Pleasing God: A Paradigm Shift (Part 4)

This is Part 4 of a series of posts. Please scroll back  and read part 1, before continuing on here.

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SO THIS IS OUR Paradigm Shift: What pleases God?

2 Corinthians 5:9 (NAS): “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.”

Hebrews 11:6 (NAS): “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

Well, I guess we all need to decide what God is calling us to do to please Him? Do you really think He wants us to live perfect lives? (Which by the way, was Jesus’ job: to live a sinless life for us and die for us, redeeming us from the curse of the law which demands obedience to ALL God’s laws?) Or does it please Him more to be utterly honest with Him in our imperfection and choose to BELIEVE that He did what we couldn’t do so we wouldn’t have to? He died to redeem us from the CURSE of having to obey the law. 

Is it possible that God is pleased with us when we are quick to let him show us mercy for our imperfection? Don’t you think it pleases Him more to have his children live by the very grace He died to give us? Not embracing the sin He hates, but embracing the God who saved us from having to live under the guilt and shame and bondage of an impossible drive to meet an impossible ideal: Complete and perfect righteousness.

Does our freedom In Christ please God?

Galatians 5:1 says “It was for freedom that Christ set us free! Therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject to a yoke of slavery.” 

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Do you know what that yoke of slavery was that Paul was talking about? The law! The good and perfect Law, that God Himself gave as a stopgap to His people! Following a bunch of impossible, albeit, seemingly good behavioral rules.

Do you know who the Pharisees were in the New Testament? 

They were the “good Jews” of the day who asked themselves, “hmm, what would please God best?” And, what they determined was that God would be MOST pleased by their behavior. So they created long lists of rules to obey and thereby prove to God their righteousness. However, Jesus said they disgusted Him. Because their perceived righteousness was tied to their deeds instead of being birthed from a love in their heart towards God. 

“And He said to [the Pharisees], ‘You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.’” (Luke 16:15 NAS)

God says that you push away His grace by trying to live up to some impossible righteous standard. 

“For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.” (Galatians 5:4 NAS)

So, are all the commands in Scripture, even the original Law of God bad?

Of course not! Our Bible is not a bad book full of ridiculous commands.  They are God’s words and are truly good.

 “But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.” (Romans 7:12)

In Romans 7, Paul asks the same question: “So, is the law bad?” The answer is No! The commands are good. But trying to live up to satisfying ALL the commands is bad because that’s not what its purpose was. Its purpose was to show us how powerless we were to live up to the perfection of God! That was its purpose! To prove our imperfection to us. If you feel imperfect in living up to all its commands, then the Law has fulfilled its purpose! Trying to or expecting to perfect ourselves for the purpose of pleasing God is enslaving and leads us back to the very slavery that Jesus died to save us from.

Romans 10:3-4 says “For they (Israel) didn’t understand God’s way of making people right with Himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they clung to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the Law. but Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the Law was given. As a result, all who BELIEVE IN HIM ARE MADE RIGHT WITH HIM.”

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Now, let me ask you, if trying to achieve this idealistic perfection in our Christian life is both wearying and enslaving and is in fact impossible, doesn’t it make sense that God probably doesn’t wish for us to allow any other impossible idealistic goals in life to enslave us either?

So, now we’ve come full circle. 

Why do we NOT feel “enough?”  Because we have not learned to be content with who we are, where God has placed us, and the circumstances God has put in our life. Where we are right now will never be enough as long as we keep chasing the impossible ideal. In fact, that very ideal may not even be God’s particular will for us, so then we’re stuck in this place where we are actually fighting God for the life WE want instead of the life HE wants for us. And spiritually, WE will NEVER feel enough as long as we are reaching for an ideal that isn’t grounded in Jesus’ finished work for us. The only One in History who WAS enough was Jesus. The only One who can make us feel “enough” is Jesus! The only way we can feel enough is if we are content with Jesus’ perfection on our behalf.

Why are we holding onto impossible idealistic expectations in life and our self-fulfilling attempts to become righteous?

