Do Not Fear Him
For a long time I would hear Christians compare humans to sheep: wandering aimlessly without purpose. It would anger me. I would think defensively, "I'm not like them!" It has taken me a long time to realize the truth - no matter how unpleasant it is to hear some times - in those words.
I am like a sheep. I often feel lost and in constant search of some larger purpose for living that resonates deep within my soul. I am weak. I am driven by temptations. I wander off without knowing what lies beyond the fence. I am often helpless.
"He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young." -Isaiah 40:11
These are hard truths to swallow, but time and time again I feel more like a sheep after facing life's difficulties alone. I have learned that being a strong Christian means you must admit you are not strong. At times, that is the hardest lesson for us as humans because we are proud.
Here are some things I have learned from faith that bring me reasons for hope, not despair:
We Are Children
In the Bible, Jesus refers to us as children of God; in the literal sense we are created by Him, He is our Father, and we are His creations. Just as important, however, is the symbolic understanding to this statement. Humans are like children because we need guidance despite our constant mindset that we are capable of handling life alone.
But, let me ask, have you ever believed you couldn't make it through the hardships life throws your way? That you had no purpose for remaining strong? I think it safe to say everyone has once thought, "I have no idea what I am doing."
"If I must boast, I will boast of things that show my weakness." -2 Corinthians 11:30
We are children, indeed. Like toddlers we can be stubborn and believe, at least while life seems to be easy, we can handle all problems on our own. It takes a great deal of humility to realize the truth.
Christianity Calls for Humble Servitude
Humble servitude! At one point in my life I would have read those words with pity and disgust. I am a strong woman! I am not a servant! Like the comparison to helpless sheep, I fought against these words.
Now, I do not feel such negative connotations to these statements. Being a Christian is to live a life by the example of Jesus. To know love is to know God; and to love God is to know love.
What is more humble than to live for love? We are called to love each other and to love ourselves, no matter how difficult or painful this may be.
In the book of Acts (7:60), Stephen was being stoned for spreading the Truth, yet his last words were, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." We are called to forgive those who wrong us by loving them.
[pullquote width="300" float="right"]Being a Christian is to live a life by the example of Jesus.[/pullquote]
I constantly struggle to be patient with myself, others, and having trust in Him. I continuously fail in letting go and forgiving those whom have hurt me on a daily basis. But, we are called to be patient. We are called to spread this love by living in faithful example. The most important things are often the most difficult.
God is Omnipresent
It truly depends where I am in my life to determine whether this is comforting or not. In times when I struggle to resist temptation, I may feel more guilt than reassurance in knowing God is always there.
On the other hand, when I am at my lowest and there is no one else to understand what I am going through, I feel secure in remembering that my Father will never abandon me. As often as I may forget Him or lose sight of the Truth, He will never lose sight of me.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." -Joshua 1:9
I Am Not in Control
There are some people who may use this as an excuse to behave badly. They may think, "If God is all-powerful, than He would stop me/them/us from doing these things!" This is a large misconception many people have about Christianity. They forget that God gave us free will.
We love to have free will when it means we can live however we want, but hate the consequences this often brings. We forget God and we get hurt. Fortunately, He is forgiving and we can redeem ourselves.
I acknowledge that the future is out of my hands. Trust me, this is not something easy to acknowledge. Yet, He is there to guide us. How often have you suffered in life and seen how the struggles of the past made you stronger than before? My painful experiences have brought me closer to Him. Without the bad, we would not know the good.
Do Not Fear Him
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love." -1 John 4:18
I am like a sheep. I wander through life searching for meaning and yearning for protection. It is amazing how statements like these were once sources of anger for me. In reality, my anger was an external reaction for my fear that I could be judged for my mistakes. Now, I know I am loved and redeemed. My anger was a way to hide my suffering. Now, I do not need to suffer.