The more you give the parts of your life over to Jesus, the more his life is able to invade yours. The relief alone is worth the price.
Last night Stasi and I were at a dinner party with friends we love and enjoy. It was one of those occasions where, for some reason, my internal world was not in sync with the external. All night long I was constantly aware of awful things inside me–wanting to be the center of attention, getting irritated at people for their idiosyncrasies, pride puffing up when someone told a story of personal failure–just a nightmare of sin. This morning when I woke the temptation was like New Year’s Day–rushing to make all sorts of resolutions to be a better person. As I sat down to pray, I felt myself resolving to do this and that, despising this and that about me–basically, trying to kill the unattractive parts and buttress myself to be good.
It was a train wreck waiting to happen.
The Achilles’ heel of this sort of “repentance” is that it is all still based in self effort. Thank God I saw it, and turned to Christ in me–asked Jesus to come and have my life more deeply. The relief was almost immediate. Not in the sense that all those flaws went poof like in a fairy tale, but rather that first, I was rescued from days and weeks of striving and self-resolve. Second, that the presence of Jesus in me does make those flaws recede into the background–some crucified, others to receive his healing grace. But the point being, this time I was able to turn to Christ in me as my only hope of transformation, and the fruit of this turning-to is profound relief.