This weekend I found myself having a conversation with a wonderful lady who was “filled up” with the love of God. She had shared though how during the week she struggled with yielding over trust to God in a situation and that it surprised her because she thought she had settled that issue.
I then found myself sharing something that I had actually never articulated before and I pass it on to you. I too have been filled with shame and guilt and discouragement thinking that I too have settled issues only to be returning to them again and again. I have come to see this differently. Of course there are times when we actually return to the same issue as we don’t always really give it up and grow through it. But more often we sell ourselves and the growth that God is actually accomplishing in us short. Becoming like Jesus is a life long process and just like we can’t see a tree grow moment by moment, we do see it year over year. We need to get a higher view of our journey and not judge ourselves in the moment.
First off guilt and shame are NEVER God’s desire for us. So whether we are dealing with the same issue over and over or not, we need to find ways to react that lead us toward God. He came to offer grace and freedom from guilt and shame. Godly sorrow and the Holy Spirit’s conviction are more appropriate. They lead us forward to change and growth.
But in addition to that, I suggest that what we sometimes interpret as discouragement from facing the same issues over and over may in fact not be the same thing at all, but a deeper level. Here I am not talking about sin specifically, but the areas of yielding trust and faith to God’s control in our lives. Every step of the way on our journeys is going to be met with opportunities to trust Him. And they are not like going back to the fist step on our path. I too wish that I was perfect in trust. But I am not, and neither are any of us. But that doesn’t mean that we are not maturing and growing. And in that process we are digging into deeper layers of issues in our lives that need to be handed over to God.
Instead of interpreting your latest opportunity to trust God as a failure of having yielded yourself fully to God last time, see it as growing deeper. At the last opportunity you, to the best of your ability and passion and awareness may have fully offered yourself over to Him. But as He is working in you for His good will, He may be taking you to a deeper or different aspect of something familiar.
Keep leaning in to God’s heart and growth for you. Don’t let your own guilt or shame derail what God is doing in you. Instead, and again, let the godly sorrow and Holy Spirit’s conviction propel you to a deeper walk with Him as you become more like Him.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Philippians 3:12-16 ESV
(Listen to Jeremy Riddle’s Sweetly Broken. “At the cross you beckon me. Draw me gently to my knees.”)