So, if God’s loving desire for us is freedom from self-reliance and self-fulfilling ideals that are impossible to achieve anyway, why are we holding onto them with such a death grip?  in the same way, if His desire for us isn’t as much a perfect life as it is a life that is completely God-reliant on his mercy and grace, totaling believing Him when His Word says we are already completely accepted and intimately loved, why are we turning our backs on the open door to His grace and mercy, with our own attempts at self-righteousness? Why are we trying to fulfill with pride some impossible perfection? Why don’t we enter through our authentic and humble confession (a contrite heart) that we ARE imperfect and we know it, to find the very grace and mercy of the One Who already loves and accepts us without all that striving after the wind?

I am going to try to give you an illustration that helps you come to grips with the beauty of this paradigm change for anybody. 

Leaning into our imperfection leans us into God

whose desire is to show us mercy!

I’m going to try to show you a series of charts. Try to follow them to their logical conclusions with me. We’re going to start with this:

We are indeed imperfect, sinners, failures at times, messy-life people who haven’t achieved all they originally desired they could with their lives! Our first question is which way are we going to lean when we become painfully aware of our own imperfection?

We have have two choices: 1) we can either lean into self-perfection (orange side) or 2) we can lean into our imperfections (blue side) that makes us feel like such failures? Which way would you lean?

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1) When we lean into our self-pursuing, self-achieving, self-reliant self-perfection, our goal we justify is only that we are simply trying to do the right thing and do the best we can. We will usually choose this method because we truly believe this is right. Our unfortunate deception is that “good behavior makes US good.” (orange side)

2) On the other hand, rather than denying our inability to perfect ourselves, we could agree with God and just come out admit that we surely aren’t perfect! Does our acknowledgement of our imperfection agree with God’s assessment of us? Doesn’t God even say that our righteousnesses are like filthy rags! He knows we’re imperfect. So, we agree with the apostle Paul in Romans 7:18 “For I know that nothing good dwells in my, that is in my flesh!” (Blue side)

1) But if we still  futilely attempt to achieve all our dreams and our self righteousness, too, with every failure, we decide we need to try even harder. We believe that God will be pleased if we try harder to become “better.” We believe that His commands are what God’s actual expectations of me are (fully obedient, every one, absolute perfection). We reason if it’s in the Bible, God expects us to achieve them on our own. We believe, “we can make God happy in us if we can only make ourselves better!” (Orange side)

2) But when we lean into our imperfection, we freely acknowledge our own neediness and our imperfection. We long for justification. We discover in His word that when we accepted Christ as our Savior, God justified us long ago. We long for acceptance. We discover that God’s acceptance of us was won by Jesus on the cross. Unable to take any comfort in our OWN successes, we long for someone to redeem us and for lives which even we, at times, can hardly stand to look at. We long for Someone to make us feel complete, rather than this feeling of failure hanging over our heads. There is a hole in our heart, a longing, that is dying to be filled. (Blue side)

1) Still striving to the right (to achieve all your own perfection), on the off chance that we are somewhat successful in our goals and in our ability to impress a God with our obedience, who are we really MOST proud of? US!!! Self-fulfillment! Self-satisfaction! PRIDE! We feel pretty good about ourselves so we believe God must be pretty proud of ME right now, too! If I succeed, if I win, if I achieve all my goals? “Look at me! Look at my self-control! Woo-hoo! Yay, ME! We are so proud of ourselves that we bring our impressive acts of righteousness and success to God! (Orange side)

2) But for those who are still willing to continue to lean into their imperfection, we recognize our great neediness. We acknowledge our great need of a Rescuer and someone to love us in spite of all the ugliness we feel. Out of desperation, we cry out to God in our brokenness, in our messiness, in our ashes, in our imperfection, and in our depravity (our sinful condition). In our desperation, we find the courage to show Him our brokenness. We find safety in that humble admission. We choose to be authentically honest. We choose to embrace a humble and contrite heart. By now, we acknowledge how far from perfection we have fallen. Groaning out to the spirit of God, we affirm, “I don’t want to live this way!” (Blue side)

1) For all the self-reliant, self-achievers, if you even succeeded in deed, you likely failed in spirit, because you attempted to achieve it through self-righteousness. You probably only succeeded because of your own stubborn will power. Unfortunately, it is highly probable that God may not even have been in that success. Although you may have obeyed the rules as you understood them, you likely felt pretty good about ourselves doing things yourselves (self-reliance = pride). Pride is sinful, by the way! The glory of the Lord was diminished because He was cheated of getting the glory! Unfortunately, in your futile attempts to please God, the irony is that you denied God from being the Hero of your story! You just made yourselves your own self-proclaimed heroes.

