There is a desire within my heart that is seemingly never satisfied. I constantly seek affirmation…always needing the approval of others to validate my identity and worth in this world. It is testament to my heart having not come to a full revelation of my sonship in Christ; a frustrating realization, as I have preached and encouraged others to understand this truth. If it is true that I am the LORD’s beloved child and if it is true that my validation and worth comes from being an heir within the Kingdom, then why do I see it fit to continually evaluate my status based upon my physical appearance, academic/job/athletic performance, and the relationships and/or lack thereof.
Ridiculous, right? A “man of the faith”, a reader of The Word, a student associated with ministries that are stirring up campus-wide movements for the LORD, and yet I find myself struggling with doubt, uncertain of my worth. What is it about our culture that has taught us to seek after wealth, position, power, and status to the point of utter exhaustion? Somehow we’ve bought into the idea that if you do not have a bachelor’s degree or higher, a high-ranking position within a corporation or organization, and a trophy spouse and successful children, then somehow our lives amount to nothing. Well, perhaps it is not far from the truth. Sure, for a mere 80 years or so, we wonder about the earth, building relationships, acquiring wealth, creating and mending conflict, etc. but at the end of the 80 years, and maybe a generation or two later, little is known of any of us. Perhaps, you will be a famous evangelical such as Billy Graham, CT Studd, or the present-day Marc Cahill. Most likely, however, you will simply be just another man or woman that proclaimed themselves as a believer…
IT IS NOT ABOUT US THOUGH, is it?
I confess to you that I am a selfish man, as I struggle with and fight against this concept on a far too regular basis. Legitimately dying to myself (Galatians 2:20), living as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and throwing aside every hindrance to follow the LORD wholeheartedly (the entire Bible stresses this) are NOT natural or easy things. They require the work of the Spirit on willing hearts. I’ve heard it taught that God is a gentle lover, never forcing Himself upon His children, but always waiting, with arms wide open, until we run to Him. It is then that we can BEGIN to understand His love for us. I say begin, because I believe that it is a journey and we will never FULLY comprehend nor understand the love, grace, and mercy that is offered to us daily. How could we possibly comprehend such things? After all, we have spent the majority of our lives calculating ways to EARN everything. “In order for my parents to allow me to _____, I must first ______.” “If I am to win the heart of _____, then I must first _______.” With God, everything changes. He simply says, “I love you.” “Come to me, all who are weary and heaven-laden.” He does not say anything about cleaning ourselves up, making ourselves presentable, ridding ourselves of all doubt and discontent. NO! He says, “Come to me, I love you.” And yet…we run.
WHY DO WE RUN?!?!
WHY DO YOU RUN?
WHY DO I RUN?
Yes, I run….I run from God. I have done it on numerous occasions. Allowing myself to walk in sin a time or two, and then deciding that God no longer desires me, I allow myself to wallow in self-pity for days, possibly weeks, sometimes even a few depressing months. Gosh, I am STUPID. Why? Because in the end, I always come back to Him. Every time, I come to the realization that without Him, I have nothing. With Him, I have everything. So why run in the first place? Why not stay continually in the arms of a loving God, the best Father we could ever ask for?
I’m not entirely sure I can give an answer to the previous question. It likely has something to do with us being sinners, having hearts that are naturally turned toward sin due to the “original sin”, or “the fall” of Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden a long time ago. Regardless, I have a desperate desire for the day when my heart will no longer be inclined towards such things…I want so badly to love God more and to absolutely hate sin. I want to be sanctified to the LORD and to walk in fellowship with Him for eternity. Every day, I come to a better understanding of being torn between two worlds. Trip Lee, a present-day hip-hop artist for REACH RECORDS, produced an album titled “Between Two Worlds” a couple years ago that portrayed this reality quite well. Paul, a man that wrote the majority of the New Testament, also understood this when he spoke of the spirit and the flesh being in conflict with one another and struggling with not doing what he knows he ought to do.
What is the cure to all of this nonsense? Quite honestly, perhaps there is no particular antidote that will forever awaken us to the deadliness of sin and our desperate need for the Savior, Jesus Christ. Perhaps, for now, it is a process. A process of slowly coming to a better understanding. My simple prayer right now is a cry to the LORD to send His Spirit to open my eyes more to this reality. I want a greater understanding of Christ’s love for His Bride, the Church and I want to see how I can better portray my love back to my Father in Heaven! Surely, a God that continually loves me despite everything and is always seeking after my redemption is worth following wholeheartedly, abandoning everything, and living recklessly for. O Church, it is time for us all to be praying such things, for us all to seek after God with every fiber of our being. I’m convicted that our generation does NOT pray enough, nor do we spend enough time digging into Scripture, searching for “nuggets of gold” as my brother in Christ and nearly lifelong friend, Jake Weakland, would say.
Awaken our hearts, O God. Open our eyes, Holy Spirit. Save our souls, Jesus.
“How great the desire to be desired; one sip of the potent blend of euphoria that it brings and we’ll do just about anything to obtain it again.” LORD, teach us the depth to which you desire our hearts, that we may lay aside such childish desires in order to fully embrace, understand, and serve You.