Run and Don't Look Back!
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7 New International Version
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.
Acts 20:24 New International Version
I've been struggling lately because of this label of "hypocrite" that is so quickly slapped on Christians. A person can start to feel that no matter what they say or do, they fall short. They aren't good enough. They let others down. They disappoint. They are a shallow representation of Christ.
Oh wait. That's exactly what we are.
Because for even the most sincere and devout Christian, there will never be perfection this side of heaven. It just isn't possible for us. Our God and Savior knows this, he lavishes his grace on us, day after day and minute after minute. And while he spurs us on toward growth and maturity, it's a slow, often painful, process.
The hope in all of this is that, because of our faith in Jesus Christ, our life is wrapped in his and we are seen as spotless to our creator. Unfortunately, those around us don't view us that way. We don't view others that way. And that can wear us down.
But while the Bible warns against becoming prideful and haughty, it also warns against becoming lazy and apathetic. We have to walk a tightrope between the two, careful not to fall into either one pit or the other. Make no mistake: it's better to try and fail than to never try at all. Don't kid yourself into thinking that you are better off in the pit of laziness than the pit of holier-than-thou. They're both pits.
As for running... While it's not the Bible, there's this awesome running quote that always lifts my spirits when I see it.
No matter how slowly you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch.
The devil knows that the best way to keep something from happening is to stop it before it begins. So he instills fear into people so that they never even get off the couch. But here's the thing; you can't run if you are on the couch. You can't win a race if you are on the couch. You forever limit yourself to a bystander (sitter?) and (often) commentator only.
And so, without any smugness or self-righteousness, I can say, "Think what you want about who I am or how I am. I have many imperfections, it's true. But because I've committed my life to Jesus, he's laid out my path and secured my victory for me. All I need to do is run. And it doesn't matter if you like my running. I'm not running to you. I'm running with and to Him."
And so, as I strive to meet with Jesus every day and learn, more and more, to listen to his voice and obey his commands, this lovely sense of peace, joy, and freedom unfolds inside of me. Because I realize that when I stay close to him, he works in and through me. He does all of the hard work. I'm learning to follow him and reflect him, but my burdens of projecting the perfect Christian woman/wife/mother/daughter/sister/friend/fill-in-the-blank-here illusion isn't my number one priority anymore. Being perfect isn't possible, but if I stick close to my Savior, his power will be made perfect in my weakness. His glory will shine through all of the holes of my personality flaws. His Holy Spirit will carry me further than my weak human legs ever could on their own.
And he'll do the same for you.
So I encourage you: get off the couch! Run! If you've been longing to step into a relationship with Christ, or into a deeper relationship with Christ, if you've been wanting to let go of past hurts or past failures, if you've been desiring a personal change like losing weight, or paying down debt, or eating healthier, or keeping a cleaner house, or, or, or
...forget about the finger pointers and naysayers and commentators and just run. One foot in front of the other. Step by step. He will be with you every step of the way.