But what happens if you fail in those struggles and attempts to win, to succeed, to self-rely, to beat your bodies into perfect righteousness? What happens when you don’t succeed? You’ll beat yourselves up again! “I’m imperfect! I’m a failure! I can’t achieve anything good! My life is a mess!” And the cycle of getting beat down over and over again begins all over.

In this paradigm, the harder you try to improve, the more you fail. And the more you fail, the more unacceptable you feel because you’ll only see YOUR efforts and YOUR achievements. Because it depends on your own efforts, you will determine that you don’t deserve to feel acceptable. Because you’ll let people down (couldn’t make others happy), you’ll feel unloved. You’ll condemn yourselves because of failed expectations (you expected more of yourselves). You’ll feel judged because you’ll have fallen short of the perfection mark (the standard). You’ll feel like a failure because you’ll never arrive at a perfect mark all the time. You’ll feel unloved because you won’t feel acceptable because of your failed behavior which was supposed to earn your love and acceptance. In this paradigm, demonstrated by your banging your head up against the wall over and over again, you believe you really can and could have arrived at that perfect mark given a little more effort and more will power. (Orange side)

2) But what if you had humbly leaned into your imperfection from the beginning (I know, it’s counterintuitive)! God would have seen your hearts in perfect agreement with His! You wouldn’t have denied His holiness! You would have agreed that His holiness was so far above you, that your actions were nothing but filthy rags in comparison. You wouldn’t have  denied your imperfection. You would have freely confessed that you had fallen short of His perfect standard. Both you and God agree that it’s not what either of you had intended or desired. But as a response to your humble and contrite heart, He’ll pour out His mercy and grace on you! God will be pleased because you demonstrated your great need of Him to complete you! The cross covered your sin! Jesus’ righteousness was put onto you! And finally, God did what glorifies God most. He demonstrated His own character by giving you His mercy and grace!

What happens in this scenario is that when you make mistakes and don’t succeed, you’ll just keep leaning into His grace to sanctify you from within and remember with confidence that your acceptance is complete and your sins forgiven. You don’t lose your footing because it already aligns with where you truly are. You need Jesus! I need Jesus. His grace and mercy are always available to both you and me.

Psalm 51:16–17 (NAS): “For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”

Let me ask you again: We have have two choices: 1) we can either lean into self-perfection (orange side) or 2) we can lean into our imperfections and our need for God (blue side)? Which way would you lean? One way causes us to need God more! The other way causes us to need God less! One way causes us to crave the grace of God—it means everything to us! We can’t live without it or the God who freely gives it! The other way grace is cheapened! We don’t need it. We can do it by ourselves! Which side do you think pleases God more?

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A heart that is humble and contrite towards God, sorrowful at anything they do that doesn’t reflect His character (all their imperfections and all their failures), is a heart that leans into the heart of God Himself. The fruit of such a heart will naturally yearn to please Him which will more often and likely affect their future actions.

If you are faced with a child who adamantly refuses a parent’s help and grudgingly insists on doing things himself and his way (“I’ll do it myself”) as opposed to observing a  child who acknowledges his bad behavior and says, “I’m sorry, mommy!” Which child is more likely to do the right thing the next time? The child who is genuinely sorry and acknowledges his imperfection to his parents because it’s a natural outpouring of his tender heart.  

Similarly, a child of God who leans into God by leaning into their imperfections in this paradigm will yearn for the heart of God, will be more likely to align himself with the behavior that reflects God’s heart, and the sanctifying work of God HIMSELF through the work of His Holy Spirit will produce fruits that are more reflective of the character of God. 

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

But not thru human effort. Thru God’s work in us. Our job is to lean into Him via our great need. His job is to perfect us from the inside out, in His grace and in His timing! 

