[A guest post written by Rebekah Ormord]
I have learned over the past 10 years that many of the things I was taught as a child regarding God, Christ, Scripture, and the Christian walk were just plain wrong. And that is a hard thing to accept.
I worried that the process of going down a path of questioning and deconstruction of my faith would completely undo who I thought I was. I was afraid that I could not survive it and, honestly, I was afraid God couldn’t either. However, I pressed on. I had to pull away the layers and examine them individually.
My goal was for God to be happy with me and I wanted to know what I needed to do to please God. I failed so many times that I just prayed the good outweighed the bad on the heavenly scale. I knew that if I complained or bragged, I would lose some jewels in my crown later down the road. I wasn’t sure why you wanted a crown or jewels on the crown but I wasn’t taking any chances. From all the talk, it sounded like a good thing, another measuring tool for my worthiness to attain a place in heaven.
Then one day, I read this passage in Luke:
He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:16b-21)
This was a life-changing moment for me as God spoke deep in my heart that this is why Christ came. This may sound crazy to some but I thought that he came because I was a sinner and needed saved. “Saved” meaning that someday I would go to Heaven and God would look me up in His big book and my name would be written there and then.
Whew, I was safe! Barely!
This passage says that that he is here to bring healing to the broken hearted, the sick, the broken people. I was just beginning to understand what love meant. What love compelled him to do.
I had not experienced this kind of love so I didn’t understand it. I didn’t really understand that God’s heart was so filled with compassion for His people that Jesus took the form of a man and came down to set me free from sin, sickness, brokenness, and distance from Him. He came to remove the obstacles.
He desires to be one with me. I learned that this oneness occurs, not when I stop sinning, not when I have it all together, not when I say the right words or do enough good deeds. This oneness develops over time when I let go of all of the rules. When I stop trying to be good enough for him. When I let down all the pretense that I use to fool people into believing I am a better person than I am.
Friends, you cannot fool God.
Be real and sit with God. Acknowledge that He is with you. Desire to be one with God; he will not force this. You must have a longing to know Him. The real Him. Not the one that someone says he is. He is the same and yet so different for each of you because he knows your unique point of brokenness.
He knows you have been abused by those who say they know Him.
He knows that the word Father strikes fear, or even hatred, in your heart.
He loves you and wants to set you free. He wants to open your eyes to His truth. You can stop striving to be a better person. Instead, rest in him and watch his presence transform your life.
The more you spend time with him, the more you are drawn to him , the more the things that keep you trapped will start to lose their hold on you. You can then stop focusing on the problem and start focusing on the presence of God in your life.
It starts small.
Just sit and imagine him next to you and talk to him. Remind yourself through a calendar alert that he is with you. Just take a moment in the middle of chaos and say, “You are with me. I recognize your presence.” Start looking for him in the everyday, in the mundane.
Right before you go to sleep, recall where you saw him that day. Was it in a baby’s smile? A kind word from a stranger? Someone letting you into their lane? There are so many ways God shows up in a day. The more we look for his imprint, the more we will recognize it.
The greatest of all gifts is not heaven, it’s God with us. The more you acknowledge God’s presence, out loud, and learn to literally sit with him, walk with him, talk with him, the more the other stuff falls away and one day you look back and realize that God has really transformed you. He has transformed your thinking, your doing, and even your “being.”
Being with God transforms your motivations as well as your perspective. You see sin as a jail cell and God has the key to let you out. He is waiting for you to want to get out. Do not use your freedom selfishly, to sin more.
Use your freedom to love more.