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There’s More To Life Than Just Living

Because let’s face it, this whole life thing is a lot deeper- and complicated- than we ever could have expected

*Ref: the Book of Jonah

I’m finally back.

From where, you might ask?

Oh, from a detour to Joppa, where I planned on living my own life in Tarshish (to be honest, it felt like more of a pit-stop in Sodom and Gomorrah), to a violent storm of life, to a few days in a great fish, where God had me reflect on the path I had chosen, and back here, on the path that I was  originally called onto.

The first two months of college were as expected: overwhelming, exciting, adventurous, and eye-opening. It also came with exposure and a lot of revelation. I was given the chance to live however I wanted to- and I did. But I learned more than just a “good time” in the blur of the bright lights in the big city.

I figured I would take it by storm- and so I went out and, to put it mildly- Did the most. And throughout it all, I tried to hustle my way out of church, home cell, and meetings with my home cell leader. Time and time again, I ignored God’s prompting to come back to Him and fulfill His purpose for me. I kept taking the wheel and speeding down the fast lane- until I crashed, and found myself humbled, fearful and ashamed, crawling back to God.

I couldn’t create a life that was better than the life God had in store for me. I could create memories, experiences and fleeting fun, but I couldn’t find peace, fulfillment, and sincere joy. Something was still missing. I was still empty, and I was reminded time and time again that I’m not really in control of my life. As I found myself in smoky rooms of blaring music, dark streets and dingy rooms, I couldn’t push away that silent voice that said “This life isn’t for me, Bee. I can’t seem to fit in. Why am I even here? Why aren’t I as comfortable and happy as the others around me?” It was through God’s grace that I made it through that season in one piece, and still had the chance to return to Him. And my God, ever so gracious, accepted me with open arms, cleaned my wounds, and reminded me of who I am, and what I’m here to do. Sometimes we need to hit rock bottom so that the only way forward is up.

What I realized after a few days in the belly of the fish, is that there’s no better life set out for me- or anyone, for that matter- than the life that is in alignment with God’s purpose. Yes, it can be difficult, it does require us to leave our comfort zone, and it means leaving certain habits, scenes, and relationships behind (John 8:11). But it is so fulfilling, and brings so much peace, that it’s all worth it. And now, having experienced pretty much all that the world has to offer, I have my fire for God rekindled, and am certain that the life I have left behind really isn’t something to fret over. God has greater in store for me.

We’re all living life as best we can, and we’re all at different places in our walk of faith. Maybe you’re still just living your life. Maybe you’ve heard God calling you to Nineveh. Perhaps you’re stubborn, like me, and are in Joppa, on your way out to live your own life and ignore God’s calling over your life. You might be sleeping in your comfort zone, or going through the storm, or being tossed in the rough oceans, or sitting in the depths of the belly of a fish, contemplating your life, or have recently gotten back on track. But once you’ve really had a life-changing encounter with God, there’s no turning back. And I won’t lie, I can’t wait until the day you realize that God has more in store for you than where you are right now, or where you think you’re headed.

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Running From Sodom and Gomorrah

Genesis 19v12-13:”Meanwhile, the angels questioned Lot. ‘Do you have any other relatives here in the city? ‘ they asked. ‘Get them out of this place- your sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone else. For we are about to destroy this city completely. The outcry against this place is so great it has reached the Lord, and he has sent us to destroy.”

Sodom and Gomorrah were two big cities ruled by wickedness and evil. God, having had enough of this sin and corruption, decided to destroy these cities and all its inhabitants, save for Lot, his family, and anyone who was willing to believe. They had found favour in God’s eyes, and He was merciful and spared them.

Sometimes we find ourselves in the same position. We were stuck in our own cities of sin, in our own Sodoms and Gomorrahs, and have finally found favour in God’s eyes. Or rather, we have accepted the favour of God that came through Jesus’ death and resurrection. We’ve really received His Spirit, experienced His greatness, felt His Spirit, and are ready to change our ways. We’ve finally reached the point where we can leave our Sodoms and Gomorrahs behind, and the Lord can destroy them and wipe us clean of our pasts.

Verse 17: “When they were safely out of the city, one of the angels ordered, ‘Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away!'”

What I found interesting was the fact that the angel of the Lord specifically told them not to look back as they escaped. If I’ve already fled from the danger, what’s the problem in looking back? It’s already done, so what difference does looking back make? Quite frankly, I would have loved to look back and see my old sins and wicked ways being destroyed. It would have been encouraging to see how far I had come. The Lord revealed the answer to my question not too many scriptures later.

