We all fit into this category of Imperfect Christians, but for some the imperfections seem larger than others. Not that I’m comparing, but the truth is most of my sin came after I was saved. It’s a fact I’m not proud of, but one I think others can relate to themselves. It’s something I have struggled with as I walk out my christianity.
I was saved at an early age. I don’t doubt my salvation. I was baptised shortly after and really served God those early years. I know that foundation kept me when I strayed. My parents got out of church and within a few years I followed. Years of rebellion followed. I rebelled not just against my parents but against God, as well. At the time, I didn’t think of my behavior that way but looking back that’s where I was.
I was broken and hurting, but I thought I was in control. There’s a saying that hurting people hurt people. Sometimes that hurt also includes oneself. Then four years later I got back in church. A single teenage parent, who continued to live a sin filled life. I was learning on a different level, but I was still actively sinning. I was riding a fence, but God knew that.
Four years after I got back in church, my world came crashing down again, and my anger towards God rose. He knew again I would fail. This time I went to church some, but not consistently. I went back to my fence where I felt more safety.
Two years later, God started peeling back all that I had piled on me during those ten years. I didn’t even realize that it’s what He was doing. I wasn’t in church. The town I lived closed the church for the summer. I just knew I was hungry, and God met this imperfect Christian at home. I started getting in to the Bible for myself. I started reading the Bible daily to my three young children. I taught them to memorize Scriptures, just as I had done in my childhood. I started writing what God was speaking to me through His Word. Over the next sixteen years God has continued to do a work in my life.
God started working on the outward things first. I stopped drinking, smoking cigarettes, popping pills, smoking pot, being promiscuous, cussing. I thought those were the big things, but they were just the visual ones. Then God started working on my anger, my attitude, my insecurities, my deepest hurts and fears. Those took much longer, and I’m still a work in progress.
Even now I look at my life and cannot fathom how much God had changed my life. Over the years I have known that I wasn’t living up to my God-given potential, because I know what God brought me out of and He won’t waste it. God showed me this week that I struggle more to accept His Grace because I walked away and lived a sin-filled life after I accepted Him as my Savior. I know who I am in Christ, but I have allowed my past after accepting Christ to stand in the way of walking in who He made me to be. I feel unworthy of the call on my life, because I walked away. This is a fairly new revelation that He has continued to deepen the past few days.
I was listening to Ron Carpenter in a message titled Misfits. Although it is a series, this first message was talking about the unlikely people who God used to build the kingdom. He made the comment that “God brought you into the family knowing that dirt came with the treasure. God is not afraid of your dirt.” My mind immediately went to the scripture in Matthew about the Kingdom.
I took a geology class and know that many gems are formed when a combination of minerals come together under the right circumstances. They are generally formed under pressure and then have to be mined out of the ground. They appear to be nothing initially, but with the right ingredients, under the right circumstances, pressure and time a true treasure is formed.
God knew all the dirt that would surround me when He paid the price. He placed me where I was suppose to be. He allowed me to experience all the circumstances that shaped me. He allowed me to be shaped by the pressures that would try to destroy me. And He let the passage of time work in His favor. God knew that I was a hidden treasure and He paid the price with His Son.
I asked God for a scripture or character that could help me understand that I am still usable for His purpose. I know that the Bible is filled with imperfect Christians, but for two days I could not think of one who walked with God, then walked away, then was used by God. God gave me three familiar characters.
In my quiet time God helped me relate my current circumstances back to the Bible. Moses was called by God. He was saved and raised by royalty after a few years with his natural family. After Moses accepted his calling, he killed a man. Then Moses ran for his life. Forty years later, God found Moses walking in the wilderness and brought Moses back to accomplish saving the Israelites. From an insignificant beginning, to knowing His purpose, to murder, to an encounter with Christ, and then an expansion of His ministry.
Then there was Jonah; Jonah was a voice piece for God a prophet. Yet when Jonah was called to visit the community of Nineveh, he did not approve. He ran. God took Him through some storms, and then met Jonah in the belly of a whale. Ultimately a city was saved.
Peter was a Christian, one of the twelve closest to Christ. Yet even walking with Christ for three years, at Christ’s darkest hour, Peter walked away and denied Christ. Jesus knew Peter would, yet He chose Him anyway. Peter was used by God when they were together, but after Peter walked away, God used Peter more and expanded His kingdom.
I still don’t know all that God has planned for me, but I accept that He can and will use me for His Kingdom purpose. I still have a lot to learn, but God paid a price and will continue to deal with my dirt until His treasure is found.
This blog is being shared on Tuesday at Ten. A linkup where you have a week to write about a given topic.