Open When You Feel Too Broken and Dirty to Go to God
THOSE FEELINGS OF INSUFFICIENCY
Recently, coming to God has been so hard for me. I think it has something to do with my perfectionism—every time I come to Him, all I can think about is how my prayers aren’t good enough, how I need to find the exact right passage to read every day, how my feelings aren’t passionate enough, my focus not perfect. Every time I came before God, anxiety and fear would grip my heart, making times with God feel burdensome and draining.
Last night, I felt the enemy latch onto this insecurity in my life and rip me open with lies of condemnation. “You’re not okay before God. You’re never gonna learn to do quiet time right. You’re not praying hard enough. You’re not feeling the right things. Your worship doesn’t please Him.” I went to bed fighting these lies, feeling like I would never measure up before God.
The next morning I sat down before God, again feeling defeated and hopeless before I started quiet time, as if my efforts to please God would be in vain. As I was listening to worship on YouTube, a sermon entitled, “Acceptable Sacrifice: Why We Don’t Need to be Perfect” caught my eye.
HE DELIGHTS IN JUST BEING WITH YOU
The worship pastor at Elevation Church shared about how so often we come before God believing we need to feel the right feelings or clean ourselves up to stand before Him. However, Psalm 51 reveals to us how it isn’t our actions and rituals which worship Him but bringing Him our broken and contrite heart. The broken heart knows its only hope for healing is Jesus. The contrite heart is crushed. This is what God values: our brokenness and honesty before Him. He doesn’t need the perfect prayers and scripture memorization and church attendance; He wants for us to pour all or heart out before Him, our hopes, dreams, disappointments, longings before Him. Surrendering our heart to Him and trusting Him starts with bringing Him all we have and inviting Him into it.
GOD LOVES YOU NO MATTER WHAT
We can do this because it isn’t our sacrifice which makes us perfect—it’s Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on the cross which assured me that my worship is pleasing to God. When I come before Him, it isn’t saying the right words and doing the right practices which makes me clean and honorable; it is His blood which allows me to worship freely knowing my debt has already been paid. When God forgave the sins of the people in the Old Testament, He never examined them to determine if they were sinless enough to make the cut—it was assumed that they were sinful, why else would they be making the sacrifice? Rather, He fixed His gaze on the lamb, which had better be spotless. Praise God that He has forever given us a perfect sacrifice (Jesus) and a blameless priest (Jesus) to advocate on our behalf before His father. Nothing I do or don’t do can make Him love or accept me more than He already does. He wants me as I am and would rather have me battered and bruised and broken than to not have me come at all. This is why He promises to relieve all the burdens and lift up the wearied head of anyone who comes to Him (Psalm 145) (Matthew 11:28).
GOD HAS THE FINAL SAY
He isn’t intimidated by our sin —He killed it on the cross, and is taking His time to clear it out of us. Our struggle doesn’t get to have the final say—Jesus took that right away. Just as it took the Israelites time to heal at Gilgal from their circumcision, it takes time for us to heal when the Holy Spirit circumcises our hearts in surgical sanctification. I know in my present state, the sins, struggles, and temptations that confront me look like menacing beasts, threatening to rip me apart. Yet when I look at my past, my struggles that God has overcome and freed me from are a lot more like empty carcasses, exoskeletons which lay powerless. He has the power to turn our beasts in shells of victory, and He promises He will.