Verse 26: “But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt.”

What happened to Lot’s wife is a message to us. Looking back at the sin that you’ve left behind immobilises you. It leaves you stuck in place, and you end up being destroyed along with your past because you coveted for it. When you’ve started a path to righteousness but stop and look back, you put yourself in a position where you can’t move forward or backward. You end your own journey when it’s barely begun.

When you have decided to leave your sin behind, there’s no time to look back. Don’t focus on where you come from, focus on where you’re going. For the Lord has taken you out of the kingdom of darkness and translated you into His marvelous light (Colossians 1:13). You are a new creation in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17), and so you should no longer think back on the things of old. The bridges of sin need to be burned down so that you won’t be led back to darkness. The Bible tells us that if our hand causes us to sin, we’re better off without it. Rather enter the kingdom of Heaven with one hand than to enter Hell with two (Matthew 5:30). So let go of the things that make you want to look back. Stay consistently in the Lord, and don’t lose your momentum. Put off the old man, and let the Spirit renew your thoughts and actions. Become more like God- righteous and holy (Ephesians 4:22-24).

Don’t look back, child of God. You’re moving forward and upward. Leave the old. Focus on God.

Disconnected

I’m a huge fan of cartoons, series, anime and movies. I love gripping storylines and plots that leave me asking “how would I handle being in this situation?”

A lot of my favourite movies or series involved the main character leading a double-life. Think of Clark Kent or Peter Parker. A regular guy at first glance, but actually a superhero in secret. I ask myself how I’d ever be able to balance two different lives at once, all the while keeping them independent of each other.

But I guess I already do. You probably already do, too. One’s personal life doesn’t usually clash with their professional life or extra curricular activities. Typical high-school example: If I had a boyfriend, I wouldn’t want my Maths teacher to know about him. The idea of my relationships and school life overlapping just wouldn’t work for me. We all balance different worlds in our lives while keeping them separate. I like to call this ‘the disconnection’, because there’s a disconnection between the different areas of our lives.

The most common- and most dangerous- disconnection that can take place is the separation between our faith, and everything else that’s going on in our life. This is especially true for someone who’s 17. Someone who’s trying to figure out who they are, where they stand, what they want to be one day and who they are according to their faith. Someone pretty much like me.

I was in that same position- going to church, being holy and good in church, then walking out and resuming a totally different life. A life that was ruled by sin and corruption. A life that wasn’t holy and righteous. A life that a child of God shouldn’t live. I was living a complete double-life.

I finally realised that when it comes to God, there can’t be that kind of disconnection. I can’t live for God on Sundays, and then live for the world every other day of the week. The Lord despises anything that exalts itself about Him (Isaiah 2:12, 2 Corinthians 10:5), and the truth is, if you think about something more than you think about God, you’ve made that thing your god.

We say we’re living our lives for God, but do we really understand what that means? If we’re living for Him, it means that He has to be the main focus of our lives. Everything we do should glorify Him, and He should be involved in everything we do. And if we make the decision to live for Him, our lifestyles should reflect that decision.

And the results of this double life aren’t great. You end up feeling guilty about the things you do, and when you pray, it feels empty. It’s more of a “I know I’m doing things I shouldn’t, and I feel bad, but I’m just going to force a prayer because I’m a Christian and it’s what I should do.” You feel disconnected from God.

If you’re in that position today, I want you to recognize that this kind of lifestyle can’t be maintained for long without you feeling empty at some point. There’s no grey area; the Bible makes it clear that we have a choice between life and death (Deutoronomy 30:19), and that we should choose life. We cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). If you’re alive but you’re caught up in a lifestyle that leads to death, then you’re not really living.

In Matthew 16:24, Jesus tells us that if we want to be His disciple, we need to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. That means that we have to resist the temptation to fulfill our human desires. That also means that we’ll get a bit of slack for making this decision. And finally, we also need to consistently pursue Him.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Luke 10:27). Our attention and love can’t be divided between our Heavenly Father and the world. There’s a disconnection between these world’s.

