Archive for December, 2012

Yesterday I had to write a difficult letter to someone. I had to write to ask them to be mature in a specific situation. To ask them to not continue to make things worse instead of better and to get over an event from the past so that we could grow into the future. It was difficult to write.

I decided to include the words “As a Christian, I believe that God shines a light into the darkest places and even the most horrible situations can be redeemed. I believe in grace that means we don’t need to be stuck in vicious cycles of despair, and in hope that the future can be better.”

In years gone by, I don’t think that would be how I would have summed up the Gospel. I would have talked about Jesus, the cross and how he died to set us free from the things we had done wrong. I would have talked about the need for us to make our own decision as to whether to follow him or not, and that is what makes someone a Christian or not.

But experience is starting to tell me that although those parts are obviously there, that the Gospel (literally good news) is far bigger and better than we can ever imagine. Reconciliation. Hope. Grace (and yes, have a read of Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing about Grace – I did borrow the cycles of grace from him!) Its not just the times that we forgot to say please or said a bad word. As I grow older, I see more of the good that God is doing even in the places where we expect nothing. God is bigger. The cross itself means nothing without the knowledge that Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day. Sunday is coming.

So, I don’t know whether those words will help or not. But it certainly has been helping me.

Ironic. Went to make some gingerbread for the lovely people I will be visiting and staying with in the next few weeks after posting that just now, but forgot to put the sugar in. Maybe I’m not so perfect after all, or even the domestic goddess I would like to consider myself…

Oops.

Where do we put our trust?

Someone reminded me recently that I am actually a relatively capable person and that there are a lot of things that other people find quite difficult that I seem just to be able to do somehow. Despite everything, I got good grades in school, played musical instruments to a high standard, passed my driving test first time, learned to bake and make nice food, did sport a bit… You name it, I was there.

When I met Jesus, I learned that the world no longer revolved around me and what I can do, but around him and what he has done for us on the Cross and in the Resurrection. “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-5)

Jesus died on the cross for my sins. For every time that I fail to honour God in my thoughts, my words, or my actions. For every time I turn away from him. This changed things completely. Things were no longer about me.

But then every so often, I find the old patterns creeping back in. “I just need to do this, and then people will like me…” or “If I do really well in this course, then I will be really happy”… or “I will only be pleased if I get more than 90%”. Sometimes, I do achieve these seemingly impossible feats. Sometimes I don’t.

Every time that I do though, it is another reminder that I have a choice. I can either choose to rely on myself, my own strengths and abilities, or on God. And his are way better quite frankly.

It’s not about not doing well or not trying to glorify God through my actions, but rather things not being about me. Knowing that all that I can do is a gift from God. And that I need to trust him more and more. He has a plan for my life, so I need to stop getting in the way of that.

It starts being about the decisions I make. How will I spend my time? What about my money? Do these simple things reflect my trust in my loving Creator, or an attempt to glorify myself? Do I keep thinking about scissors and ways to hurt or ways I can know God more?

These are difficult questions. But I want to grow in my journey with Christ more and more each day, so I’m going to keep asking them of myself. Maybe you should think about it too, to keep me company, or because God is laying it on your heart too…