One of the things that really gets me bothered is when I go into a convenience store, grab a delicious looking bag of chips off the shelf, purchase it, and then open it only to find a bag filled with 30% chips and 70% air. There’s nothing very meaningful or even attractive about an fantastic looking package that has very little within.
The same is true when it comes to the faith in a redeeming God that many Christians seem to have. Yet, what has he redeemed them from? It is common to hear about this great God who redeems awful messes…in someone else’s life. But when it comes to talking about the vulnerable spots in need of God’s redeeming in our own personal lives, the discussion becomes strangely silent. We just hear, “I’m fine…”
It becomes silent because we’d rather not talk about our issues or our problems. We’d rather people just think really great things about us; we’d rather pretend that our lives are perfect and put together. And in pretending to be fine, we tend to imply we don’t need grace. We pretend we’re fine when we’re not. And when we do this, we wind up talking about a Redeemer who has nothing to redeem. And when the Savior we are shown is the Savior of issues that no longer are issues, we don’t actually get to see God at work that much.
This makes all this faith stuff sound fake and repackaged from someone else’s life. And there is not much of an impact in a fake faith; there is nothing attractive about a pretend Christianity. This kind of faith makes us question whether or not there is any real grace going around. It makes us wonder if there is any hope of actual redemption. What we often see in faith circles is people who pretend to be fine – we see people who wear masks and pretend to be filled with joy. And there is no power in this kind of faith because God can’t redeem who someone pretends to be.
When we are constantly seeking to be the savior in our lives by artificially “fixing ourselves up” in the eyes of everyone, we don’t see the beauty of a Savior who redeems real messes that we’re actually dealing with.
When we hide our problems because we don’t want to be vulnerable, we steal glory from the God who can take a mess and transform it. This is the amazing power of our Redeemer. But when we pretend to be ok, there is no grace on display.
If I were talking to someone who tells me about a saving God of grace, but was never authentic enough to display their current need for grace, I would say something like this:
Your fear and pride has prevented me from seeing a God worth trusting with my own issues. Because you don’t trust the Savior with your now, why should I trust him with my tomorrow?
If I don’t see the real you, I can never see a redeemed you…no matter how much you tell me about your past. Your courage to be authentic about how you need God to save and redeem the real you gives me hope that maybe God can save and redeem the real me, including the junk that only God knows about.
Please be authentic with your life. Please give me hope for mine.
What about you? Why do you think we avoid vulnerability and hide or real issues – issues that need God’s redemption? Let me know in the comments below.