So I challenge you to make a decision today: choose to follow God whole heartedly. Make those sacrifices. Make the decision to change your destiny. As Sarah Jakes Robert says, embrace the uncomfortable to become unstoppable. Feel the peace, grace and power that God wants to shower you with by making Him your first priority. You will never go unrewarded, and the rewards you’ll receive from Heaven are far greater and fulfilling than anything the world could ever offer you. You’ll never be empty when your God is a God of abundance. You’ll never experience poverty when the riches of the Kingdom belong to your Father. You’ll never stay stagnant when our God is the God who lifts His children and elevates them to unbelievable heights. And no matter what struggles you might experience, you’ll never be shaken or broken, because your God strengthens you and prepares a table in the midst of your enemies. Give Him your full attention, and watch Him reveal your full potential in Him.

This Tricky Thing called Temptation

“Guard your heart”, God tells us in His Word, “for out of it flows the issues of life.”

Although I realised the significance of this scripture, I never really looked too deeply into it. I always took it at face value: be careful of what you allow yourself to grow attached to and become passionate about- don’t fall in love with the wrong things, because what you do and how you live your life is led by your passions.

This, to me, meant that I shouldn’t allow the wrong things to enter my heart. I never really took into account the fact that these wrong things might not look or seem wrong- in fact, they would seem like everything I wanted. Sparkly and new, wrapped in shiny gift paper. So why would one guard their heart from something that they liked? 

See, the tricky thing about temptation, and what gives temptation the power that is has over so many people, is that it’s never something that you find distasteful. It’s always something that you want, or like. They say the devil will never come to you in a black cape, with horns and a pitchfork. He will come disguised as an angel of light. He comes as your heart’s desires. The hard truth is that there is always some form of pleasure attached to sin, and that’s what always appeals to us during temptation. This makes it easier to give in than to resist it. 

As a 17-year old high-schooler, I believe it’s safe to say I’ve experienced- and failed at resisting- my fair share of temptation. Everything looks enticing, everything piques curiosity, everything looks good. But failing to resist temptation also comes before a fall… the guilt and disconnection you feel from God overrides any pleasure you thought you experienced. I finally grew tired of being in that constant roller-coaster of righteousness and sin… of getting my relationship right with God, then folding at the sight of temptation and feeling too guilty to even pray. Of practising restraint and moderation, then burning out. 

At a church conference last week, the pastor mentioned a few things about temptation. It wasn’t the main message, but it impacted me and stuck in my heart since. It seems ridiculous that I couldn’t figure out where I was going wrong, but thankfully, the Lord revealed it to me.

When deciding to resisting temptation, we focus on just that- the decision. The real challenge isn’t to make the decision or to start implementing it- the problem is consistency. And not consistently avoiding tempting situations, or always saying no- but consistently staying in the same Word that led you to make that decision.

Temptation is a formidable foe, but the Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), and can bring down any weapon of the enemy. The only way to successfully and permanently resist temptation is to stay deep in the Word, and speak the Word of God over whatever temptation you’re facing.

The Lord tells us to flee from youthful lusts (2 Timothy 2:22), and that we will never come across any temptation that we aren’t able to overcome (1 Corinthians 10:13). He also tells us to put away our sinful nature and earthly desires, to follow Him and to trust Him in all that we do, because where we are weak, Christ is strong (2 Corinthians 12:10). Even if you do make a mistake and cave in, you won’t be disconnected from Him. Why? Because He knows your heart. Because you’ll be able to overcome guilt (the tool that the enemy uses against you), as you know that your Heavenly Father has forgiven you of your sins, and so you can forgive yourself and grow from the experience.

Although I’m still young and have a lot more to learn, I believe that temptation doesn’t have to have control over me any longer. I can resist the devil be He who dwells in me is greater than the one who brings temptation. With Him, I can overcome and conquer. And so can you.

The Power of Prayer

If there’s one thing I’ve always been taught to rely on, it’s prayer. No matter how good- or bad- things may be going, prayer should never be deserted.

Just yesterday, one of my siblings attended an interview for a job that he’s wanted for months. My mom called my other brother and I together right before he started his interview. We all came together, held hands and prayed that his interview would be a success, the position would be his, and that they would accept him right then and there.

If you truly want the Lord to work and minister in your life, you have to start working in faith. About three hours after praying, my mom and I were in the car when my brother called. He told us that the everything went well, and that they gave him the job not long after the interview. Along with our excitement and celebrations, prayers of thanks were given. Glory be to God!

Prayer really is powerful. It’s when someone prays that things start happening, people are delivered, lives are saved and destinies change. It brings peace and wisdom, and gives direction. Praying- talking to God, the Creator, the Redeemer, He who loves you dearly- is the most important form of communication there is.

