“My sorrows are almost all tied to my sinfulness or the fallenness of the world, and in both God will show himself to be sufficient. I want to point out verse 10 (Ephesians 2) to you, because verse 10 is just a spectacular, spectacular verse. Let’s look back at it. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Let me tell you why this is important. I have found that a vast majority of those who claim to know and love Jesus Christ believe God is unable to use them in significant ways until they grow to a certain point.
The Word of God just says we renounce the old ways, reroot in the new, are constantly laying ourselves bare before God, and he has good works he prepared in advance for us to do. You don’t have to be an expert. That’s the beauty of the gospel.”
This is an small bit from a sermon given by Matt Chandler a few months ago.
I’ve realized lately how I too often find myself trapped in the lie that to be satisfied, able to choose joy, depends on my becoming a better version of myself.
“I’ll be satisfied when….”
“I’ll be a better wife when…”
“It’ll be easier to choose joy if I was more like…”
If you can relate to this, then you know that this is a never-ending (and self-absorbed, might I add) cycle. It’s a constant feeling of “I should be doing more” and the pressure of self-improvement.
It is extra difficult to experience true freedom and choose joy in this environment. This thought pattern chokes out almost all hope of peace and contentment.
So God has been working this out with me. Thankfully, like Matt mentioned, the beauty of the gospel is that I don’t have to be an expert.
Ephesians 2 says, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.”
Because of His great love for me, He made me alive with Christ. God did it. I didn’t do anything but believe by grace and faith. Hallelujah!
I take off by the power of God, and then put on the clothes/identity/promises He gives me. I’ve been walking around wearing the wrong clothing, wearied by the burden of perfecting myself all alone.
It’s almost like He is saying, “Child, rest. Let me clothe you. Let me change and perfect you. And be free.”
The pain points of wrestling with your sin are the holy God of the universe uprooting the plant that will destroy you. Don’t despise those difficult days. They are a gift to you. You will be renewed day by day. He has not abandoned you. Matt Chandler
By walking on this crooked path, thinking I will be satisfied when I’m a better version of myself, I’m pretty much walking in the way of the world. Culture tells me I must work to measure up in every possible way to be ‘good,’ or worthy of love, or accepted, even happy!
That’s not what I truly desire, and it certainly isn’t what I need. If I ask Him, God is always sufficient.
I can ask for Him to uproot that which is sinful or destructive in my life. I ask Him to transform that which is hindering my faith in Him or putting distance between us.
I have a constant bent towards sin, towards pride and selfishness, greed and envy.. it’s my nature, so I am certainly not the person to change me. Real transformation wouldn’t happen, I’d be stuck in the hamster wheel.
A better version of me will not satisfy completely, it won’t make things better. A better me is not what saves me.
What continually revives me is trusting that God is enough for me, and that He is making me more like Jesus, because if I ask, He is the one who will work in me to serve Him best (Philippians 2:13). I don’t have handle it myself and worry about it. I believe in the God who mercifully saved me through Jesus Christ.
I need to listen and obey, yes.
The effort I formerly put into perfecting myself, being paralyzed by anxiety of mistakes, I put into leaning in to His working on me, and delight in His love, presence, and desire to change me.