Tonight I was sitting with a friend and she stated that she admires my boldness and ability to articulate what I believe about God or wise counsel in life’s situations.
I commented (because that’s what I do, I open my mouth and out comes anything I’m thinking) that it may not be boldness as much as it is a desire to be known and liked. That sometimes out comes with it, pride. While other times, brokenness & honest struggle with sin. Yet still other times, all that I learn about Scripture or anything that I’m excited about so some people view me as a “know-it-all”, which in turn makes me feel pressure not to share anything at all & not be myself.
I realized something, or rather asked a question out loud, “What kind of reputation is God getting from me?”
I mentioned to my friend that while I’m outspoken about my faith and the gospel, I am also outspoken about my sin and brokenness.
This can be a double-edged sword as I have had some friends come to me saying things like, “Wow! I never would have thought you struggled with that! You seem so godly.” or “I know what your sin tendencies are so I don’t know that I believe you when you talk about God’s grace.”
Talk about a punch to the gut when those comments are made.
Yet, as I was discussing this with my friend, I did ask myself whether what I say and do actually bring God glory or just confuse people as to His power in my life.
I honestly think that people must see both sides of us – the regenerated aspect of our lives, as well as the struggling & sinful parts of our lives. In this, they will know that Christians sin & that God is big enough to save sinners; to love them while they are still sinners.
We will never have complete victory over sin while we wear flesh suits.
My prayer is that people are pointed to Jesus, who, in His glorious sacrifice, paid my debt and set me free from the condemnation of the law. I pray that people see God as the Almighty who saves humans — humans who still struggle with various forms of sin — and Who’s grace covers those sins because I’ve already been forgiven.
I am bold. I am outspoken. I rarely keep my thoughts in. Part of that is because I struggle with wanting people to know me and like me. The other part is because I want people to know that I’m not perfect and urge them not to expect me to be perfect. Yet I don’t want to be so broken (real) that others don’t believe the truth of the Gospel when I share it.
I never want people to doubt the goodness of Christ because of something I share about myself. I want God to be glorified. I want God to be seen as the awesome Redeemer that He is, and that redemption is a lifelong process.
We don’t accept Jesus and then all of a sudden become perfect. We don’t see victory over sin overnight. In fact, if Christians only portray that about themselves, I would caution them against pride and note that God sees all things and knows the heart.
When others have a chance to see God at work in us, it is a glorious moment of stunning Spirit work.
When someone says to me, “Wow! I never would have thought you struggled with that! You seem so godly,” I get giddy because I can say back to them, “I am not godly without Christ, who constantly brings me ever closer to holiness through the forgiveness He granted by His sacrifice.”
When others say to me, ““I know what your sin tendencies are so I don’t know that I believe you when you talk about God’s grace,” I get to say back, “God doesn’t save us for what we do or don’t do, but He sure does work within our hearts to bring about the Fruit of His Spirit. I praise God that it’s not about my performance, and instead about His love for me.”
I wonder what kind of reputation God has from me.
I want to always be on guard in how I express my beliefs or the truth that I’m learning as I study the Word. I want to always be pointing people to Jesus and not myself. He is Lord and worthy to be praised, I am not… I am soooooooooo not.
I thank God that He displays His grace so evidently in my life and I pray that others are brought one step closer to Him because they see His work in me. I want to be genuine with people around me. I want to “boast in my weaknesses” so that God can display His nature and work within me.
By God’s grace, in His sovereignty and goodness, He will get all the credit for what He’s done in me and all the work He still has yet to do.
To Him be all glory!