Who are you?
This is the question I’ve asked myself, time and time again, only never being able to quite answer the question.
Sure, I could give the Christian-cookie-cutter answers, “I am a child of God,” or, even better, “I am a new creature.” The problem, however, is that I never quite felt like a new creature.
At the start of my newfound faith in Christ, I always felt like an outcast among evangelicals, especially within the more conservative circles. Even despite all of the halfway smiles and the constant assurance that I was a “part of the family,” I still felt like that pesky stepbrother. The one everyone tried to love out of obligation, rather than a genuine willingness.
I felt like this a lot over the years, and as time went by, I started to see an unhealthy trend surfacing throughout my walk with Jesus.
I would walk into a new church and immediately felt like I would be judged for my past and present flaws and failures. I felt as if nobody would ever truly accept me and receive me into their church family.
Inevitably, my perception of how others may perceive or receive me caused an inner turmoil within my soul that has not only hindered my relationships with others, but has hindered my relationship with God.
I remember reading and hearing Hebrews 10:25 quoted in connection with not giving up on the church, or neglecting to get plugged into the local church without fully appreciating the surrounding context of the passage.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus … let us consider how to stir one another up to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:19,24-25)
Here we are told that, as a result of our relationship with God, granted to us by the blood of Jesus, we must look for ways to encourage one another in love and towards love, especially as “the Day” draws near. Especially as the world is crumbling around us, and the problems of life are setting in, these are the times that we need each other the most. These are the moments that we place our confidence in the blood of Jesus, that which is the only reason that we are able to be reconciled to God, and to one another in the first place.
Truth be told, it wasn’t the people around me that was the problem. It was the lack of confidence that I held in the blood of Christ that was the real problem. It was the weight of my own unworthiness that began to increasingly weigh me down, and keep me from fellowship with God, and God’s people, my brothers and sisters in Christ.
The more that we attend the faithful preaching of God’s Word, the more that we will feel that weight of unworthiness. You cannot truly read the Bible, as it is intended, without realizing that your greatest deeds are like filthy rags when measured against God’s standards. But, if we are not careful, we can allow the guilt and shame of our own depravity to drown us in a pool of self-loathsomeness.
Don’t go there.
Never question the sufficiency of what Christ has accomplished on the Cross. It was sufficient for Peter, the denier, Paul, the persecutor, and even for Judas, the betrayer.
Likewise, what Christ has accomplished upon the Cross is sufficient for you.
Never feel as if you’re not good enough to enter the doors of God’s church. The truth is, none of us are. But in Christ, we are made righteous. When you are in Christ, God does not see all of the mess of your past, or even the mess of the present. When you are in Christ, God sees righteousness; God sees His own son, or daughter. Christ, our Savior, Christ, our Lord, stands at the doors of God’s church and says, “COME! You are welcome here!”
Be confident as you enter, and be assured as you draw near to God, and to each other, that you have been washed clean from all the guilt and shame of sin. Be assured that you are accepted. You are His.