It would be nice if we could end here. There would be such assuredness if the cumulation of knowledge, introspection, surrender, and seeking resulted in a lasting adjustment. We could systematically learn, submit, and apply truths to produce perfection in areas of our lives one by one. We would always be forward facing; never having to go back and readjust previously addressed weaknesses, faults, and flaws. That would be quite nice, but it is not realistic. Let’s go ahead and bust that idea right out of the gate. Paul wrote in Romans 7:21-23, “so I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.”
We are imperfect in all that we do. Our feet sway like children learning to walk. We will, with our pursuit of Christ and consistent practice of obedience, increase in balance. The finality of God’s work in our hearts, however, will not be complete this side of heaven. The Apostle Paul made extraordinary contributions to the spread of Christianity as well as the encouragement and maturing of believers through millenniums. Before that, he was a persecutor and murderer of Christians. He was against Christ until he was radically changed by an encounter with God. What a glorious transformation at the work of God’s hand, but it didn’t produce perfection. It resulted in an internal fight to do what he knew was good in accordance with the Spirit of God within him versus what his sinful nature desired.
“Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:20
As we do the work set before us to fill the loneliness with the truth of God’s character we may slip up in our follow-through. We will find ourselves going back to familiar comforts. At times we might simply wallow in our loneliness, lacking in and of ourselves the strength to get out of a hole of self-pity. We will fall. Other times we will rejoice in corrections and adjustment made, only to come back weeks, months or years later to find cracks have developed or old false dependencies have been reestablished. We will experience this more than once in our lifetime; it will occur over and over again. Initially that be disheartening, but I would encourage you to change your perspective. We aren’t seeking perfection but rather the aim is to know God and seek His Kingdom. Failure isn’t imperfection; failure is a seared soul that no longer desires God and the things of God.
We are not subpar Christians because of our inadequacies. We aren’t cast into the discard bin or relegated to a class of remedial Christians who just can’t seem to get it right. God’s grace was made for exactly who we are and exactly where we are. 2 Timothy 1:9 says that God “who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” Don’t, therefore, be discouraged if you recognize ups and downs as you pursue healing from loneliness and false dependencies in your life. Satan will try to discourage you, but giving into that will result in the rebuilding of old dependencies. Unassurandness will try to dissuade you from fully leaning on God as the security in your life.
I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago. I had been struggling with believing lies about my worth and feeling discouraged by my ups and downs in my faith. As I spoke to her about looking for comfort in the false dependencies I have been working to remove from my life, she sent me a meme from The Little Mermaid that couldn’t be more apt. It was a gif image of one of the sirens who upon meeting Wendy tried to kill her. So innocently, she announced the intent of her and that of her comrades. “We were only trying to drown her,” she said. How fitting and how true of Satan. Coming as an angel of light and with a blatant announcement shrouded by a smile, he tries to drown us.
“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” 2 Corinthians 11:14-15
Take care to remind yourself of that which you have learned and know to be true. Name your dependencies and tell yourself verbally that it will drown you, but then name the character of God you are longing to know. Tell yourself that God will be your security. Repeat this process as many times as needed when you question the fruitfulness of leaving loneliness behind. When you can’t find encouragement in yourself contact the person you have elected to hold your accountable. They can help you realize there is nothing special about being imperfect. Don’t get hung up on it; simply move on by doing the next right thing. Finally, remember as long as you are seeking God, you aren’t failing!
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
Lord, thank You for Your grace that covers all my sins. Thank You for being my strength and sufficiency in all things. Sustain me through my shortcomings and weaknesses. Help me to know You and to seek after You. When I falter or fall in my aim to place my full security in You, please help me fight the lies that stir up pride, that attack my worth, and try to drown me I love You, Lord. I want more of You in my life. Help me persevere through discouragement. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.”