Philippians 1:6 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

(To be continued)

Living IN The Struggle

This may be the first time that some of you will learn that I lived with severe, chronic depression for twelve years. Though the illness is now gone, at the time it was a desperate darkness that left me completely lost in every possible way. You see, before depression and for so many years, living my life to please God revolved around MY ability to self-control. I believed that anyone who had the raw grit and will-power to keep from sinning could please God with their holy living. So, I became addicted to spiritual performance because I mistakingly believed that God required that of me.

I spent years in this wilderness before God completely disassembled the crumbling foundations upon which I built my life. In their place, He rebuilt my life with Him as the Cornerstone, the Giver of all good things, and me as the undeserved recipient of His lavish mercies. Although a believer, it was quite uncommon to me for see God’s awesomeness rather than my own achievements. But in my depression, I finally came to realize that God wanted to use the incapacity of my illness (which I actually believe God Himself gave me) to teach me about Himself and HIS glory.

The following is probably the most important practical thing I learned (and the most practical advice I could share). If you live with chronic depression and are a child of God, I pray that God will use what I learned to help free you from the oppression of spiritual performance.

Don’t Bury It, Live In It!

One of the most helpful choices I made in my depression, wasn’t really a choice but more of a resignation. Depression leaves you feeling absolutely helpless: the lack of being in control of your faculties anymore; the loss of your normally healthy thoughts and behaviors which used to be your natural responses; the broken-heartedness of being a victim instead of being a victor; the never-ending confrontation of your sinfulness over and over; the heaviness of the grief for being not only a disappointment to yourself but to everyone else in your life (including God); the utter defeat of becoming the very epitome of what some have condemned you for; and the constant reminder that nothing you ever do or achieve in your depression will satisfy those high demands others feel you should satisfy, etc. (there are others….)

In depression, you are imprisoned by all these haunting, self-defeating accusations. If you try to ignore them, deny them, or put the bandaid of a forced smile or good behavior over the top of them, an overwhelming sense of contradiction and deception will eat at your soul. Deep within, you know the darkness that lurks in your heart and no amount of chanting positive mantras will make it go away.

If you choose to deny the reality of what you’re feeling, you will feel a sense of betrayal of all that is real and true. This will only serve to intensify your turmoil. The truth is you can only find inner peace when face the reality of your situation head on, wholeheartedly accepting it and owning it. While you may not like the feelings that churn around in your unsettled heart, authenticity is the framework by which you can find freedom to live in that horrible place in which God has called you to live.

Authenticity is the framework by which you can find freedom to live in that horrible place in which God has called you to live.

God Will Meet You There

Once you resign yourself to this uncomfortable place, I believe God will meet you there. Only when you say, “God, there is nothing good in me,” will you be able to hear God say, “but I still love you just as you are.” Only when you say, “I am not worth anything,” will you be able to hear Him say, “but you are worth something to Me.”

Only when you say, “I’m not worthy of forgiveness for something I constantly repeat,” will you hear Him say, “what you do is not (and will never be) greater than the complete forgiveness I gave you on the cross and that I continue to grant you every time you fall short of any of My commands.”

Only when you say, “I cannot justify all these things that I feel helpless to repeat and I know in the depths of my heart that they cannot be labeled righteous,” will you hear Him say, “silly child, you’ve always been incapable of meeting My holy standard of righteousness, even when you were well and thought you could please Me with your deeds.”

Only when you live in the feelings of disappointment when you fail to meet the Bible’s or anyone else’s standards or expectations, will you hear God assure you, “I already know your deepest thoughts. I know what you can control and what you can’t. Only I, and I alone, know what I have required of you in this life. You will never fail My expectations because I see your deeds far in advance of when you feel them and do them. Don’t fret. Whatever is not holy will one day get burned away, and the good things you have done for Me will remain. But there is nothing you can do today that I have not seen in eternal perspective. I am present today, yesterday and tomorrow.”

Once you resign yourself to this uncomfortable place, I believe God will meet you there.

He also reminds us, “One day, I will make you new. I will make you as white as snow when you finally shed this earthly body in heaven’s glory. I will make you to be perfect in the future, but I already see you on that day, clothed in the righteousness of the perfect spotless Lamb.”

Only when you embrace the guilt of your inability to be holy will you be surprised by the amazing grace of God delighting to have an intimate relationship with you. Only when you come face to face with the shame you carry for all the deeds you wish you didn’t continue to do, can you bask in the beauty of God’s mercy which takes away the shame and clothes you in His righteousness.

