"For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet, God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins." Romans 3:23-24
I've been on a journey the last few months...Undedicated to the things I once was on fire for. But I asked for it.
There are no regrets that I have, and honestly, while I've found myself looking through the lens of shame, I've realized it is not a lens that God wants us to see life through.
I say that I "asked for it" because as a new Christian, I've only known the goodness of God. I've only known the mercy that He gives and the blessings that He provides from an obedient heart. However, as we start to walk deeper into a relationship with him... things that were once simple and clear can easily become muddled and overcomplicated.
I used to say "I don't understand how ANYONE can be depressed when they know God. I don't understand why ANYONE would turn away from him." I believe God wants us to have understanding...
When my relationship with Christ is no longer about Him and I... it turns into a relationship that relies on me being with Him for other people.
It is no longer a relationship that is going to be healthy or solid. In fact, it is no longer a relationship that has any passion or drive, but begins to burn on the fire that other people feed with their words, their actions, and their view of my words and actions.
Eventually, the flame is fed the wrong words, poisoning what was once thriving. Because the flame is being fed by people and not the Holy Spirit, inside it starts to be put out.
It's not all at once though. The first lie comes slyly... first asking us to Walk away from the Body.
The enemy attacks in a very "subtle" way saying, "It's okay if you miss church this week. They want so much out of you. They expect a perfect person. You can't give them that right now. It's okay, go back again when you get your life together."
Since that flame inside of you is reliant on other people, this makes sense. Church is no longer about me wanting to go or about me enjoying praising with other people, but about other people judging you...waiting for you to mess up...
There's a jealousy. A sickness in the Church... when someone seemingly walks closer to Jesus than someone else. We become targets instead of saints. Instead of being encouraged we get torn down. When the relationship is already dwindling, this is the last motivation that the enemy needs to keep you out of the doors that were once a refuge.
The second lie comes in stronger than the first.
"You don't need to read your word. It just makes you feel bad. God can't be close to someone who sins so much. Remember the bricks that get built up. Remember that He turns his back on sin. So how can he look at you? Don't read your Word. Don't you want to be happy? He can't talk to you right now. He's ashamed of you."
The judgement you felt from other people is now shifted from just other people to the very God you found your sanity in. Not only did you turn from the body, but now you are turning away from the Head. There is no more dangerous place to find oneself...
Once the Head is completely detached, you are no longer living. There is nothing left of you. You have been isolated. People reach out, but through the lens of defeat, everyone looks like the enemy.
When the third lie hits, it hits the hardest.
"See, you don't go to church, you don't read your bible. You don't even listen to worship music anymore. YOU ARE THE SAME PERSON THAT YOU USED TO BE."
Nothing. Nothing in the world. Nothing on Heaven or on Earth will make you feel any smaller than believing the lie that you are the same person that you used to be.
All the progress. All the mistakes it took to get where you are. All the victories. All the Wins and Here we sit.... LOST.
Seemingly, just like before.
You know what.... God never stops pursuing you. He never stops crying out. He never stops reaching.