I’ve heard it said numerous times recently that stress and anxiety are severe forms of selfishness because they reflect an inability to rely on Jesus for the necessities of life. The last couple of days, I have seen life pass by in a blur because I’ve literally rushed through them in an attempt to feel accomplished about something. In return, in all honesty, I have not gotten a single thing done. Rather than waiting on the Creator, I’ve created this mess of tangled webs in my head, constricting my heartbeat to small, fast paced pulses. I’m not trying to be poetic. I'm wondering at the fact that I haven’t had a frickin’ heart attack. I’m breathing too heavy and my heart’s racing too fast. And since I haven’t been relying on Jesus, it’s led to sinful “fulfillments” of myself through thoughts and actions displeasing to the Lord.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”- Philippians 4:4
“When I am consumed by my problems – stressed out about my life, my family, my job – I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God’s command to always rejoice. In other words, that I have a “right” to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities. Worry implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives. Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control. Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance.” – Francis Chan
Isn’t It absolutely ridiculous how we, as Christians, can want something so badly, and turn over and over again to the very thing that takes us away from him? It’s incredible to me. It’s angering to me.
Lord, turn my thoughts of lust to thoughts of longing for you. Please, turn my self-reliance to a selfless reliance upon you.
In Christ, there is no condemnation. This blows my mind. When I fail, I’m prone to damn myself to a day’s or a week’s worth of sulking and self-pity. But in Christ, there is no condemnation. Yes, of course, there are consequences for sin, but so often if I start the day off wrong, or if I screw up in the middle of it, or if I end it in sin, I get into this, “Welp! I messed up, Lord! I failed you! Now you can’t use me today anymore! Now I’m worthless until the sun rises again and your mercies start anew!"
But God’s mercies started anew at the cross and into forever, for forever, and I am not worthless. In Christ, there is no condemnation. Thank Jesus for that.
I want a complete and total transformation. After seeking and knowing joy in Jesus, it is incredible how much it hurts when I fail and seek fulfillment in something other than him. It’s like my heart breaks. Shatters, even. It’s like this enormous, heavy disappointment in myself – this weighty separation from God. It’s frustrating to know that, on this earth, I will fail and I will sin and I will rebel against the God that I want more than anything else to be close to. Such is life.
I cannot imagine hell. Yes, the fire and the brimstone and the gnashing of teeth and the darkness are enough to know that I do not want to spend eternity there… but the separation from God… that’s what does it. It brings me to tears to even think of it.
Oh, how thankful I am for the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Because despite the inevitability of sin on this earth, in this place, in this time, we have the joyful anticipation of heaven – of perfection and closeness – a bear hug from Jesus Christ.