Only when you live in the destitute condition of your soul will you hear God remind you of your position as sons and daughters of the King, adopted into His family. Only then will you enjoy the richness of having God Almighty also be your dear Heavenly Father who only desires good for you.

Though God is both holy and just, He paid a great price to prove to you that both His holiness and His justice have already been satisfied. He longs for you to cling to that as your lifeline. His Son, the Lamb of God, paid the penalty for all your sins, those you meant to commit and those your sinful nature and depression symbiotically caused you to commit.

Only when you realize that had it not been for the salvation of your soul, you might indeed feel the wrath of God. But now, because of your salvation, God is no longer angry at you. His wrath was fully appeased when Jesus hung on the cross and you have now become a friend of God.

Only when you identify with the miserable bondage of being trapped in this mortal body of decay where our sinful nature is living on borrowed time, soon to be eradicated when God returns to take us home, can you sense the hope and joyful expectation that even this, however painful, is temporary. Like a woman in childbirth, the labor will one day be over.

Don’t Miss It

Do you see what you miss when you push through each episode and pretend to live victoriously when you know deep in your heart that you aren’t? You miss God’s sufficiency for your insufficiency! You exchange God’s perfect righteousness for your filthy, sinful nature’s imperfect attempts to be righteous. When you claim to still be righteous in your own goodness, you miss the treasure of God smothering out the power of your sin nature with His perfect righteousness.

You miss God’s extravagant one-directional love and compassion when you cling to your own worth and merit. You miss the incredible sense of gentleness and compassion that is so meaningful when you act as if you don’t need His mercy. You can only find comfort and peace in this place of darkness when you realize that you live and breathe only because of the incredible undeserved mercies of God.

The Church’s Self-Improvement Agenda

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard preachers tell people in the church to ‘push past’ all the misery. They say, “struggle to ‘climb over’ the hurdle. ‘Push past’ the blockade. ‘Go around it’ by denying its power in your life. Just ‘choose to’ live obediently and victoriously. ‘Forget’ the depression and ‘believe’ in this not-yet felt restoration. ‘Deny’ the sadness! Instead, embrace joy! ‘Fight’ for victory!”

They tell you that God is unhappy with you because of your negative feelings, so you should just transform them into good ones. They might even tell you your very depression is sin and that if you simply confess and repent of it, that your mood and outlook will change and you will finally feel freedom. They challenge you to use positive affirmation prayers to soak in the reality of complete healing in this life as if it were a token evidence you give God to prove your wholehearted faith and sincere desire to please Him.

They tell you to claim some verse in the Bible (usually completely out of context) and tell you to use it as God’s personal promise to you. They tell you that if you will simply meditate on good thoughts, it will transform your dreary thoughts into good ones.

They may challenge you to follow in the footsteps of a biblical character. What they conveniently forget to add is that between the identified problem and the resolution of that character’s struggles, there might have been days, months, or even years of struggle. Consider the 40 years Moses spent wandering where God taught him so much about Himself or Noah’s struggle over 100 years to continue to believe God in the face of adversity. You see, the Bible isn’t just a moral rule book; it is a complete story of God’s redeeming grace offered to mankind throughout history.

Consider Job in his extreme period of suffering. We see him struggle within the context of his pain and turmoil (and God specifically leaves him there in the struggle to wrestle it out), but then, in the Almighty’s perfect timing, God returns to address Job and reminds him who He is. Job later returns to bless the Lord and thanks Him for the struggle. But don’t miss this point: Job fully acknowledges that only by way of the suffering had he come to know God in a more personal, intimate way, saying,

“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5 NIV

Although we aren’t specifically told this in Scripture, have you ever wondered at the complete contrast of the desperateness in the beginnings of some of David’s Psalms and the glorious endings wherein David remembers God’s continued goodness and faithfulness? I believe a lot of his psalms were started IN the struggle and completed after he had lived for some time in that struggle, especially after he had come face to face with God, and after he had communed with Him. The struggle was where God revealed to him what He wanted David to learn. Only by living IN the tension of a lack of a positive resolution did God become his only hope and salvation.

