Wednesday, August 10, 2011

God is that big...and yes, I am that small

As a young person, my view of God and practice of Christianity bordered on the judgmental and self-righteous. I judged both myself and the world around me through very critical eyes (I still do), but I translated that criticism into my faith. I was plagued with guilt and a desire to make restitution for anything I thought I did or thought wrongly. There was little real hope in my practice of faith because I was caught up in being "right" or "righteous". I thought I could be good enough. I thought I truly could be like God. That came to a screeching halt when I entered into a relationship where all my thoughts about how "good" I was came tumbling down.

I know better than to blog the sordid details of past mistakes, so I will continue on, trusting that many of you have been in those kinds of relationships or circumstances--in which everything you thought about yourself was called into desperate question. That's where I was.

I began to see my propensity for selfishness in the deepest levels of my heart. I began to understand that if I can truly be like God, or if I thought I was close to being like God, maybe God isn't that great or worthy of my trust. It wasn't until a few years later that I read a book that diagnosed my condition.

I was arrogant in my faith. I bought the lie that I had all the answers and I understood the mind of God because I'd read the Bible. I honestly believed that faith was a simple equation and that I deserved God's grace because I was a good person and liked to tell people about Jesus. How wrong I was. In actuality, my condition was more symptomatic of the problems in Christianity today than it was evidence of the greatness of a fathomless God.

I understand God's ways and thoughts less and less as the years go by. I understand His grace and goodness more and more. As I study and follow Him, He becomes an even greater mystery to me. He is that big. No longer am I under the impression that I am like Him. I am not. I am like you. Whoever you are, whatever you've done and whatever you think of yourself or me, I am just like you.

Oh, and in case you're wondering what the book was that helped me understand all of this a little better, it's called The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. Don't read it if you want to believe anything good about yourself. Read it if you want to understand how good your God is to you and how unworthy of any of it you are.

It's good news. Trust me.

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