Is it ok to ask some questions..?

brainmYou’re a Christian.  But you struggle.

You know it’s ok to battle with some things: odd fibs or slip ups.  Not praying enough for missionaries. Watching Something You Shouldn’t – provided you never do it again.

But what if you do?  Is there is a limit to God’s grace?  A point at which He says, ‘Sorry, but I’m done.   Deal with your addiction. Tear out your pride. Stamp out this idol. Move on – and come back when you’re done’.

You try.  There are little victories. But you keep falling back. This is not the victorious Christian life. Which makes you wonder – is it the Christian life at all? The ongoing sin.    The lack of transformation. The same battles; over and over.

It’s me again Jesus. I just can’t manage.   I say I’m getting better; but I fear I’m getting worse. And I have a couple of questions.

What if having faith doesn’t make life easy?  What if  it makes it harder. Is that allowed? Is that the way it’s supposed to be?

And what about the ongoing struggles? Faithlessness.  Self-pity.  Anger.  Depression. Despair. We’re all allowed wobbles – from from time to time.  But this often?  Weekly?  Daily? What if your faith is leaky? If you go to bed saying ‘God is good’.  Then wake up asking, ‘Is He? Is He still?’

What if you need constant reminding? Every day.  Sometimes more. God’s word,  His people, Himself. 

What if you keep making mistakes?  If you don’t always feel it? What if you can’t see what God’s doing? Or if you’re not improving? What if, no matter how hard you try, you’re just not good enough?

 

and what if, that’s the whole point?

You can’t do it yourself.

You’re at the end of your resources – so you go to the hope that’s outside you.

You’re not getting better – but He’s good for you both.

Yes, God helps us and yes He changes us.  Yes, we mature and we grow in our faith. But ‘self-improvement’ is not the gospel.

Here’s the thing: if you’re not broken, you don’t need a Saviour. But if you are – then He’s really good news.

 

“Merciful God, preserve me from a Christian Church in which everyone is a saint! I want to be and remain in the church and little flock of the fainthearted, the feeble, and the ailing, who feel and recognize the wretchedness of their sins, who sigh and cry to God incessantly for comfort and help, who believe in the forgiveness of sin.”

Martin Luther

 

12 thoughts on “Is it ok to ask some questions..?

  1. Oh Emma you could be describing me! Thank you for this post, I so need to hear this. You’re right, we can’t do it ourselves, we need Him and we need one another, our “brothers and sisters”.
    x x

  2. As you know, all things human were appropriated by our Lord in his divinely inspired vicarious human response for all the good bits as well as all the bad bits. The ultimate make-over or restoration if ever there was one. No wonder we are unsettled, prone to advertising allure, wanting to feel good; look better; have more success; be richer, the list is endless.

  3. Replying to a blog is a strange thing – never done it before! When I read your blog it inspires me to hurry off and love people so I dont get time to reply, but then that doesn’t encourage you to keep encouraging us! Thank you so much for your blog and your inspiring book! xs

  4. Shirley – thank you for reading: and replying! That’s a lovely encouragement. As Lauren says, we need our brothers and sisters.

  5. Emma, you were describing me too. For this, and your listening to some very similar questions in the last few weeks, thank you.

  6. Thanks Emma. Isn’t it just the way.You have a while when everything seems fine and you think you’re the other side and hey maybe there’s even a beautiful story to tell and people to help and blogs to write and God to praise. Next day you wake up, and who knows why, but its as dark and hellish and hopeless as ever it was, and the hope and happiness of the good time is snatched away by the the voice of contempt that tells you what a fool you were to dare to believe things could be getting better. Up and down…maybe tomorrow will be better and who knows, maybe God will show up..I hope so, I really do.

  7. The first half of your post summarises the daily questions and concerns raging inside my head. Haven’t experienced the second half lately so hoping it will become evident. Soon.

  8. Hi would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using?
    I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a tough time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking
    for something unique. P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  9. Hi P: I’m the same: which is why I need other Christians to remind me – and to keep telling myself what I don’t always feel

  10. Thank you so much for this, Emma. It has been a balm to my own failings, but I’m determined not to give up. Yeah, progress comes in peaks and troughs. But it is good to remember that our God is walking with us and changing us as you’ve said, if we only keep abiding in his Spirit. Can I share a Bible verse that used to be like a ton of bricks on my shoulders? “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.”
    I later worked out that that that verse is not actually meant to prescribe a yoke of ‘things we must do to remain a Christian’ for our necks. It’s just *describing* the change God always brings in those who are already his. And I guess that still counts even when change comes in spurts and starts, because when we fall, in Christ God hasn’t stopped forgiving us as we forgive those who sin against us. I love your Martin Luther quote. He paints such a beautiful picture, and I wish many more of our British churches could look like that. Because we can’t show signs of change before we humble ourselves and realise how feeble and in need of God’s help we are.

  11. Thank-you: reading that verse as a description instead of an expectation makes a world of difference. x

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