The power of prayer is something I’ll never underestimate, because the power of my God is unlimited, and the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16)

Praying silently, or on my own, is a major part of my relationship with God, and most of my prayer is done in this way. But there’s just something about praying as a unity. There’s something about coming together with other believers, and all of you worshiping the Lord, thanking Him, and declaring in faith that He has made a way where there wasn’t a way before, and declaring His blessings upon somebody’s life. There’s something amazing about praying in agreement and in faith with others. The presence of God is truly felt, it’s intense, it’s powerful. His Spirit is manifest in that gathering. That simple act of coming forth, holding hands and speaking the Word of God over somebody creates an atmosphere like no other.

It’s just as Jesus said in Matthew 18: 20, “For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, I am there in the midst of them.” When we come together in His Name and in faith, He truly IS in our midst. And you can tell that He is present by the way prayers are answered. You know God’s in the building when the you feel His anointing upon you, when He speaks into your heart and works in your life. You know He’s present and actively working when the atmosphere changes, when your faith is strengthened and your hope is restored.

In all areas of your life, involve God and pray. I urge you- don’t forget the power of the God you’re praying to. Allow Him to work in your life. You’re one powerful prayer away from changing your situation, your health, your relationship, your career, your finances, your family dynamics, your academic performance. You’re one powerful prayer away from changing your life.

You’re called, thus you’re Qualified

Don’t think you’re good enough? Think again!

Have you ever thought of a certain project, position or opportunity you wanted, and second-guessed yourself? You told yourself “there’s no way I’m good enough for this”, “I don’t even stand a chance”, or “so-and-so could do much better than I ever could”.

I’ve been there. Pleeenty of times. There are opportunities that I’ve passed up simply because of my insecurities or fear of failure, even it if was something I was passionate about. I’d look at the competition and buckle. I’d look at the statistics, and talk myself out of it. Even when the Lord speaks to us and steers us in a certain direction, we look at all the factors and talk ourselves out of it.  We allow fear- the fear of failure, the fear of being inadequate, the fear of being unqualified- to cloud our minds and stop us.

When we, as Christians, say that we trust God and are confident in His unimaginable abilities, we need to truly mean it! He strengthens the weak (Isaiah 40:29) and enables us to reach new heights (Habakkuk 3:19). We need to discard our fear and place our faith in Him. Remember, it’s not by might or by power that we accomplish and excel, but by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). We need to trust in the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, for we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

Our achievements aren’t made possible by what people say, or what the situation says, or what the statistics and the odds say- they’re made possible by God’s ability and His will. God has the final say in all things. If it seems impossible, God can make it possible. If it seems hopeless, the Lord can restore hope. Where you see a rock, God can cause water to gush. Where you see an ocean, God can create a dry pathway. When you feel unqualified and inadequate, God will declare, “you are more than a conqueror. You are more than enough. You are qualified- and not only that, you are called by me. According to the world you can’t do this, but according to ME, you’ve already excelled at it.”

Moses- a stutterer- was called by God to confront Pharaoh and lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. Jonah- a man ran who from God- was called by God to preach to the people of Nineveh about Him. Paul- a man who had murdered- was called by God to be one of His apostles. Lazarus- a man who was dead- was called by God to be a great testimony to God’s power. All of these people were generally unqualified, but the Lord lifted them up, qualified them and changed their lives in unbelievable ways. Even when I look back in my own personal life, the times that I excelled the most- especially when I least expected it- were the times that I relied on the Lord’s strength and believed who He said I was.

Don’t focus on the odds. Don’t allow fear to minister in your situation. Even if you think you’re not good enough, the Lord has called YOU- He has decided that you’re meant for that position. He has decided that you’re meant to be the leader of that project. He has decided that this opportunity is yours. And what He decides, is what goes.

You’re called by God, and thus you’re qualified.

The Peace of God

 

On 2 June, at 2AM, I was making myself a cup of tea. I needed the energy so I could stay up and finish off a written speech that was due, and read through some notes for my exam later that morning. My parents were sleeping on the sofa when my mom’s phone started ringing. “Who could be calling at this time?” I whined as my mom’s ring tone went off. My aunt’s name was printed across the screen.

My aunt had been diagnosed with cancer, and had come to visit a week or two prior. She had left looking and feeling a lot better than when she had arrived. On the day she left, I told her how I didn’t want her to leave. She smiled at me and said “I have to go. I have a plane flight to catch, but I’ll be back soon. And when I come back, we’ll have tons of fun, and do lots of things together.”

