The Long Hard Journey

When I became a Christian, I thought all my problems would magically go away. God would take care of everything with a snap of His fingers. The truth is my life fell apart within weeks of being baptized. I’ve shared this story before, so suffice it to say accepting Jesus and asking Him to be Lord of my life didn’t obliterate the garbage I’d pressed down in the compactor of my heart.

In His mercy and grace, God didn’t bring up all our sins, sinful habits, and sinful ways of thinking at one time. I’d have been suicidal if He had. He opened my eyes over time. Through His Holy Spirit, I saw the painful truth. I agreed with God about my sins. Even before I was a Christian, I knew when I did wrong. My conscience told me. But the heart is deceitful, and the mind can rationalize, can justify any behavior. And we tend to surround ourselves with like-thinkers. I can’t cast blame. Wrongs are done to us by others, but that never excuses us from doing wrong ourselves.

It was an eye-opener when I read Leviticus and realized there is no excuse for sin, no get-out-of-jail-free card. “I didn’t know” isn’t an acceptable defense. We are even held accountable for the sins we didn’t know we committed. Hence, ignorance isn’t an excuse either.

God knows who and what we are. He offers one way to be saved from the fires of hell: Accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. No other way. While seeing and acknowledging the truth about myself, I also experienced the amazing grace and love of God.

Coming to Jesus opened my eyes to who I am. I am a sinner. I am human. I am weak. I stumble and fall, even now that I am saved. I am also a daughter of the King. I am loved by God. And He is strong. He is faithful. He keeps His Word. He will never abandon me. He helps me stand again. He gives me the will to keep walking in the steps of Jesus. But honestly, it can be very hard, working out our salvation. By working, I mean living it, not earning it.

Jasper Hawley, a character in The Masterpiece, reminds those around him that the faith journey isn’t easy. Another character, Brian Henley, adds to that statement. Believing is only the first step onto the narrow pathway. The next steps put a believer on the road of trial and blessing as he (or she) walks out their life as a disciple of Christ. We must stick close to Jesus, read His Word, lean in and listen. We need to obey, even when it means personal, painful sacrifice. That’s the long, hard journey of transformation. That is the kind of faith that impacts the world.