by Ricky Chelette, Executive Director
Why is it that many of us resist the blessings of God?
I often ask myself this question in my own life and the lives of people who struggle with same-gender attractions. We are generally above-average men and women who are incredibly gifted and talented. We accomplish amazing things professionally and personally, yet we reach a point where we often sabotage our success or happiness. Why do we resist the blessings of God (and others) in our lives?
We live under a cloud of failure that we often create. We are not noticeably unsuccessful or unfulfilled. We have learned to masterfully portray ourselves as adequate, well-adjusted, competent individuals who generally exceed expectations. But repeatedly, when celebrated for doing something good or accomplishing something noteworthy, we often find ourselves deep in the throes of our favorite sin, acting out inappropriately, or undermining our reputations, success, or accomplishments by random acts of inexplicably poor judgment.
There seems to be a cloud that engulfs us and follows us wherever we go. This cloud of failure is a curse, really” a curse that results from a combination of sins: those perpetrated upon us, sin that we have committed, and the sins of a fallen world in which we live.
I have noticed when young children are abused or suffer relational deprivations (such as a lack of significant connection and attachment to parents and peers), they often feel they are not worthy of being loved. Those feelings are compounded when coupled with other family and interpersonal dynamics such as feelings of abandonment they might have experienced because of separation or divorce, teasing, taunting, and name calling they may have experienced as young men/women in elementary and secondary school, or feelings of other than-ness because of personality or gifting. An underlying sense of worthlessness is buried deep inside the seemingly competent adult. What is the result?
From a theological perspective, I recognize the depravity of man and our fallenness. I know all too well the inclinations of sin and our inability to do what is right. The Old Testament is a testimony of man’s inability to attain the standard of God in our lives. Because of our fallenness, we are certainly unworthy of God’s love” He is holy and we are not. But we are not worthless humans. The story of the Gospel is a beautiful story of Gods provision of grace and mercy to us through Christ to redeem us and reconcile us to Himself. Within each of us is Gods breath of life (Gen. 2:7) and the image of God (Gen.1:26). Our ability to reflect the Glory of God in and through our lives gives us great value and worth; not for what we do or how we behave, but for who He has created us to be” His children fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14). After all, why would God send Jesus to redeem us if there were not some value in His creation worth redeeming? The work of Christ on the cross is no secondary thought or cursory move on the part of the Father. It is THE plan of redemption born in the heart of God from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8)!
Because of this deep sense of worthlessness and the angst it creates, many find creative and often destructive ways to medicate their pain or, in more politically correct parlance, bring pleasure into their lives; they choose sin. (After all, if sin were not pleasurable and did not meet some deep need in our lives momentarily, none of us would pursue it so diligently!). But when we choose sin while desiring to live fully in pursuit of God, we create a duplicitous life, and tension emerges. When this process is entered into at an early age or habituated at any point in our lives, the dissonance created becomes our norm” the cloud or curse remains. Despite the teachings of scripture, this new normal (living under the curse) becomes our operational mode.
Living in this curse is not the desire of the Father for His children. He wants to give us abundant life (John 10:10). He proclaims that Jesus became a curse for us (Gal. 3:13) so we would not have to live under the curse, even though we still choose it! God says that He desires to give good gifts to his children (Matt 7:11; Luke 11:13), but we cannot receive them because of our deep sense of worthlessness. After all, gifts are only good to the recipient if he/she is willing to receive them. But why do we continually reject them?
It is largely because the foundational structure of our lives, which is supposed to be formed in early childhood through stable, loving, and secure family dynamics, was never established in us. We missed the deep sense of grounding we intended to receive through the affirmation, attention, and affection of safe, significant adults. This foundation was corrupted, marred, invaded, and, in some cases, even destroyed. In our efforts to recreate something that only God can restore, we affixed all manner of performances to our lives to gain approval and affirmation. However, internally, we feel that no matter what performance or what excellence we muster is negated by the darkness we know resides in our hearts because of our deep sense of worthlessness and sin.
I believe Christ wants to remove the cloud of the curse. The cross refashions the foundation of our lives with grace and truth. I believe Christ in us makes all things new (2 Cor. 5:17), even things as ugly as abuse. Christ in us is the hope of glory; in that hope, we are made complete (Col. 1:28-29).
It is true we are not worthy of God’s goodness in our lives, and it is the very reason the grace of God and His love toward us is so overwhelming! But we ARE people of value to the Father who loves us and wants to give us abundant life! We must confess and repent of our love for the tension” our living under the cloud” we have embraced as normal and walk in the uncertainty of the blessings of God in our lives. We do not deserve His blessings, yet He still desires to bless and use us. Such grace is incomprehensible to those who have lived lives of deceptive control and utter independence. How can we embrace His blessings?
1) Stop listening to the tapes of your past. We can not change history. Too many of us spend time living and reliving things that took place years ago. God does not call us to live out of our past but to embrace the moment now and live it fully for His glory (Matt. 6:33-34, Col. 3:17).
2) Replace the lies of the evil one or from those who have hurt you with the truth of God’s Word (Ps. 119:11). Make a list of the things you believe about yourself and compare them to the things God says about you. A good list of what God says about you can be found at http://www.persevering.org/perceiv.html.
3) Realize that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14). You are not an accident or a mistake. God loves you so much that He sent His only son to bring redemption to you (John 3:16). Meditate on these truths and allow them to transform your heart and your thinking. How you think is important. As we believe, we act (Prov. 23:7, Phil. 4:8).
Embrace the blessings of God in your life; walk in freedom!