Saturday, 16 October 2010

Work in Progress

I’ve been feeling challenged lately, about something I thought I’d set right in my head 2 and a half years ago when I came back to Northern Ireland for the summer after my first year at university and then again at the end of Summer 2009 at Forum (UCCF event).
It turns out that it’s not as simple as ‘setting it right in my head’ one time and being sorted for life but a long term conscious choice that I have to keep making – I knew this at the time but appear to have forgotten.

It’s a fundamental part of being a Christian that never really clicked before that day and it appears that I’ve strayed away from it again since then.
What I’ve taking about is giving your life for God – all of it, not just parts.

I’ve always reminded people that not everyone claiming to be a Christian is one and also that even Christians make mistakes but while these are both true I must admit I’ve used them as a bit of a cop-out when asked why those claiming to follow Christ clearing aren’t doing so.
The truth is I do it all the time – live an unfaithful sham of a life - often without noticing or dare I say it, without caring.
The realisation struck me hard just the other week when my friend called me a ‘half hearted Christian’ and I had no basis on which to defend myself – she was right and I was blissfully unaware.
It’s true that no one really knows what your relationship is like with God apart from you and God but how we live our lives give away pretty big clues.

More than a few times I’ve judged others for doing just that. It was wrong of me and I regret it.

There’s a quote at the beginning of the D.C. Talk’s song ‘What if I Stumble’ which says:
"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."

I’ve heard it so many times and nodded along in agreement but that’s me right there – the cause of atheism. I’ve got a lot to answer for and I praise God that he has more than enough Grace for me (provided I turn from my sin again – and keep turning from it).

Christians have a responsibility that has serious consequences (Micah 3 verse 9 – 12)
As God’s Children we are representing the king and I honestly am finding that concept hard to grasp right now; Kinda goes over my head a bit.

Right now I feel bogged down with guilt but I know that won’t get me anywhere. Something I’ve learnt is that God doesn’t deal in guilt he deals in conviction and repentance.

Some of you may know that I got ‘The Growth Award’ at a Christian Union event a couple of years ago but no-one knows that I actually tried to give it back afterwards. I felt I didn’t deserve it but I see now that it wasn’t just about me, it was marking the fact that God had made a difference in my life and to refuse it would be like saying that he hadn’t done a wonderful thing for me.
I thought at the time that it represented being a Godly woman but in fact it marks the first couple of steps in that journey.

It was a similar situation when I was about to be baptised; They day before I was having doubts, not about the fact that I trusted God and wanted the world to know but about being able to live up to the consequences of that – trying to follow God without faltering while the world watches.
The reason I went through with it is because it was the right thing to do, it was what God wanted, what he commanded and he knew when told his followers to get baptised what we’d be like and that we’d never be worthy enough. Praise God that I don’t have to have to be perfect I just have to strive for perfection – it sounds odd when put like that but I believe it’s all about your (or rather my) heart attitude and motives.

I’m currently reading a (Christian) book called ‘The Me I Want to Be’ and it talks about God shaping people in different ways because they are different. I guess some people are wise enough to know how to avoid mistakes but I generally learn the hard way, each heartbreaking mistake at a time.