by Kasia Kedzia
My first years as a Christian, my knowledge of God was based more on knowing of him and his teachings than on actually knowing Him. The relationship was kind of sterile. The former, has often left me frustrated and guilty over my inability to perform or change. The latter, however, begins to change me from within. Instead of being motivated by my own goodness, I am motivated by grace.
Jeremiah 31:33-35 “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me from the least of them to the greatest.”
My pivotal shift came when I began to make myself more vulnerable and accessible to God. This approach exposed my false gods; the things and people I was willing to please and adapt for more than God. I have friends who spend a lot of time and money to attend workshops, classes and/or read books to change aspects of who they are in order to be more appealing to the opposite sex, a potential employer or to get a better physique. However, when it comes to denying themselves to the point of personal discomfort for God, they are far less willing—it is seen as too high of a calling, or an unreasonable request. They are willing to change for whatever they have made god of their life (John 5:42-44). This has been heart breaking to witness at times, but I need to be honest: I can do it too.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 “Let not the wise man boast of this wisdom or the strong man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this; that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth for in these I delight.”
At the end of the day, we are often willing to do and change anything for what we want most. When my perspective shifted, when I wanted intimacy with God above all else, it changed me. I no longer had to be stronger, smarter or prettier to woo my other gods.
As any relationship, it takes work. We’ve moved beyond sharing clichés and facts— past the phase of sharing opinions. The relationship got real when it became about continually sharing my feelings and needs and truly entrusting them to Him.
This week I paused on the question Jesus asked a man who was an invalid for 38 years,
John 5:6 “Do you want to get well?”
When I really considered the question, it read more as, “are you willing to do what it takes to get well?” For the man it took a faith-motivated effort to trust and get up. Sometimes, I’m not all that willing to do all it takes to ‘get well’. In my physical training I’m not always willing to take a break to recover. In my professional role I’m not always willing to admit that I could have done something better or differently, and in my relationship with God, when I face those days or weeks of feeling spiritually off or ‘unwell’, I am not always as urgent in pursuing the self-denial it takes to cause the necessary shift. I re-set my alarm choosing sleep over time in his word, or I chose to gripe to friends instead of going to Him in prayer.
When I spend more time with Him, the intimacy grows, as does my trust in him. This results in changed thinking and behavior that is prompted by his love for me, not my fear of, or obligation to Him. Like many, I desire to be secure and wanted: relationally, professionally and romantically. It’s my intimacy with Him that shapes my character to be godly. It is this character that he develops in us (Jer29:24), allowing us to possess the very things we want: to become smarter, stronger, more attractive, etc., without becoming slaves to those things. It’s a daily decision to be willing to do what it takes to stay close to Him.
Job 11:13-19 "Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, 14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, 15 then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear. 16 You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. 17 Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. 18 You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. 19 You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor.”
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Since those first days, I have made it out of the Projects, finished my Masters degree in International Development, and moved to DC to work in my field. As a young single Christian woman my struggles today are a little different than they were when I first came to know God, but who am I kidding, not much. It's the every day battle for my heart to be pure before God, to strive to please him, and help others to seek and know Him.
Over my years of a faithful walk with God I have received much grace and compassion and have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams. Through out it all one thing has stayed consistent: God's word. Through His word I have been inspired and it has kept me faithful even when faith seemed like a foreign concept and God seemed deaf to my prayers. I started emailing my Quiet Times which helped me stay accountable as I shared my struggles and fought for understanding. Some wrote back and said they too were inspired and could relate. I hope some of my times can help inspire others who are seeking and fighting just like I am, to get to heaven and take as many as possible with me along the way.
Like what your read? Check out my blog: http://stronggirlforlife.wordpress.com/
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