“You’re not crazy.”
When Jesus threw me over his shoulder and rescued me from the burning building of legalism this was the single phrase that was an encouragement to me. I will never forget the first time I heard it.
I sat on the curb for a long time coughing, just trying to catch my breath through smoke-engulfed lungs. What happened to me was a whirlwind. One day I was this squeaky clean do-good Christian woman who had answers for everything and my family meals planned out for the next 8 weeks. I had prayer journals and scheduled bible reading plans. I had accountability partners below me and mentors above me. I had my stack of scripture memory verse cards, color coded, of course. My bible was heavily marked with all of the “put offs and put ons” of the law. Orange for “put off”, blue for “put on”. I had system upon system.
Now I just sat, looking around at this “ testimony of goodness” sham that I had worked so hard to build, that had come crumbling to the ground all around me.
It’s an amazing thing that happens when you are brought to literally nothing. It is the single most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life. Make no doubt about it, it is a death. A death to self-salvation. It is also the most freeing and beautiful thing I have ever experienced. It is a resurrection to a new life hidden in Christ. But for a legalist, that is terrifying because you no longer have control. Truth is, you see for the first time that you’ve never been in control and it freaks you out. Grace takes a wrecking ball to every man made system. It wrecks all of your senses. It’s like the Matrix, you’ve just been handed that little red pill. The smoke and mirrors of moralism have been revealed. Nothing will ever be the same for you again. You couldn’t go back if you wanted to because there’s literally nothing to go back to.
Once I had taken inventory of all of the basic things that I could no longer cling to- when I saw all that was left for me in the midst of the rubble was Jesus- and He was the one clinging tightly to me- not the other way around- immediately I wanted to share all that I had seen with everyone around me.
Funny thing that is. Sharing the gospel with fellow believers. They are so quick to dismiss it at first. “Like, yeah- the gospel. I get it. Now step aside and let me get back to doing stuff.” You find yourself feeling ridiculous as you try and point out the oxygen all around them. They just get frustrated with you. “Look, if you just stand around all day observing the goodness of oxygen you aren’t going to get much done. In fact, this unbalanced focus of oxygen will lead to laziness. What’s worse is that you’ll probably just start taking advantage of the oxygen. That’s a slippery slope that you don’t want to be on. All kinds of dangerous things you could get yourself into. There’s helium or worse, sulfur hexaflouride.” You sit in amazement and scream in your own head, “BUT YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING APART FROM THE OXYGEN!!! WITHOUT IT YOU ARE DEAD AND SO ARE ALL OF YOUR WORKS!!”
I sat completely undone and changed in the midst of a world that functioned on systems alone. It was scary. I felt like I was sticking out like a sore thumb without saying a word. I had people literally praying for me because they thought I had left the faith. The truth is, I had left that faith. I left faith in myself behind. I saw that all we have is Jesus- from beginning to end. The faith at conversion, the perseverance through life, sanctification, and when we are glorified- all grace because of Jesus.
“You’re’ not crazy.”
Those words hit my heart like a deep refreshing drink after a long walk through the desert. Someone else understood what it was that I had been through- they too had crashed and burned out, rescued by Jesus. It was a pastor. He saw the gospel oxygen all around us and knew that I was like a little lost puppy in a big city that should be familiar to me but it was no longer my home. He knew how it felt to feel betrayed by everything you ever thought you knew about Christianity- by people that you trusted knew what they were talking about. “You’re not crazy” – These were life giving words. They still are.
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “YES! That is exactly what I’m going through. I have crashed and burned and all I have is Jesus and I’m sitting here not fully understanding what just happened but I see Christ in a way that I’ve never seen him before. People who should have a clear understanding of the gospel think I’m crazy. Am I crazy??”
*Are you starting to see Jesus as a loving rescuer and friend and God as a loving Father-not a judge?
*Are you starting to think that just maybe Jesus isn’t disappointed in you because he obeyed perfectly FOR you?
*Are you seeing that the “It is Finished” portions of the gospel also apply to your present tense life and battle with sin?
*Are you beginning to see that Christianity isn’t guilt laden burdens dished out by a harsh task-master-angry-Jesus?
You’re not crazy. That’s the gospel and it really is better than you are thinking at this very moment.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20