Falling Apart Into The Grace of God

Here's the lie:  "As you get older and more mature, you will get better at being a Christian."

Maybe it's not a lie for everyone... but it is for me.  I fully believed this lie for years and years.  Logically speaking, maturity should lead to greater stability, stronger commitments, unmoving consistency, and mind-boggling spirituality.  Maybe it does for some people... but it doesn't for me.

I'm accepting the reality of my story.

  • As I mature, I am realizing how incapable I am of stability, commitment, consistency and spirituality.
  • As I mature, I don't find greater strength... I find greater frailty.
  • As I mature, I am quick to confess my faults and inabilities, and marvel at my successes.
  • As I mature, I am finally able to see and understand the big picture of The Gospel... beyond the "salvation message".
  • As I mature, I am finding joy, comfort, dependence and ongoing hope in the grace of God.

When I was young, it was easy to stay in shape.  I could eat what I wanted, ride my bicycle all day, and stay up all night.  I can't do that anymore. I was healthy... both physically, and mentally.  I'm not really old yet... but I'm no longer young.  It's hard to stay in shape, and my mental condition isn't quite as stable as it used to be.

I'm not getting better.  I'm getting worse.

Or maybe, quite possible, I'm just accepting reality.  Maybe, quite possibly, I'm just tired of all the false pretenses... the Christianese lingo... the pressure to constantly read, memorize, quote, and conquer... the extra-Biblical churchy rules... the right words spoken from a wrong heart... Maybe I'm learning what it means to be authentic.  This has been my prayer for years...  "Lord, help me to be authentic."  Has the answer come in the realization of my great frailty?  Probably.

 

In all of this... I'm finally beginning to understand the comfort that is continually offered to me in God's grace.  I'm finally understanding what it means to be the prodigal son who has returned to his Father.  I know well, what it means to be the older brother who stayed in his Father's presence, and yet, never found a desperate need for His grace. I like to think that my story is everybody's story... but many are still in denial of it.  Many are still thinking that they can get better at the rules, the sunrise devo's and that whole 'loving your brother' thing.  Like I said, maybe this works for some people...

I know this.  I love Jesus.  I mostly love the Scriptures.  I have accepted that it is my job to serve God's pleasure, so as long as it pleases Him, I'll continue being a pastor.  I will never be the iconic celebrity leader that people like to  follow... but as I do lead, it will be as a man who is falling apart into the grace of God.