I wish I could sit here and tell you my heart is always satisfied in Christ. I wish it was but, it’s not always. I hate to admit that. The truth is that I have a wandering heart, and very much like the lyrics to one of my favorite hymns, it’s prone to wander. In fact, it does wander, more times than not. And friends, it doesn’t just slightly wander, like run a little off the road. I mean my heart violently and aggressively wanders, searching for all the good things, in all the wrong places. The problem with our wandering is that searching outside of Christ, always ends in pain. Acceptance, approval, validation, affirmation, assurance, identity, affection, value and love, you name it. All the things that humans desire. All those things are good, but search for them outside of Christ, and it is heartbreaking. The search for these things takes you on an aimless, empty quest; ask me, I should know. When God doesn’t immediately fulfill our longings we are all guilty of looking for them in other places. Whether it be in people, relationships, careers, titles, material things, or behind the appearance of a perfect life. I’m guilty for forgetting that only Christ can completely fulfill all our longings, all our needs.
Four years ago I surrendered my life to Christ and I gave him every part of me. At first everything felt easy, almost natural. I guess I figured it would always be that way, but walking with God is not always easy. You see, I can tell you I love God; I do, but my life rarely reflects that. The words I choose that don’t always “speak life” like my friend Sara reminds me. The attitude I have, The unforgiveness that accumulates in my heart that turns to bitterness, the places I go, the things I listen to and participate in when I know I should walk away. The way I act, the way I speak, and not just the things I do, but the things I don’t do. I’m sad to say all these things reveal I don’t represent Jesus well. I’m ashamed to say the way I live my life sometimes, you couldn’t even tell I am a Christian. I am so ashamed to say that. But God doesn’t want actors. I don’t want to look or act like a Christian. (I mean what does one look like anyway, right?) I desire to actually be one. Not just go to church on Sundays, post pictures of the bible that we spend more time taking pictures of than actually reading. Using words like holy and righteous and never practice actually trying to be those things. I want to be an actual Christian. But even when I desire to do what is good and righteous, there is a struggle. It reminds me of the struggle Paul talks about in Romans 7:
“21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being, I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.”
You can see Paul struggled, just as we do. We desire to do what is right, but inside of us is a war between what is good and what is sinful; one brings joy even though at first it seems like suffering, the other brings suffering that at first feels like joy.
Most of the time I feel like a hypocrite, thinking God is probably rolling his eyes while I fall on my knees and ask for forgiveness ONE MORE TIME.
I’m so quick to forget how grace works.
Grace is not an excuse to sin, but it is the power to break free from it. His grace should encourage us to keep going, our focus and our eyes always on Him.
Sin draws us away from God, but Grace draws us to His feet, not chasing perfection, but chasing the One who is perfect.
So please don’t let the enemy’s lies tell you you’re a hypocrite, you’re too far gone or lost, or your chances have run out. You are not past the point of forgiveness.
If you feel discouraged like I do, when your heart tends to wander and search and leave the God you love, please know that God loves you so much that He will not let you wander forever. There will be mistakes, there will be times when we fall, we wander, we stray, but please understand the following:
Our good Lord is the Good Shepard who, just like He herds the sheep, He chases, pursues, and herds our wandering hearts all the way back to Him.
That my friends, that is Good News.
Let that be our prayer.
Lord, today, please bind our Hearts to you. May it be fully satisfied and fulfilled in You, so it will not wander and search elsewhere. Please take hold of our hearts and don’t let go.
Like the verses from Robert Robinson’s hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”- John Piper