Of whom I am the worst…

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.” 1 Timothy 1:15


Really Paul? You are the worst sinner? I kind of have a hard time believing that seeing as how God used you to write most of the New Testament. Maybe you are just trying to make yourself more relate-able to your readers…

I think this is how I have felt most of my life whenever coming across this passage of scripture. Maybe not directly, but in my sub-conscious. Until now…

You see, I am at a point in my life where I feel like Paul. I feel like the worst sinner.

No I haven’t went out and really messed up big, which is how us Christian kids usually viewed “sin”. You know…smoking, drinking, cussing, R-rated movies, sex before marriage. At least that is what I thought growing up. And if you grow up in church and have always been a “good girl” (aka. not doing the previous mentioned sins), then it is a little hard to fully grasp the depth of what Christ did when he redeemed you or truly understand the magnitude of the Father’s unconditional love for you.

I am a good girl and do the good Christian things. I am holy. I am righteous.

But wait…

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 46:6

I started Lent with high expectations of how I would observe. The things I would give up and the Scripture reading plan I would follow. But as usual, the lack of self-discipline once again reared it’s ugly head and I messed it all up and felt all dark and twisty. (A nod to Grey’s Anatomy fans.)

So this Lent, I have come to realize a few things. I am selfish, easily angered, too focused on things that don’t really matter, and did I mention selfish. That’s a big one. A lot of selfish motivations going on underneath the good that I do. And I hate it.

At church this weekend, God showed me that the dark and twisty and ugly that I see inside of me, is the state of my sin. It is me without God, without Jesus, without the Holy Spirit. It is my GREAT need for the triune God to be fully present in my life. It is all the things that I can’t change about myself no matter how hard I try. No matter how many books I read, how many things I try to put into practice, etc. I can’t change myself, only HE can.

So Sunday, I truly repented. Maybe for the first time. I don’t know. All that I know is that I now truly understand the ugliness of sin and the beauty of His righteousness. My husband said that the reason Paul said that he was the worst sinner twenty years AFTER his conversion, is that the closer he grew to God, the more aware he became of his sinful nature. 

So Paul…I get you now. 

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15

I mean, I really get you.

 
God showed me that he didn’t need my well-planned and executed observance of Lent to bring me to a state of repentance. And I now know that he doesn’t need my well-planned and executed Christian walk to take me where He wants me to go. Once again learning that it is more about this being, over the just knowing and doing.

//


I actually wrote this out on Monday morning, and just a few hours later, read this awesome post by Aaron Niequist about the “darkness of Lent”. About how when you give up those things that distract you, you are forced to face the deepest part of yourself and “invite God into this terrifyingly honest space.” Talk about timing! 

Have you ever experienced this feeling of “darkness” in your observance of Lent or perhaps during a fast?

Always,

Amanda




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Comments

  1. I’ve definitely felt that way before. I wish I could say that the realization of my sin made me stronger in letting it go but it’s still a struggle. I still act selfishly, I can still be judgmental, I still focus on what I shouldn’t. And I worry – a lot. You’re not alone! Thank you for the reminder to repent. Sometimes I feel like I need to “fix myself” before God will come into my life, as if He’s not already there, helping me along the way. Silly girl.

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