Sometimes as believers we fall into the trap of thinking that we have to make things happen. To grow spiritually. To get to the next level in our relationship with God. To earn favor, right standing, acceptance.
I’ve learned after years of striving. This life in Christ? It happens organically – that is, I am not responsible for making anything happen. Not spiritual growth. Not getting to the next level in my relationship with God. Not earning favor, right standing, acceptance.
You and I are not in right standing before God because of these things. I don’t know about you, but I am in right standing before God because of Christ. And I will never be more right with God than I was at the moment I recognized Christ as the only acceptable atonement for my sin. There is no effort on my part that can possibly make me more right, or put me in better standing with God.
The pressure is officially off.
But if I’m saved, and feel no pressure to perform rooted in a sense of obligation toward and repaying God, aren’t I in danger of a stagnant Christian walk?
I desire spiritual growth. I desire to be a woman of Christ-like character, and I’ve long since come to realize character development is a refining process. God knows of this desire of mine, and I firmly believe it is in line with His will (Romans 8:29). I used to have a problem giving up easily and taking the easy way out. I recognized this needed to change, and I prayed about it, and I even tried to be patient in my own strength, but it produced no real change. The change came through remaining in a specific God-orchestrated circumstance. I had nothing to do with it. With Christ, it happened organically.
I desire intimacy with God. I am known intimately by Him, but I long to open more areas of my heart to Him, and to know Him and His heart better. One of the things I used to struggle with as a single woman was loneliness – not having “the one” to share my life with. I realized that God wanted me to have that romance, that closeness with Him, but much as I tried to cultivate that myself, the emptier I felt. I only realized just recently, and I’m not even sure how it came to be, that the love relationship between God and I is there. I don’t know. I feel alive spending time with Him, I’m assured by His desire for me. I do know I didn’t have anything to do with it. With Christ, it happened organically.
I desire to please God, not because I want something from Him, but because I genuinely love Him and want to draw attention to Him. I owe Him a much bigger debt than I can ever pay, and thankfully, He didn’t ask me to pay that debt. Sometimes, though, I find myself still trying to get in good with God. He graciously reminds me every time that I am already there. I just live fully and with conviction, and I know God is pleased with that. With Christ, it happens organically.
I am at peace knowing that God transforms me.
It’s great to have this knowledge about myself. I have honestly never been more free.
But it translates to other believers as well.
I can be at peace knowing that God transforms you. I don’t have to argue with you or pull out my hair because you’re doing different things differently than I do them or you’re not learning the same things at the same pace as I learn them. I don’t have to change you or your mind.
I used to think that if I saw a friend going in what I thought was a wrong direction, I would take it upon myself to rescue them or correct them, usually drawing from personal experience. I started doing this again a few weeks ago with a very close friend, and I’m glad I realized it before I ruined our friendship. I had been through something similar as her, and I knew what helped me, so I’ve been sharing that with her and even putting a certain level of pressure for her to do the same thing. But I realized that while our situations are very similar, God has different purposes for our lives, and so her response will necessarily be different than mine. Now, should this friend or any other ask what I think about something, I will draw on God’s Word for my response, but I’m done forcing it down anybody’s throat anymore. Because they have to figure these things out as God leads and guides them.
It happens organically.