“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to live in obedience to him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done. Don’t let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and high-sounding that come from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world, and not from Christ. For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body, and you are complete through your union with Christ. He is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe. When you came to Christ, you were ‘circumcised’, but not by a physical procedure. It was a spiritual procedure–the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to a new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.” (Colossians 2:6-14 NLT)
I remember when I accepted Christ. I was 9, and I was sitting next to my mom in a pew at our church. I remember listening to the sermon and feeling something stirring in my heart that I didn’t quite understand. But I knew that I wanted to go to heaven, and so I asked God to come in my heart.
Cut to several years later, and I knew I was going to heaven and I knew that Jesus loved me and didn’t consider me a sinner anymore, but I felt like I was missing something. That no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t be the “better” me that I thought God expected me to be. No matter what I did, it was never good enough and I never measured up. I didn’t read my Bible enough, wasn’t disciplined enough in my quiet time, didn’t serve enough, didn’t share my faith enough, wasn’t displaying the fruit of the Spirit (and was severely lacking), on and on and on it went.
But did you see what the above passage has to say? My sinful nature was cut away, I was raised to a new life, ALL my sins were forgiven (that means past, present and future), I am new! So why do I continue to operate out of a place and belief opposite of all that? Part of my struggle is in remembering who I am in Christ and not getting so wrapped up in finding my validation and self-worth in the every day things. Staying at home with my children is more rewarding than I ever imagined, but I find that all too often, I look to their behavior (in public or at home) or what milestone they hit as a barometer of how well I’m doing as a mom. On the wife front, it’s hard to not feel like there are certain chores that have to be done every day in order for me to feel like I’ve done enough by the time Matt gets home. When you work outside of the home, you get an evaluation to gauge how well you’re performing. And of course, you want a good one. As a stay at home mom, I get a good evaluation if the house is clean, dinner is cooked, the kids are out of pajamas and playing quietly and I haven’t lost my temper. Oh, and I’ve done all the things I should do as a believer in Christ.
Do you see the problem with this? Whose expectations are these? Not Matt’s, that’s for sure. Definitely not God’s. They’re mine. I have set for myself a set of rules and expectations that, if unmet, means I am a failure at being a wife, mom and Christian. If they’re unmet, I’ve let down everyone in my life and God. But all I need to do, if I even really need to “do” anything, is remain rooted in Christ–let my roots go down and draw my nourishment from Him. While all of the above things are good things to do, and yes, I do read my Bible, they aren’t what define me or make me holy or right before God (having a quiet time is a GREAT thing, but it doesn’t replace having a relationship with Christ and I am not advocating never reading your Bible or spending time with Him or serving in the church). I am already right before God. I am already holy. Because He went to the cross for me, because He said I am worth it. He is pleased with me in spite of crumbs on the floors, a bathroom that needs scrubbing, laundry that needs to be folded, reheating last night’s dinner for tonight’s dinner, letting the kids watch TV and not getting around to my time with Him.
I don’t have it perfected yet, but I love the reminders from Him in Scripture that I am a new being and righteous in His sight. What do you think about this passage? Does it give you hope or make you feel a burden?