I used to think that the longer I walk on my faith journey, the more I’ll become Christlike. In reality, the longer and closer I walk with Christ, the more of my ungodly attitudes were revealed.
Those hidden areas of self-interest, pushing God to the corner. That pride which foolishly thinks accomplishments define me. The unforgiveness of someone wronged, where I continued to punish myself by repeating the hurts in my heart (insane, I know).
And the list goes on.
The moment I thought I “got it”, another flaw shows up at my door. Sometimes, it’s the same behaviour, thoughts, sin! that I thought I’ve dealt with—returning with a vengeance.
These irk me most. For I like to deal with things and get it over with. Problems, solved.
Herein lies the problem—I’m driven to change using my effort (so tiring!) rather than looking to God to do His redemptive work in me.
And another problem, the impatience to go through the process of bearing good fruits. Of which I have no control of the timing.
I discovered this hymn which described my deep desires to “be good”, but alas, I kept falling short of God’s glory.
The hymn was written by John Newton (a reformed slave trader who wrote the famous hymn “Amazing Grace”)
“I asked the Lord”
p style=”text-align: center;”>I asked the Lord that I might grow,
In faith and love and every grace.
Might more of His salvation know,
and seek more earnestly His face.
p style=”text-align: center;”>’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
and He I trust has answered prayer,
But it has been in such a way
as almost drove me to despair.
p style=”text-align: center;”>I hoped that in some favoured hour,
at once He’d answer my request,
And by His love’s constraining power,
subdue my sins and give me rest.
p style=”text-align: center;”>Instead of this He made me feel
the hidden evils of my heart,
And let the angry powers of Hell
assault my soul in every part.
p style=”text-align: center;”>Yea more with His own hand He seemed
intent to aggravate my woe,
crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
cast out my feelings, laid me low.
p style=”text-align: center;”>“Lord why is this?”, I trembling cried.
“Wilt Thou pursue thy worm to death?”
“Tis in this way” The Lord replied,
“I answer prayer for grace and faith.”
p style=”text-align: center;”>“These inward trials I employ
from self and pride to set thee free,
And break thy schemes of earthly joy
that thou mayest seek thy all in me”
“This is the way,” the Lord replied, “I answer prayer for grace and faith.”
As always, answered prayers of bearing-good-fruits don’t come nicely wrapped in a gift basket. They often come with afflictions.
Are you in the same situation as me and getting frustrated?
Ask Him to do His work and change us—from within.
For He created us and He knows us intimately, more than we know ourselves.
We don’t have to strive to become who we were meant to be. In the end, only God can make a real change in us.
In Christ I have a righteousness that is not my own and that does not come from the Law but rather from the faithfulness of Christ. It is the righteousness of God that is based on faith. ‘ (Philippians 3:9)