharsis, write you a letter like that guy did, and then be spiritually sick again in another four or five months. Can you offer any words of encouragement? I feel broken and down – and the kind of irritating thing is I probably will not feel so bad in a couple of hours – then I’ll probably do something stupid again later on today and wonder whether I’ll ever have a stable Christian life. This is not healthy.
Here’s how I responded to him: This journey can be complicated some times, can’t it? I’m sorry you’ve gotten sidetracked again somehow, but anyone on this journey knows what that is like. Yes, it seems we make great headway for a season, then find ourselves marooned again on our own self-pleasure and wonder what it is all about.
The letter you read is not a momentary catharsis. I am in touch with the man who wrote it and some wonderful things are going on in his life that I’m certain will bear fruit years down the line. But I guess time will tell us for sure. One thing I know is that this growing in Christ often has times of fits and starts and distractions and falls and the people who find freedom and fruitfulness are the ones who keep getting back up, going to God accepting his forgiveness and drawing near 40 times a day if need be.
It seems guilt might be overriding you in failure. It makes you feel bad for a while, then lets you up and then slaps you down again. That’s pretty consistent. Somehow God needs to make it real for you that he is your partner in sorting out this bondage, not your critic and judge waiting for you to get it right. Invite him in, even at the moment of failure and let him do what he needs to do in you to set you free.
He’s really good at this; we are not. He just wants you to get to the end of yourself, so you won’t keep trying to do what only he can do. I don’t know anything more encouraging than that!!!!
You go, Bro! This is what the journey is like at times. Discouragement only ensures the cycle. Receiving his affection at the place of our brokenness is what breaks it. I’m praying for the latter in your case…
I loved what he wrote back:
I’m going to get back up and trust Jesus. I’m going to trust that He’s not just a nice one of us, that His grace truly is sufficient. I’ve been believing in an insufficient grace lately – a grace that stands aloof, arms crossed, wondering when I’m going to pull myself together. That’s just not true. Thank you for being a gasp of fresh air for an oxygen-deprived mind.