“You’re not good enough.”
“You’re not like the “good Christians.”
“You’re never going to find God’s peace. Ever.”
Those are just a few of the piercingly negative thoughts that created a deceptive narrative which would torment me earlier in my life. It felt like a tape was playing on an endless loop in my mind. A painful story to be sure, but one I want to share with you here because of what God has done with and through those circumstances.
THE COMPARISON TRAP
One of the roadblocks separating me from God as the negative mind tapes droned on came when I compared myself to other Christians. This idealized but false view of the Christian life looked a world away from what I would ever be able to pull off in my life. I was constantly wondering what the difference was between a Christian who models Christ and another who does not. I was blessed to get God’s answer—the only difference is that one knows he or she is truly forgiven and the other doesn’t. It has nothing to do with trying hard or being privy to some special formula.
“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:22
God’s truth in this regard helped me avoid looking at other Christians as the ideal model of Christ-like character and, instead, accept that because of his grace I am already made whole. That’s it—we are to look to Christ himself for our model of the Christian life.
The only way I could accept that promise was to erase the negative mind tapes that had been recorded throughout my life. I needed to treat it like highlighting a block of copy in a computer and then sending it to an instant death with one click. It was imperative that I remove the world’s lies from my mind’s computer and install God’s truths. So that’s exactly what I did.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Failure to infuse our soul with this truth imprisons us behind a barrier because repentance and forgiveness are foundational to the Christian faith. We feel so bad that we try to lock away the bad thoughts playing on that tape in a dark chamber.
We look at conviction of sin as a prison sentence with the door locked and the key thrown away to convict us forever with no chance of parole. What a shame! And it does not have to be. When we think like that we’re not a victim. We are an accomplice!
It saddens me to see believers get so close but be so far away. Conviction of sin and God’s forgiveness are essential to understanding our walk with Jesus. God’s gift of holiness comes from the majesty of the transformational process of conviction, repentance, and forgiveness. The different components of that process are inextricably linked, and the only truly holy person is someone who is forgiven. It is one of the surest signs God is at work in a Christian.
And it all starts when we allow him to turn off our negative mind tapes.