As my mom’s phone rang, I figured that my aunt was calling my mom to get prayer for some pains she might be having (seeing as both my mom and aunt are deep in faith and strongly believe in the power of prayer), but the call was actually from my aunt’s oldest son. I knew something was wrong when my mom gasped, shot up on the sofa and immediately started praying in tongues. “Come back, in Jesus’ Name,” I heard her pray. That’s when the awful realisation hit me. The tears pricked my eyes as I walked into my bedroom and closed the door. 

Needless to say, there was no sleep after that, and the morning was spent in tears and mournful prayer. I didn’t know how to feel.

That Sunday, we went to my late aunt’s house to spend time with my cousins, and for a church service. The one thing that surprised me the most- and also strengthened me a lot- was the attitude of my cousins. They were so strong, so calm and collected… so at peace. It was a contagious peace, a peace that I couldn’t understand, a peace that hadn’t been present in my house when we had heard the news. 

My cousins are all people of faith, living their lives in the Lord and actively serving in ministry. They turned to the Lord in their time of need.

The whole experience made me realise how God can give someone courage and peace in the toughest of situations. Those who place all their trust in the Lord will receive His undeniable, inexplicable peace. The peace that comes from knowing that He is in control. His Holy Spirit guides them and aids them, even when all hope seems lost. 

John 14:27- “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

I’ve come to realise that the Lord shows His children- time and time again- how amazing He truly is. In situations that would typically shatter a person and completely destroy their mind, the Lord will give you the strength, courage and peace to persevere. The Lord grants us peace that can never be found in the world- peace that the world will never comprehend. Don’t let your situation steal your peace, no matter how awful, hopeless or desperate it may seem. Instead, stand strong in the Lord. Be bold and courageous. Have faith. Trust in Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Watch Him do wonders and restore your peace of mind. Remember, even if you’re crisis seems impossible, all things are possible through Him who strengthens you. 🌸❤

Who am I?

 

 

That’s a question that I often found myself asking throughout my high school years, and even now- in my last year of high school- I can’t answer that question with certainty.

One thing that many of us young people struggle with is finding our identities. Remember when you were in 1st grade, and you said “I’m going to grow up and become an astronaut!”? When you get older, your ideas, personality and perception change and develop. When you enter high school, you get thrust into a whirlwind of emotions and confusion, and all aspects of your life change. You go through victories and disappointments, ups and downs, and your faith, morals, values and willpower get tested.

Sometimes we’re insecure. Sometimes we associate ourselves with the wrong people. Sometimes we get into the wrong relationships. Or make the wrong decisions. Or don’t understand why we feel a certain way about certain things.

All these things impact our ideas about who we are. Our insecurities and confusion lead us to try validate ourselves and fit in wherever we possibly can. We even end up developing awful habits that can affect us for a lifetime- all because we don’t know who we are.

My struggles with my identity also influenced my faith. There were times when I felt good about myself, and confident of my position as a child of God. And in times where I was more lost and looking for answers in the world, my faith would hit an all-time low. I recently discovered that the main problem with my faith was a lack of consistency. But how could I consistently grow in the Lord and have a relationship with Him if I didn’t even know who I was?

I finally found, acknowledged and accepted my identity in Christ, and that’s when I really began to gain confidence in myself . 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light”

One has to come to the decision that they are who God says they are. You have to reach a point where you say, “Lord, I’ve tried to find my own identity, and I’ve tried to gain confidence and feel better about myself out there, but I’m getting nowhere. I’ve chosen to follow you, and that also means that I’ll live the life you want me to. My identity will be in Christ, and I choose to be a person who lives according to Your Word and Your principles. I’m not living just to fulfill my own carnal desires, I’m looking for something deeper.”

And that’s when you truly gain confidence. I’m so much more confident now because I know who I am in the Lord. I am chosen by the Lord. I am royalty, I am part of the Holy nation and the peculiar people, I am God’s very own possession. I am created in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26), I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14), my name is inscribed in His palm (Isaiah 49:16), I am a child of the Most High God (Psalms 82:6). I am unshakeable in the Lord. I am not meant to be understood by everyone, because I’m not of this earth. I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37). I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phillipians 4:13)

Once I truly understood and realised who I am, I could actually move forward in my relationship with Christ, and develop character as a person. It’s still an ongoing process that I take step-by-step, but it’s a fulfilling one. Now I have a solid reason behind the habits I have, the conversations I have and the people I speak to; I don’t want to do anything to compromise my identity and relationship with God. I’ve found peace in my new identity.

