esterday morning, our Sunday School class studied 1 John 3:19-22, which says:
"We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight."
Some of you may or may not know this, but I've had to wrestle with depression and anxiety for several years of my life. A lot of that contributed to the fact that I had a lot of time where I was alone with myself, and I would think about every single little thing I did wrong that day or week. Even when I started dating my husband, there would be moments when I would absolutely break down, cry, and yell out that I was scum, I was the worst Christian (was I really even one?), and that a real Christian would not still
be struggling with these things (anger, pride, selfishness).
Our Sunday School teacher, Steve (who we also had the privilege of marrying us), called this struggle "morbid introspection." I love sitting in his class every Sunday morning, but I perked up quite a bit more as he began to describe the term. As Christians, we tend to get lost in our thoughts and cry out "Woe is me," but never do anything about it. We wallow in our so-called grief to the point that we are always stuck there in our minds but are never moved to action.
How many times do we do this? It is so easy to stay stuck in our minds that our depression and anxiety grows deeper, and we let it happen. It's so easy to make ourselves victims when really, most of the things we tell ourselves are not helpful in our growth in Christ. Yes, we are all sinners who fall short of God's glory (Romans 3:23); yes, despite being changed by Christ, we will still continue to sin and fail God daily.
However, we can't let it go at that. If we are in Christ, we are new creations. The old has gone, and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). Nothing
can or will ever separate us from God's love (Romans 8:31-39). God is a better judge of us than we are of ourselves, as Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 4:3-4. Godly grief will without a doubt produce genuine repentance (turning away from sin, and towards obedience). The Christian's life is a journey, of which we call sanctification, where we are constantly growing in the knowledge of God as well as in practicing obedience to Christ. A journey takes time; it is not an instantaneous thing where we instantly become perfect. We will never reach perfection until Christ calls His global Church home to heaven and then we will be changed in the blink of an eye. In the meantime, we are commanded to live in constant growth. Self-pity and a lack of action are both deterrents of that growth.
All of these scriptures back up these very important truths: if we are true believers, we are His, no matter what. Examining ourselves and this sort of morbid introspection are two very different things: one spurs us on to become more like Christ, and the other disables us from growing. If we are in Christ, He has once and for all saved us from sin and an eternity in hell apart from Him. We will one day live in the presence of God for all of eternity. For now, the Christian's life will always have temptations, but never without a way of escape from God (1 Corinthians 10:13). The Christian's life will have trials, but we know that they are all for a reason and a purpose, and that Christ has and will overcome sin, Satan, and the world (John 16:33).
We are His. Period. And we can be completely confident in that.
By Lauren Sova.
Originally published in Be Still Magazine, Issue 2.