When recovering from a storm at sea, in which our ship was torn to pieces, the feel of the sand on our knees and face felt like a long, overdue dream. Every muscle in our body aches from the strain that we cannot quite comprehend or identify its origin. We grasp to the firm of the sand, yet those lapping waves still pull, tug desperately to take us back out to sea, slowly eroding the sand away. Once we make just enough distance where we no longer fear a higher tide coming, we exhaust the last ounce of gumption in our bones to roll over and look at a sky, filled with possibilities and wonder that has been there the whole time, but unforeseeable amidst the caustic waves.
For so many Christians, this marginally defines how we deal with the paradox of being "in this world, but not of it". Have you ever experienced those moments where you wake up from a battle that you have been fighting, only to realize the battle wasn't necessary, but you squandered precious time calculating, re-negotiating, compromising, debating what you believed, what others would think about your belief or if you had belief in anything other than in yourself at all?
The self-centric ego and the merciful humbleness we are taught to strive for may feel like an endless storm, beating you over and over, with no headway in sight. Please let me encourage you as someone who has been in that storm my entire life; never give up.
Most of my life, I have struggled with wanting people to "like" me. What is most ironic is there was no probable way that people could like me, because I barely liked myself. There has to be other Christians (and definitely pastors) who misplace (or misidentify) their motivation in word and deed because we are in limbo of wanting to present the likeness of Christ, but also be liked by this sinful world. Literally our sin heart and sinner's heart warring for top priority. One marked with death, the other with eternal life (only through the acceptance of Jesus Christ's free gift of grace and sacrifice on the cross for all sin).
Can a heart contain untruth and still belong to Him? Only, if the heart realizes its untruth and repents. There is hope for the worst of us humans. I take Paul's claim of being the chief of sinners and wear it as a reminder that without Christ I can do no thing. I will acknowledge my flaws as a human and not be "puffed up or proud", but remain aware of my tendency to fall towards the easy, most crooked of paths. It is time that we are true to ourselves. Speak the truth about who we are. Eliminate the phasod. We are all but brothers and sisters in Christ. We are strong, in Christ. We are whole, in Christ. We are loved, because of Christ.
Frank E. Coleman is pastor of Compass Church. Married, two boys (and baby Coleman due Sept. 19!), and a transparent faith journey. He currently lives in Evansville, IN and works bi-vocationally in Men's Shoes at Dillard's in Eastland Mall.