Have you ever felt that God keeps teaching you the same lesson over and over again? I found an old journal that I had written in over 15 years ago and as I read it I found myself saying, “I still struggle with the same old stuff!” Things look a little different based on the stage of life I’m in, and God has definitely changed me, but the same root issues are still there. I wonder how many of us could say the same thing?
There are two things that the Holy Spirit reminded me of as I leafed through my old journal. The first is that there are some idols of my heart that run very deep. I was reminded of the source of all of these sins the other day when I was reading Matthew 15. Jesus after an altercation with the Pharisees about uncleanness teaches his disciples that what defiles a person is not their external conformity, but what comes out of their heart. When I see things in my life that I don’t like, it’s a reminder that I continue to need God’s grace to shape me and transform my heart into Christ’s image. I need to keep preaching the gospel to myself daily because there are some idols that can’t be fixed by going forward after a service or attending another Bible study. My need for Christ is as great today as it was when came to Jesus over 2 decades ago. I feel like Paul in 1 Timothy 1 when he says, “I’m the chief of all sinners”, yet in the same breath I can say “but praise be to God for His marvelous grace!”
The second thought that God reminded me of was how amazing His faithfulness really is. After all these years, and after the constant moving, prodding, enlightening, convicting, teaching, comforting, and leading of the Holy Spirit, I still can turn my back on the one who has given me everything and has loved me more than anyone ever can. Who loves like that and who keeps loving like that? I’m in awe again of the shear magnitude of Christ’s kindness and mercy and grace towards me. Why would I run to any other that promises my heart all that my soul craves?
You may feel defeated today because it’s the 12,537 time that messed up in that one area again, but if you are in Christ, His work hasn’t stopped, and He’ll keep working on you and in you until you are conformed into His image.
You may feel tired of struggling with the same old weight of sin, remember that Jesus paid it all. It is finished. Live in the freedom of grace that He’s provided for you today. He isn’t tired of showing you grace. Let His love fuel your desire to change.
It’s good to know in another 15 years, I may have the same struggles, but the same God will be with me as well. As Paul said in the final chapter in his letter to the church of Thessalonica, “He who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.”