I set out on a brisk morning run with my feet pounding hard against the cement firmly beneath me, I was determined to get a few miles in and to maybe get some praying done, too. That’s what I usually spend my running time doing, anyway. But this morning was different.
I didn’t really know how to start and after a few minutes I decided it wasn’t worth the effort. I muttered a few words and reluctantly ended, mostly out of pent up frustration saying, “God, I’m really bad at this whole Christian thing.” hoping to just leave it at that and go on with my day, like the assurance of admitting that would make up for my lack of spirituality.
As if my level of Christianity was merely dependent upon how many minutes I spent praying or how many chapters of my Bible I had read that day.
For someone who has grown up in a Christian circle, a ministry home, and who was saved at a young age I still really get this whole thing messed up sometimes.
I don’t know. It could be because I try wrapping my mind around something I’ll never really be able to fully grasp or comprehend, and it in turn brings my faith to a halting stop- As if my relationship with God is suppose to be a tangible, concrete faith laid out in front of me rather than a day to day unseen, yet hope-filled one.
I mess up a lot when it comes to this, but God has been teaching me something about wholehearted, consistent faith that comes even when our lives are shaken up a little bit.
Inquiring friends and family and dear readers have asked questions through email, subtle texts and letters about if I was going to write another blog post, but in reality, despite the facade that’s so easy to put on and off through a screen, I really haven’t felt like bringing all my imperfection to a place where it could be read by Christians, who are not much different than myself.
Until the reality of this thought kind of broke my prideful spirit: “Why do we always mask Christianity to be something so different than it really is?”
God didn’t send His son to go through the nail-piercing pain, appalling beatings and repulsive suffering with the expectation that every one of us were going to accept His freely given sacrifice of love, and then simply read our Bibles and pray every day without the struggle of humanity and sin preventing us from doing what we know is right.
We play Christianity so well, and it’s almost scary. We share our Bible verses and prayer request and we go to church, but how many of us can say that the reality of what He did for us on the cross is the underlying basis that moves us to our knees and to live out what we know to be true: He did not suffer and die and rise again three days later with the expectation that we would be the perfect Christians that we paint ourselves to be.
If anything, it brings me to a place of humility where my pride often prevents me from visiting. Except on the rare occasion when my faith becomes so real to me that I recognize how little it has to do with me and how much it has to do with the One who gave His life for me.
I wish we could grasp the truth behind Christianity and the Cross and the empty Tomb because I know it would not only change our lives, but the lives of those around us, as well.
Tomorrow is Easter, and the majority of us won’t be gathered in a physical building or congregated around hundreds of other likeminded believers. But I pray this year more than anything that our hearts would be so overtaken by the sacrifice of love and grace He has bestowed on us, rather than our own talents, abilities, and outfits that we often make it all about each year. I pray we would sing hallelujah over the empty Tomb and not merely for the people around us or because it’s what we do each year.
No, He didn’t go to the cross with the expectation that we would be everything we paint ourselves to be, but He went to the Cross to offer the gift of redeeming redemption- taking the place of what He knew would once be back slidden Christians, the mark of sin and the mask of imperfection we so vividly display.
Christianity has a lot to do with coming to the point in our passionless, mediocre lives where we recognize we are nothing and He is everything. It seems like a simple concept, but we are so self-focused that it produces an apathetic spirit to the point that we fail to live out our Christian lives the way that we should.
It’s a humble place to be, but it’s also so beautiful to know He would go that far when we deserve nothing more than the reality of where sin would have taken us.
I’m thankful for this truth, despite everything I am or lack thereof.
Instead of my heart reflecting my own accomplishments or failures when it comes to a certain degree of spirituality- I pray it reflects Jesus. At the root of it all, it comes down to His nails being pierced to the Cross and the empty Tomb. It is only because of what He’s done in my own life, and nothing that I have ever attempted to try to be, that has made my sin-stained life a grace-filled life.
God often brings me to the sober reality that He would have done it either way, despite what I am or what I have done, and I’m thankful beyond degree for that.
I really feel like Mary and the others when they went to the sepulcher and found it empty. I feel like running back to the homes of those I love to proclaim, “the tomb is empty!” while still feeling a little shell shocked over the reality of it all. I pray we would be like those three on that day so many years ago. That we wouldn’t get over the reality of the Cross or the empty Tomb. That it would be fresh on our hearts just like the day it was discovered, and mostly that we would never get over celebrating who Jesus is and what He has done.
It is a miracle story that I hope takes place as a miracle in our own lives along with those that surround us. If we could only learn to share it as it is, rather than being the shallow Christians we have grown so accustomed to being.
Let it be a reality in your own heart and watch it come to fruition in the lives of those around you. It has to be real, just like the empty Tomb.
Love and blessings,