Thursday, October 16, 2014

It Is Okay to Not Be Okay

One idea that has become prevalent is that if we can just convince ourselves that we are okay and everyone else is okay, all the pieces of our life will just fit into place. But there are problems with this. If whatever I am is okay, then okay becomes meaningless. But the alternative seems to be to go back into the hamster wheel of performance. However, there is a better answer. God loves us, even though we are sinners and not okay (Romans 3:23; Jeremiah 17:9; Isaiah 64:6), and sent His Son to die for us (John 3:16-18; Romans 5:6-8; 1 John 4:9,10). Therefore, if we put our faith, not in what we can do, but in what He has done (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 4:4,5; Philippians 3:9), we can stand before Him based on grace and forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 8:31-34; 5:1,2). And while God is at work in us to change us (2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:11-14), we are still far from what God would have us to be (Philippians 3:12-16; Galatians 5:17; Romans 7:14-25), and we need to trust in His grace. Therefore, it is okay for us not to be okay.

Also, if we look at other Christians, we realize they are in the same situation. And while we may encourage them or even correct them (Hebrews 10:24,25; 12:12,13; Galatians 6:1), we must recognize it is also okay for them not to be okay. And as for unbelievers, they can be right in God's sight if they will simply trust Christ, and it is our job to gently persuade them to do so (1 Peter 3:15; Colossians 4:5,6; 2 Timothy 2:24-26). Therefore, it is okay for others to be not okay. But I think the biggest problem with the present day church is that we have tried to convince ourselves we are okay based on our performance. If we are good, moral people and good churchgoers, God will be pleased with us. But what we mean by that falls short of what God really requires (Matthew 22:36-40; 5:43-48; 1 Peter 1:14-17). What we need is God's grace and forgiveness.

Now our attitude here greatly affects how we approach the spiritual helps. If I want to know more about this God who saved me and want to get to know Him. If I want to praise Him because of what He has done for me and call upon Him for help to face the challenges of life, as one inadequate to face them alone. If I realize I need the help and encouragement of other believers to be built up to stand firm in the Lord. Then I will not approach spiritual exercises as simply one more duty to be checked off my list. But if I see myself as basically having it all together, that is how I will tend to approach it. It all starts with how I see myself.

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