"If Christ's life is really my life, and I'm really abiding in Him and Him in me, then why do I fall so short of living a godly life? Why do I keep sinning? Why haven't I overcome certain things, and why don't I love others the way that I really want to - with the very love of God?"
You know what I'm saying? Ever felt like that? You know grace and agape-love is powerful and preeminent, so why, if you are truly filled with it and walking in it, doesn't it always show?
Well, first off, know this. No matter what you look like on the outside or feel like on the inside:
- You are not condemned.
- You are no less of a son of God.
- God still loves you and likes you with a passion beyond your comprehension.
- You have been perfected forever.
- You are complete in Him.
- You are accepted in the Beloved.
- You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
- When you are faithless, He remains faithful.
- The love of God does abide in you.
- You are in the light.
You truly want these things that are true of you inwardly to be expressed outwardly. It's really who you are, so it's only natural that you want to walk in them more fully. But who's to say that the outward working of these things should happen in one day, one week, one month, one year, five years, a decade... or a lifetime? What I mean is, if you or anyone else puts some sort of a time line or time limit on these changes in your life, it's all subjective and superficial. It's man-generated. It's fleshly.
Which leads me to say that all of this must be (and is) God's very own work. While we fret and worry about how our lives are turning out, He remains calm and worry-free. He knows that He is at work in us, to will and to do according to His good pleasure. He knows that we are not the product of our own workmanship, but of His. He knows that He began a good work in us and He doesn't worry about whether or not He will be faithful to complete that good work!
From our own experiences and from the lives of countless biblical characters, we can see that growing in grace and love is not always neat and tidy. It can be quite messy. It's a perfect work that is being done by God from the inside out, but it's not always going to appear that way. You know you're not the person you were as you look back on your life. You've seen God's grace at work in your life. You've experienced transformation in one way or another, and you know it's all been God's work. Continue to trust Him, that, even though there are some really messy things in your life right now, He's faithfully at work in you, working things out in His own ways, in His own timing. Rest in that.