A friend of mine is an active participant in a house church in his city. Twenty or thirty people gather each week to worship God and enter into fellowship with their fellow believers. Their website states that they worship because they are broken people who need a loving God to restore them. They trust God for their spiritual healing and growth. Isn’t that what we all long for in a church and in our personal spiritual journey? We don’t need to be continually reminded of how often we fail or how sinful we are. We carry scars to remind us of those misguided adventures. What we crave is reassurance, that despite everything we have gone through and regardless of how much we have messed things up, there is still hope.
I know people who believe they have too many scars to even dare hope. Unfortunately, legalism and its evil offspring spiritual abuse are often found in their history. On one hand, they are taught they have to be perfect, yet, on the other hand, they are always reminded they will never be good enough. It’s a never-ending cycle that causes nightmares for anyone who takes their relationship with God seriously. Other people tremble just thinking of judgement and wonder if God could possibly accept them. Some people struggle because they see God as waiting to condemn them for their failures; and the list could go on and on. The good news is none of these things are true. You and I are saved by a self-sacrificing act by God in which he became our substitute for sin. He took our place and the condemnation we deserve so that we would be declared righteous. And this all took place through the cross.
You and I are on a journey and God has a plan for each of our lives. The experiences we go through in life can either break us if we focus on the negative aspects, or we can learn and grow from them. If someone goes through a bad relationship it doesn’t mean they should never trust anyone again. Instead, they need to learn from past mistakes and ask God for the strength and wisdom not to fall into the same traps as before. To grow spiritually as a Christian is to grow in wisdom. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” James 3:17 Notice where true wisdom leads us in our growth. It’s pure, peaceable and gentle for starters. A Christian grows in mercy, kindness and goodness along with the other fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5: 22, 23) God is interested in our character development as we move from selfishness to caring people. All the striving for perfection and the works based religion that comes with it are not what God wants from us. His desire for us is to seek wisdom so we may become more compassionate people.
You may not think you are spiritual, but every time you feel compassion in your heart for someone’s need, that is the Holy Spirit touching you. God is saying, I still love you, care for you and believe in you. “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it costs all you have, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7 And how do we receive wisdom and understanding to bring peace of mind, hope and a compassionate life? We simply ask and God answers.