“Tom, although I want my life to be a reflection of God's goodness the truth is that often I find, like Paul, that what I would do I don't and what I wouldn't do I do. In other words my flesh still sometimes does it's thing in spite of my desire to live a life that glorifies God. But I have realized that by admitting my shortcomings, accepting them as unavoidable humanity, and trusting Father to always love me and see me as acceptable in His sight, because of Jesus, that I can be at peace even when I fail. That hasn't been easy for me. I've struggled a lot with poor self image issues. But just knowing that Father always loves me, even, if He must forgive me 7 x 70 a day, and that I am safe in Him, apart from what I do, is causing me to love Him, and others and even myself more. Just my 2 cents bro. Love ya”
Steve from Tableservers left this comment at my last post (Abstain From Every Form Of Evil), and I wanted to be sure and share it with you all because I doubt I could have said it better than this.
Bruce over at YBMT often talks about doubt and fear being relationship stoppers, and again, I agree. These guys are honest about their walk, and gentle with those who disagree with them. As Bruce has also mentioned on his blog, we don’t always agree on every issue, but I think when it comes to it, we agree on love.
For me, this walk with Christ has never been about fear and doubt. I am learning that I am very blessed to have been removed early from that fear and doubt that gets in the way of a sound relationship with Abba. I mentioned in a comment recently that before I knew Yeshua, I had all the fear and doubt I could stand. Since I have known Him, I have not felt it, at least not where it concerns God’s love for me. That one issue has been settled for me for about six years now.
But I do have doubts. What are those doubts? They always revolve around me. Am I smart enough? Am I good enough to do this project? Do I know enough? Am I rude? Am I arrogant? Can I work well with others (honestly, if you only knew how much I doubt that about me, as nearly every early report card I received had the mark “Does not work and play well with others” on it).
As you can see, I have lots of doubts. But as Steve said so well, “trusting Father to always love me and see me as acceptable in His sight, because of Jesus, that I can be at peace even when I fail”. To me, having this love in my life for the last six years has been the one thing that has kept me alive.
I lost nearly everything five years ago: wife, job, daughter half of the time, house, cars, respect for myself, pride, and position. At a time in my life when I was supposed to be building upon the foundation I had laid, and building a mansion I might add, I was broken in half. If not for the absolute certainty of God’s love for, and redemption of me, I would have ended my life long ago.
So I find myself in a place that many believers have not yet been. And the funny thing is, I was there immediately. Maybe it was the fact that I was broken completely that led me to trust in God so much so that even to give the energy to draw my next breath took incredible amounts of faith in God. And not that this faith was my own, I am very, very well aware of my memories of that time, and I know that a Hand not my own was holding me up.
To remember these things sometimes brings tears to my eyes, recalling the rivers of tears I cried, and the shame of having lost my wife to another man. But this “experience” I have because of that time is priceless. I have something that many followers of Christ do not have; I have actual memories and experiences of leaning on Him completely, with all my weight. And never once did He let me down. I had nothing, I lost everything, and he kept me safe, fed, secure, and yes, at times filled with joy.
Many people have experienced what I have experienced. But I am finding out that for whatever reason, not many people remember it the way I do. There is only one explanation; God is with me, and it is His choice that I remember these things, and that I have such peace in His presence.
I am not a good man. I know that. So if you are looking for some reason as to why God would have blessed me so, you won’t find it in me.
But I will say this;, the same God who is so physically alive for me is also physically alive for you. He is not distant to me, He isn’t some spiritual, far off wise guru to me. At times, I attempt to distance myself from Him, but with regards to His part of our relationship, He is Abba. He is so very real! I wish you could spend just five minutes in my mind, ignoring the other garbage in there, and see what I see of God. From what I hear, not many feel that way about Him, that He is so real, so very, very real.
Doubt God? Never. He just never let me doubt Him. If it had been left up to me, I’d doubt His love for me, too. But for some reason, He did not let me doubt. I don’t consider that to mean I am “strong” in faith. In fact, from my warped point of view, I think it means He keeps the very weak especially close, because we doubt so easily.