Knowing God without guilt and stress
“God, I want to be close to You again,” I murmured to myself as I dealt with children’s laundry. Certainly this week I overflowed with gratitude that I am a nanny again. I continued letting my murmuring flow forth automatically, listening to the thoughts of my inner self, “I just don’t feel guilty enough to feel spiritual anymore,” I muttered then paused, shocked at the revelation of my statement. Did I tie guilt so much to my experience of connection to God that I could not feel connected to God without it?
I pondered my statement throughout the day. “It’s not just guilt,” I thought, “It’s that I feel no need to try hard to improve myself any longer. My walk with Christ is no longer one giant self-improvement process. I am good enough without the everlasting feeling that I need to work hard to become better.”
In fact, I become very vexed when people say things to me about how I ought to try to become the best person I could be for some future marriage or family. I do hope to marry someday, but I want to roll my eyes so hard and shout in anger at such blasphemy against God’s very purpose for me! It’s not marriage or family I worship but Christ, and it is primarily for the sake of Christ I hope to be transformed into the very image of a perfect God once again. Yes, my being brought to perfection in Christ’s image will make me a much more pleasant and useful wife and mother; but for heaven’s sake, it will also make me a better friend, employee, and relative. How aren’t those roles just as holy in God’s sight? (Consider I Corinthians 7:25-40)
It is very difficult for me to believe God is transforming me into God’s own image for the sake of human relationships. I had rather the understanding God was changing me for the sake of the glory of God. I thought it rather the sole purpose, but perhaps I err entirely in this area. Who am I to know the mind of God? Perhaps this will inspire you to remember the verse, “But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16) Surely the greatest commandment is to love God, and the second to love people (Deuteronomy 6:5, Mark 12:30, Matthew 22:37, Luke 10:27).
I pondered how the writer of Hebrews claimed that the sacrifice of Christ was superior to the sacrifice of animals for the very reason it could remove guilt (Hebrews 10). How wonderful to know I shouldn’t try to feel guilty and inadequate again but rather rejoice that God’s sacrifice of Godself was sufficient enough and power-filled enough to remove guilt from my being and transform me into Christ’s image by God-power rather than my own stress-filled endeavor.
I was sitting on the patio a day or two later, watching children play and gazing in admiration at the rolling hills beyond the children. I admired their beauty and thought to myself, “I would be perfectly content if this was the view on every side of me. I wouldn’t need anything more beautiful.” The snow-capped mountains to my left were difficult for me to admire at the moment due to the westward-journeying sun. I glanced their way, squinting in my attempt to block out the brightness of our life-giving star then returned my gaze to the rolling hills. Why did God give me those glorious mountains? I didn’t need them to be happy. They were extra. “They’re God kissing me on the cheek,” the thought struck me and seemed completely true in its intimacy and bliss.
“God, I would love to worship You if only I knew who you were,” I murmured a day or two later. My mind remembered that Christ declared that anyone looking at Christ was seeing his Father (John 12:45). I thought of God as revealed in the gospels. I shivered internally at the thought of reading the gospels with the pure intent of knowing Christ without any regard for self-improvement, self-condemnation, or self-justification. I shivered more at the thought of intimacy with the real Christ and not just with ancient tales about other people’s encounters with Him. I am incredulous when I consider that we are seated together in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6). I slightly freaked out as I considered that this Christ is in me and I in Him (John 14:20). We are intimately intertwined. I got down on my knees and prayed that I would know the Anointed Savior all over again.
Just one week. My, but it’s been glorious!by