I’m a child of God.

And that’s the standard I’ll always try to keep myself up to.

I’m not perfect- and that’s okay

It’s okay to not always be okay

I’m not perfect.

I know, I know. You’d expect something a little more motivational or super positive for the opening line of my first post. Something like “You are loved!”, or “He cares for you!” Or “you’re not alone!” And these are all very important and relevant topics that I plan on discussing. But the truth is that these weren’t the topics that led me to truly deepen my faith in the Lord. Sure, they were the foundation of my faith, but what keeps the momentum going? What leads to a deeper understanding of God, and a better relationship with God?

After moving past the first step- realising that God loves me and wants to know me personally- I would plateau time and time again in my faith. This is because I’d set extremely high expectations for myself and promise that I’d never do certain things again- that I’d always make righteous decisions. What I didn’t keep in mind is the fact that I’m still a human being. Accepting the Lord’s favour and love in my life didn’t suddenly make me perfect. I would still have to wake up the next day, and the day after that, and face the same urges and temptations as before. I’d still make a few mistakes, and I’d still sin. And sin has this terrible way of making us feel inadequate, that we don’t deserve His love. The enemy uses sin to make us feel guilty, and it causes our relationship with our Heavenly Father to crumble if we’re not careful. 

So I’d beat myself up over every little thing I’d done. I’d then go from a “I’m not good enough for the Lord” attitude, to a “well I’m not perfect, and I’ve already messed up my record, so what difference does it make if I keep on doing it?” Attitude.

When you’re young, you get exposed to lots of different things, pressure and people, and will naturally feel inclined to experiment. There will be times when you’ll resist the temptation and do the right thing. However, there will be a few times when you’ll fold under pressure, give into temptation and make bad decisions. It’s a part of growing up.

What I had to learn is that my relationship with the Lord isn’t based on perfect behaviour, because if it was, it would be hopeless. There’s no human that’s impervious to sin. The relationship is based on His grace and favour, my willingness to live for Him, and the gift of salvation.

It’s taken many ups and downs in my faith to come to terms with the fact that I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be. But that’s the whole point; I wasn’t made to be perfect. I was made to serve Him with an eager heart and focus on Him despite my sinful urges and imperfections. Yes, I will make mistakes. That doesn’t mean I can just sit back and live sinfully- I must still strive to live righteously and resist evil at all costs. But I also need to acknowledge that I won’t always get it right. Because high expectations lead to guilt, and you can’t forgive yourself if you’re still beating yourself up over something. And how can you accept God’s forgiveness and continue your relationship with Him if you can’t forgive yourself first?

Remember that serving the Lord isn’t about being perfect and sinless- this is beyond us. Rather, it’s about our eagerness to serve Him, and our willingness to make the right decisions. The Lord sees your efforts and your heart when you do something that brings honour to His Name. So focus more on understanding and trusting Him, changing what you can, and the rest will fall into place.

Don’t get the wrong idea now- having a relationship with God includes living righteously and resisting the devil as much as possible, and as His children we must always work towards this and practice this. But don’t let the fear of sin rule your mind so much that once it happens, your relationship with the Lord disintegrates because you tried to suddenly become a perfect person overnight. Focus more on growing deep roots in your faith, so that if you happen to sin, your relationship with Him is strong enough for you to turn to Him and say “Lord, I have sinned. I pray for your forgiveness, and I pray that You’ll give me the strength to resist temptation.” And it doesn’t end there. We need to accept His forgiveness and repent- and repentance isn’t just feeling bad about sin, it’s about being willing to change. It means that although you aren’t perfect, you’ll do whatever it takes to truly live a righteous life. And even if there are times when we don’t quite get it right- you’ll be able to accept His forgiveness, hold your head up and try even harder to make the right decisions in future.

The Lord isn’t looking for perfect; He’s looking for someone with a heart that truly loves Him, and is willing to live for Him. So don’t let guilt and sin tear you away from God. It’s been shown many times (think of Saul and Rahab) that out of the greatest failures, the most amazing testimonies arise. So rather than to run from God because of sin and shame, let Him make a success story out of you.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”- 2 Corinthians 12:9

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