Friday, October 17, 2014

When Hearts are Heavy

Some days are just heavy. Some weeks are just heavy. That's exactly how this week has been. Some of my friends this week have gotten bad news, school's all out of whack, and last night I was just weighed down. My day had been good and full of joy and laughter, but when the silence of the night came, my heart and soul just felt heavy.

When Lincoln fell asleep I grabbed everything I needed for some quiet time with Jesus and just got really still. 

A lot of times when there's a lot on my heart the first thing I do is run to someone. It's almost as if I think I'll feel better if I can audibly hear someone speak to me. 

But this is the beautiful thing about God. His presence lifts weights off of our shoulders. His spirit living inside of us calms us down.

As I read some verses and then just wrote out everything I was thinking and feeling, I felt immensely better. The problems were still there, my friends still have broken hearts {and my heart is still breaking for them}, and there are still things I have to deal with, but when God is holding your problems they tend to be a whole lot lighter.

I'm only human, so the weight of my problems is magnified when I try to carry them. But in the arms of Jesus, they are carried effortlessly.

Because He is God, He is capable of carrying my burdens. He proved that He can carry the weight of the world when He carried the weight of the all sins of mankind. He is God, so there is nothing too hard for Him.

Sometimes we don't need our problems solved right then and there. We just need to know and trust that God is carrying them. 

I don't know what is on your heart and mind, but I do know the God who moves mountains. You can trust that He is capable of carrying your burdens. Let's trust today that God knows our hearts and carries our burdens daily. Because His love is vast, He delights in holding us in our weakness. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why "Doing Good" Isn't the Gospel

I grew up in church. I got saved at the age of seven. The majority of my life I've been a Christian, but I missed the big picture. Badly.

I lived years and years of legalism. I lived years of trying to do good and be good. I thought if I did what Jesus said "do" and avoided what Jesus said "don't" then I would become closer to Him. But if my faith is all based on what I do and don't do, then I'm no closer to God than the murderer doing life in prison.

Because let's face it. I will never be good enough to be Christs' daughter. But that's okay. Because my salvation isn't based on my goodness, but His. It's not based on what I do, but what He did. My salvation is not based on who I am, but who He is. 

When we live by a works-based salvation, we try to elevate ourselves to the position of Jesus. We think we can do good enough, be good enough, be righteous enough.

For years I thought I was better than everyone else because I was really good at doing what He said "do", and avoiding everything he said "don't." And I tried my best to be good, and to do everything He commanded {except maybe the things I didn't want to do}, and then I got pregnant at 17. 

As my whole life changed in one doctor's sentence, I began to realize Jesus isn't after my good works. Don't get me wrong, when our lives have been transformed, we should be bearing fruit. But my actions don't matter unless Jesus has my heart. 

I will never be good enough for Jesus, but He knew that from the beginning. He knew I'd fall short of His glory and He knew He'd have to come rescue me from myself. Jesus' death wasn't a reaction to my sin, it was His plan from the beginning.

For years I spent my Christian walk thinking that I could be good and just obey God's law. I thought that morality was the way to be God's daughter. But apart from God changing and transforming our hearts, we can't be good. We can't obey. We're not moral enough, we're not disciplined enough. Jesus' mission is not about me being good or following a bunch of rules. His mission is grace and righteousness. Because only when we let Jesus transform our hearts will our behavior and obedience line up with His will.