Several months ago I started doing something new, in an effort to become more authentic on the blog, and joined Joy, a writer I’ve come to know, in sharing about life: unmasked. I’m grateful for Joy’s allowing me to participate in this blog meme, and look forward to sharing some of my struggles, questions, and failures.
The past few months have been hard. Hard, but good. I never dated in high school, and really didn’t in college either. So, being in a relationship is new for me. I should correct that, being in a relationship and trying to honor God in that relationship is new for me. Trying to make sure that Christ is the center of my life, and not holding my girlfriend up as an idol is incredibly difficult. Add to that working 40 hours a week and going to school and trying to see friends and you’ve got, well, the average life of any Christian on the planet. And, it pains me to admit that I haven’t done as good a job in loving her like Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25) as I should, and I haven’t done as good a job in maintaining the gospel centrality in my life that I know is so desperately necessary for this relationship to grow and mature to a healthy place.
I’ve given in to the internal pressure and temptation to sacrifice time with God for time with my girlfriend. I’ve given in to my own desires to slack off in reading, studying, and writing for the sake of spending time with her and making her happy. At least, that’s what I’d like to tell myself. The reality of it is that, at some point, I got tired of having the gospel dissect me and show me where I need to change and grow to become more like Christ. I listened to the lie being whispered in my ear telling me that it’s ok to pursue happiness at the expense of growth in Christ, letting go of the truth that my ultimate happiness is found in God being glorified above all things, and in all things.
Yet, in all of this, I still find in myself something crying out to see the gospel be the center of my life. I still feel myself desperately thirsting for the gospel, and even though part of me does want to run and hide from becoming that living sacrifice once again, a deeper part of me sees the gospel as oxygen and is finally able to breathe again when I hear and read about the unfiltered gospel. It would be easy to focus on everything going wrong, but it’s important to realize one thing: I am still thirsting for the gospel.
And the beauty of it all is that God will not give His glory to another. In the midst of my giving in to the idols of comfort and happiness, God was sovereignly working to not only teach me, but help me FEEL and echo the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:8, “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.” In other words: happiness and comfort without Christ being at the center is completely meaningless. While I let go of the truth of real happiness (and joy) being found in God’s glory in all things, God was working to bring Himself glory through my wandering heart, which when it’s all said and done produces within me real happiness, and peace. And that is simply amazing.
And this is life:unmasked.