#BrightonBrain - October 5, 2018

Sometimes I Feel Discouraged Trying To Live Like Jesus…

Sometimes when I read the Bible and/or readings about what the Christian life should look like and how we’ve been called to live, I feel downright disheartened by my life. Often, it seems like the Bible’s “ask” is too big or aspirational for me to even attain – way too idealistic to actually live out.  I sure would love to live my life like the Apostle Paul or the Bible’s John (let alone Jesus!), but it often seems (and feels) so unattainable that I’m left feeling a bit hopeless.

***Deep breath*** Let me recite what I know to be true real quick before we dive deeper: I am so deeply loved by God that he sent a perfect savior in Jesus Christ to be a perfect sacrifice for all my sins and all the times I can never measure up (past, present, and future); it is in Jesus I have hope – not in my own performance or ability to mimic Christ or his biblical disciples.

Ok, now that’s over, let’s get back into it.

All that said, I do need to deal with the fact my actions often stray dramatically away from the Word and other Christian academics teachings. I read Keller and or Piper and BAM, I feel guilty/inferior/not-good-enough. I don’t measure up to the standard these guys are talking about it seems like – ever!

For those of y’all who wrestle with this, you know how isolating that feeling can be. So much so, that I’m confronted sometimes with an ominous, dark inner self-dialogue. It’s the type of thinking that points me to a sometimes sad truth I may never want to actually ‘forgive & forget’ or ‘consider others more significant than myself’ – at least not with pure and genuine motives baked in complete and utter selflessness. How on earth am I supposed to ever do that!?

It’s in the doubtful times that I need to remember this: I’m not doing it, but rather, Christ in me is at work. I need to remember it’s not me that makes heart-change. Only the Holy Spirit.

I’ve “understood” the gospel in my head for years now. Or at least I think I have. But knowing it in my head does nothing if I don’t know and believe it in my heart. And I’ve learned (slash am still learning!) that my actions are what ultimately reflect the state of my heart. I desperately need the Holy Spirit to make the truths of the gospel real to me – in my heart – on a daily basis. And I forget that I can ask Him to help me do that.

I try and do it in my own strength instead of receiving and taking advantage of the gift I have in the Holy Spirit. And in order for me to be transformed and make any true progress, I need to learn what it means to depend on Him. It’s only when I let the Holy Spirit do what I myself cannot do, that I will be able to do any good. Because I am broken and incapable of being a quote-unquote “better person” by my own might.

I don’t know about you, but I’m such a technical, list-maker-kind-of-thinker. and so immediately, I jump to thinking: okay, but HOW. Someone, please tell me how to do this!

And then my #BrightonBrain kicks in too and I want to do all the research and ask all the questions on a quest to quench my curiosity. But before I dive in, I thought I’d share some of what I was thinking to both encourage you AND encourage myself to share what the Lord reveals to me over the next few days and/or weeks (depending…) as I ponder on what it looks like to seek the Holy Spirit.

Here are a few questions that come to mind:

  • I know the Holy Spirit is “my helper”, but in what specific ways can He help?
  • And how exactly can and should I ask for that help?
  • What does the Bible say about the Holy Spirit’s role in my daily life?
  • And how much of this is actually in my control?
  • How can I be better about seeking the spirit?
  • Is there anything that I can do to speed up the process?

I’d also love to hear your thoughts! I hope you feel free to respond even if you’re not confident in your thoughts. I’m certainly not. But I think its’ honest conversations like this that really stir up our thoughts and hearts to better pursue and get to know the Lord, together.

PS: I’m trying REALLY hard to force myself to publish more. I can so easily talk about hard things on IG stories. Well, I mean, “easy” when compared to writing a blog post. But I am so determined to be more consistent in my commitment to put my thoughts down on paper. This blog post is an example of me doing that – what do you think?