Dear sweet ones,
This is probably one of the most humbling posts I have ever written. But it needs to be said…or I just need to say it. By now you are probably in college, married, and might even have children of your own. But years ago, maybe not even that long ago, you were discipled by me. There is something pressing on my heart that I want you to know.
God has been gracious to me over the past four years to teach me something I never knew. Or that I heard but I didn’t believe. Jesus is the point of the Christian life. This truth has ransacked my brain and has caused me to re-examine my life, my views, and my relationships. And really, this truth has made me think about you. Which is why I am writing this now.
I have thought often of the conversations that I had with you. I have recalled all of the “important” things that I wanted you to understand and get from our meetings together. Sure, I wanted you to live like and for Jesus. I just had a wrong view of what that looked like first and foremost. I focused on things like your faithfulness to your “Quiet times”, scripture memory, modesty, your interest in dating (and I tried to squash that interest with all my might!), movies, music, and all kinds of external things.
But that wasn’t what you needed. What you needed to hear from me is that Jesus is the point. Jesus is the only one who can satisfy your every need. The Christian life is not about your righteousness because you don’t have any. It’s about Jesus’ righteousness. All of the affirmation you were searching for, you have in Jesus. You needed to hear from me that Jesus loves you. That I love you. I’m afraid that I neglected to tell you those things. I did that because I didn’t understand it. These external things were the focus of my own life and I was convinced that if you could just “obey” in these areas, your love for Jesus would grow. I was banking on that for my own life, too.
God brought me to the end of me. He showed me that while those things are good (disciplines, modesty, etc.) it isn’t the ultimate good. By doing those things, I could not get God to love me any more than he already did. By not doing those things, God did not love me any less. And here’s a big one: He is never disappointed in me either way. (WHAA?! Yes, ma’am. That’s right.) In Christ, we have been adopted into God’s family. He is our loving Father and there is NOTHING we can do to change his perfect love for us. The only way that we will ever grow to love Jesus is to be constantly looking at His love for us. No magic formulas. No gimicks. No “guilt trips”. Just think about the gospel. Dwell on it until it becomes precious to your heart, and then cling to it, and fight to remember it every day. Let it change your heart, and through that, you will be delighted to watch it change your life.
So all that to say, I could not be more sorry for digging into your life and highlighting the wrong things. I want you to know that it breaks my heart and just brings me to tears when I think about it. We are both sinners in desperate need of Jesus. He is our only hope. I wish I could go back in time and redo those conversations. But since I can’t, I will be praying for you as the Lord brings you to mind. I want you to know that my door is always open, just know that if you ever come knocking, I don’t have all the answers that I used to have. I only have one answer for you: Jesus. Take care sweet one. 🙂
Making much of Jesus,
p.s. If you’d like more clarity in the gospel, and Christ’s love I highly suggest “Because He Loves Me” by Elyse Fitzpatrick. It has served me well. 🙂