When today’s preachers forget the importance of the valley, and in essence, tell their people to do whatever they can to escape the struggle and therein find God’s blessing and pleasure, I cringe and my heart is crushed. In my Spirit, I want to jump up and shout, “NOOOOO! Don’t do it!” Why? Because the healing comes from inside the struggle! It doesn’t come from minimizing the situation or hastening the struggle to come to a resolution. For without the struggle, you deprive yourself of the healing.

The healing comes from inside the struggle!

Sure, you might experience some temporary relief if you follow their advice but you’ll be right back there again, feeling lost and abandoned. Why? Because you need to experience that desperate place of brokenness in order for God to show you His heart in the matter. And you can’t put God in a box or give Him a deadline. It might take years of tension in a particular struggle to sense God’s heart about it and experience His peace in it.

The Beauty Is In The Ashes

The truth is that the beauty is truly found in the ashes of your life. You can’t come to own the mercies of God without realizing how much you need His mercy. You can’t come to cherish the love of God until you realize how much you don’t deserve His love. You can’t fully fathom the incredible grace of God until you fully embrace that there is nothing you can do to earn His grace.

You can’t stand confidently in the presence of Holy God until you realize that your guilt should deny you that right but instead God has removed your guilt thus removing any future punishment necessary to make you right with Him. You cannot be satisfied with His righteousness already granted to you until you realize that your own attempts to please God by your own efforts will always fall short and be completely unfulfilling. You will never be satisfied with God’s substitution on your behalf until you realize that all your own deeds, even those you attempt to do in holiness, are filthy rags.

The honest truth is that there is no life in itself that can fully please God. God says that if we fall short in one instance, we fall short of the entirety of His law and commands. By one man’s sin (Adam’s) we all became sinners guilty of all God’s laws, but by one Man’s righteousness (Jesus’), we all can become righteous. You can’t fully saturate your soul with the peace that you are now friends of God until you fully realize how much your sinful nature is at odds with God.

Lay Aside The Facade Of Victory And Live In The Glorious Ruin

You probably recognize Christian rhetoric that says, “I’m a child of the king. I choose not to allow Satan win. I beat my flesh into submission until it pleases God. By faith, I claim victory!” And then … you sin, or you suffer, or you experience sickness and defeat. You just kick yourself when the words you had attempted to utter in faith believing just ‘didn’t work’ like you’d hoped.

Friends, I bow my head with grief, if this is still you and you suffer depression. I implore you to set aside the facade of this victory rhetoric and resign yourself to live in the struggle of what your soul says is true about yourself and what you know to be true of God. Your soul is set free when you refuse to pretend, “I’m fine.” Rather than the defeat you are afraid of, you will find a strange surprising peace. You’ll find yourself longing for someone more than yourself. It is true that you may feel suffocated by the rawness and heaviness of this realization, but only then will you see that the hero of your story isn’t you after all.

Your story needs a Hero! His name is Jesus!

The hero in your story is Jesus. Your life is God’s story of redemption of the human race. He came to redeem you from the curse of the law. And I’m here to tell you, depression and sickness are part of that awful curse that we now experience because Adam initially broke God’s law.

Why settle for the cheapness of your endless striving? You aren’t enough to present yourself faultless before the Father. What your story really needs is the real deal, the perfect One, the propitiation, the settlement of a debt too great for you, and the justification by a Holy God for our pathetic, unholy lives.

Only Jesus is enough to do all that!

So, if you are struggling with what to do when you are brought low in depression, don’t be afraid to live in the struggle for a while. Don’t try to escape it too quickly. Don’t be afraid to wrestle it out. Be willing to wait in the silence. Be willing to live in the tension of the questions. God can handle it; He is waiting to interact with you. Don’t move until God releases you to do so.

Realize that there is One greater than you in there with you, constantly washing you clean. Let that give you comfort. He has so much beauty (outside of yourself) that He longs for you to experience and embrace. He is the ‘Great I Am,’ the Savior of your soul. While you are in darkness with nothing good to offer Him, cling to all that Christ has already done to make you right with Him, right here, right now.

Heidi Austel, Author

Here is a song to listen to for reflection. “I need a Hero” by Chris Rice.